Languages › Japanese Formal Introductions in Japanese Learn the correct honorifics when addressing others Share Flipboard Email Print georgeclerk/Getty Images Languages History & Culture Essential Japanese Vocabulary Japanese Grammar By Namiko Abe Japanese Language Expert B.A., Kwansei Gakuin University Namiko Abe is a Japanese language teacher and translator, as well as a Japanese calligraphy expert. She has been a freelance writer for nearly 20 years. our editorial process Namiko Abe Updated February 05, 2019 Japan is a country whose culture stresses ritual and formality. Proper etiquette is expected in business, for example, and even saying hello has a set of strict rules. Japanese culture is steeped in honorific traditions and hierarchies depending on a person's age, social status, and relation. Even husbands and wives use honorifics when speaking to each other. Learning how to make formal introductions in Japanese is vital if you plan to visit the country, do business there, or even take part in ceremonies such as weddings. Something as seemingly innocuous as saying hello at a party comes with a strict set of social rules. The tables below can help ease you through this process. Each table includes the transliteration of the introductory word or phrase on the left, with the word or words written in Japanese letters underneath. (Japanese letters are generally written in hiragana, which is the more widely used portion of the Japanese kana, or syllabary, having characters that are cursive.) The English translation is on the right. Formal Introductions In Japanese, there are several levels of formality. The expression, "nice to meet you," is spoken very differently depending on the social status of the recipient. Note that those of a higher social status requires a longer greeting. Greetings also become shorter as the formality decreases. The table below shows how to deliver this phrase in Japanese, depending on the level of formality and/or the status of the person you are greeting. Douzo yoroshiku onegaishimasu. どうぞよろしくお願いします。 Very formal expression Used to a higher Yoroshiku onegaishimasu. よろしくお願いします。 To a higher Douzo yoroshiku. どうぞよろしく。 To an equal Yoroshiku. よろしく。 To a lower Honorific "O" or "Go" As in English, an honorific is a conventional word, title, or grammatical form that signals respect, politeness, or social deference. An honorific is also known as a courtesy title or an address term. In Japanese, the honorific "o （お）" or "go （ご）" can be attached to the front of some nouns as a formal way of saying "your." It is very polite. o-kuni お国 someone else's country o-namae お名前 someone else's name o-shigoto お仕事 someone else's job go-senmon ご専門 someone else's field of study There are some cases where "o" or "go" does not mean "your." In these cases, the honorific "o" makes the word more polite. You might expect that tea, which is very important in Japan, would require an honorific "o." But, even something as mundane as a toilet requires the honorific "o" as the table below illustrates. o-cha お茶 tea (Japanese tea) o-tearai お手洗い toilet Addressing People The title san—meaning Mr., Mrs., or Miss—is used for both male and female names, followed by either the family name or the given name. It is a respectful title, so you cannot attach it your own name or to the name of one of your family members. For example, if a person's family name is Yamada, you would great him as Yamada-san, which would be the equivalent of saying, Mr. Yamada. If a young, single woman's name is Yoko, you would address her as Yoko-san, which translates into English as "Miss Yoko." Cite this Article Format mla apa chicago Your Citation Abe, Namiko. "Formal Introductions in Japanese." ThoughtCo, Aug. 28, 2020, thoughtco.com/formal-introductions-in-japanese-2027970. Abe, Namiko. (2020, August 28). Formal Introductions in Japanese. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/formal-introductions-in-japanese-2027970 Abe, Namiko. "Formal Introductions in Japanese." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/formal-introductions-in-japanese-2027970 (accessed April 18, 2021). copy citation Japanese Greetings for Special Occasions The Difference Between "Kudasai" and "Onegaishimasu" in Japanese How to Say Happy New Year in Japanese Fruits: Japanese Vocabulary 10 Animal Sounds in Japanese Words The Meaning of '-N Desu' in Japanese Writing Letters in Japanese Japanese Vocabulary Related to the Concept of Family First Meetings and Introductions in Japanese How to Say the Months, Days, and Seasons in Japanese Japanese Body Parts Vocabulary Expressions Used in Letters Should Japanese Writing Be Horizontal or Vertical? Japanese for Beginners How Do You Say "Merry Christmas" in Japanese? What Does Daijoubu Mean in Japanese?