Japanese Greetings: beginner’s guide Part 1

Japanese Greetings: beginner’s guide Part 1

Learn greetings like ‘Moshi Moshi’, ‘yaho’ and more

Today we look at formal and informal ways to greet someone in Japanese. Who knows, there may be greetings here you have not known about!

Formal greetings


The most popular Japanese greeting that every anime fanatik surely know from watching subbed anime is ‘konnichiwa’. Konnichiwa is an all-purpose way to say hello and can be used to greet anyone, regardless of social status and it also doubles for ‘good afternoon’. The correct way to pronounce ‘konniciwa’ is kohn-nee-chee-wah.

Moshi moshi

Another popular greeting anime fanatiks may have seen in anime is ‘moshi moshi’. It is the usual way to greet someone on the phone and can be used whether you are calling someone or answering the phone. It is seen as more appropriate a greeting over the phone )so rather skip konnichiwa when greeting someone on the phone.) Also, it is bad form to greet someone in person with moshi moshi. It is only used on the phone! The correct way to pronounce ‘moshi moshi’ is mohsh mohsh.

Informal greetings


Ossu is used between close male friends or male relatives around the same age. It is not used between females nor when addressing the opposite sex. Its meaning is similar to ‘Hey Dude!’ in English. The correct way to say ‘ossu’ is ohss.


Some anime fanatiks may have heard the greeting ‘yaho’ in an anime. In the Osaka region, it is an additional way of saying hello among friends. It is used to say hi to young people, especially girls so chances are in a character in an anime say it, and the character may be from Osaka! You pronounce it as yah-hoh

Saikin dō?

‘Saikin dō?’ is the Japanese way of saying ‘what’s up? Or ‘what’s new?’ It is best to use this greeting when addressing someone you now well or are familiar with; a friend, sibling, coworker or classmate. It is pronounced as ‘sigh-kin doh’.


Haven’t seen someone in a while, then ‘hisashiburi is the perfect greeting. It is similar to the English ‘long time, no see’ or ‘it’s been a while’. It is usually only used on a friend or close family member you have not seen in weeks, months or years. A formal way of using this greeting is ‘o hisashiburi desu ne’ (hee-sah-shee-boo-ree deh-soo neh)

Here is a nice little video teaching us how to say ‘hello’ and ‘how are you’ in Japanese. Please follow the link: http://bit.ly/greeting-in-Japanese

Join us next week as we talk more on greeting in Japanese. Ja ne!

For any suggestions, opinions or requests please mail us at bentobox@animefanatika.co.za