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Common Japanese Words and Phrases

If you are new to learning Japanese or need a quick refresher, this page should help.

Below you'll find 50 basic Japanese words and phrases with English translation - all translated from Japanese to English.

Notes: Words in bold added during the last update. You can also view these common words and phrases from English to Japanese.

Yes and no

Hai / はい ➔ Yes

Ee / ええ ➔ Yes (informal)

Sou desu / そうです ➔ That's right

Iie / いいえ ➔ No

How are you?

O-genki desu ka? / おげんきですか / お元気ですか ➔ How are you?

Genki desu / げんきです / 元気です ➔ I'm fine


Yoroshiku onegai shimasu / よろしくおねがいします / よろしくお願いします ➔ When it is said during a first meeting, it means "Let us have a nice relationship", "Please treat me well". It can also be said when asking for a favor, meaning "Please", "Make it so", "I'm leaving it up to you", "Thank you for your consideration".

For a more detailed explanation including a video, please see our Vocabulary: Yoroshiku Onegai Shimasu page.

I and my

Watashi / わたし / ➔ I (male or female)

Atashi / あたし ➔ I (female)

Boku / ぼく / ➔ I (male)

Ore / おれ / ➔ I (male)

Watashi no (わたしの, 私の) / Atashi no (あたしの) / Boku no (ぼくの, 僕の) / Ore no (おれの, 俺の) ➔ My

Click here for a more detailed explanation of How to Say I and My in Japanese.

What is your name?

O-namae wa nan desu ka? / お名前は何ですか ➔ What is your name?

Watashi no namae wa (name) desu / 私の名前は(name)です ➔ My name is (name)

Watashi wa (name) desu / 私は(name)です ➔ I am (name)

I'm sorry

Gomen (nasai)* / ごめんなさい ➔ I'm sorry

Sumimasen / すみません ➔ An all-purpose word for Excuse me / I am sorry / Thank you

Who, what, when, where, why?

Dare / 誰 ➔ Who

Anata wa dare? / あなたは誰 ➔ Who are you?

Donata desu ka? / どなたですか ➔ Who is it?

Nani / 何 ➔ What

Kore wa, nan desu ka? ➔ What's this?

Kore wa, (Nihongo de) nan to iimasu ka? ➔ What's this called (in Japanese)?

Itsu / いつ ➔ When

Sore wa itsu desu ka? / それはいつですか ➔ When is it?

Doko ➔ Where

Doko ni imasu ka? / どこにいますか ➔ Where are you?

Naze / なぜ ➔ Why

Thank you

Domo / どうも ➔ Thanks

Arigatou (gozaimasu)** / ありがとうございます ➔ Thank you

Domo arigatou (gozaimasu)** / どうもありがとうございます ➔ Thank you very much

Doitashimashite / どういたしまして / どう致しまして ➔ You're welcome

Good luck

Ganbatte kudasai ➔ Good luck / Give it your best (words of encouragement)

Ganbarou / がんばろう ➔ Good luck

Do you speak English?

Wakarimasen / わかりません ➔ I don't understand

Eigo o hanasemasuka? / 英語を話せますか ➔ Do you speak English?

Eigo o rikai shite imasu ka? / 英語を理解していますか ➔ Do you understand English?

Eigo wa wakarimasu ka? / 英語はわかりますか ➔ Do you know English?

Nihongo (yoku) hanasemasen ➔ I can't speak Japanese (well)

Nihongo wa (amari) hanase masen ➔ I don't speak (much) Japanese

What is your phone number?

Denwa bango wa nan ban desu ka? ➔ What is your phone number?

Keitai denwa bangou wo oshiete moraemasenka? / 携帯電話番号を教えてもらえませんか ➔ What is your cell phone number?

Denwa bango wa (number) desu ➔ My number is (number)

Be careful!

Abunai / あぶない ➔ Look out / Dangerous

Ki o tsukete / きをつけて ➔ Be careful

Help me!

Tasukete! / 助けて ➔ Help!

Watashi o tasukete! / 私を助けて! ➔ Help me!

Tasukete kudasai / たすけてください / 助けてください ➔ Please help

Sumimasen ga, tasukete itadakemasen ka? ➔ Excuse me, can you help me please?

Where is the bathroom?

Toire wa doko desu ka / トイレはどこですか ➔ Where is the bathroom?

* - nasai added for politeness.
** - gozaimasu added for politeness.

*List of common words and phrases last updated: March 6, 2018.


Can you answer these questions about common Japanese words?

1. What is the Japanese word for what?
2. What is the Japanese word for how are you?
3. How do you say do you speak English in Japanese?
4. What is where are you in Japanese translation?
5. How do you say do you understand English in Japanese?
6. Translate thank you in Japanese.
7. How do you say do you know English in Japanese?
8. How do you say my name is in the Japanese language?
9. What is excuse me in Japanese words?
10. How do you say thank you very much in the Japanese language?
11. What is yoroshiku onegaishimasu in English?


As many of the translations in the list above are user submitted, it's quite possible for there to be mistakes on the page. If you speak Japanese and have a correction you'd like to share, feel free to leave a message below. Thanks again for any help you can provide.

The Fine Print

I don't speak Japanese myself, so there could be mistakes in the translations. Most of what is here is user-submitted, but I do try to check for accuracy and make corrections as I can. Thanks for your understanding.

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