Module 1.2 – Thank you, Mum. Good morning, Mr. X

Hello and Good-Bye

The English word “Hello” is very convenient because you can use it at any time of the day but unfortunately there isn’t such a word in Japanese. We use different words depending on the time of the day and who they are talking to. The following video will help you learn these greeting words.

There are 7 phrases in this video, but the most important ones for you are:

English equivalentHiraganaRoomajiWhen to use it.
Good Morningおはよう ございますOhayou gozaimasuPolite
Dawn till around 10 am
MorningおはようOhayou Casual
Dawn till around 10 am
Good Day, Good AfternoonこんにちはKonnichiwaAfter 10 am till dusk.
Good EveningこんばんはKonbanwaAfter dark
Good ByeさようならSayounaraAny time of the day. However, it has a bit of “final” feel about it, so use it carefully.

By the say, when we answer the phone, we always say もしもしmoshi_moshi instead of ”Hello.” This is only done on the phone.

Thank you

If you are to learn only one phrase in a foreign language, I think it should be “Thank you”! When you are travelling and if you can say “Thank you” in the local language, it will take you very far!
First, please watch this video.

ありがとうarigatouThank you.
どうも ありがとうdoumo arigatouThank you very much.
ありがとう ございましたarigatou gozaimashita(polite) Thank you very much for something that is done to you already
ありがとう ございますarigatou gozaimasu(polite) Thank you very much for something that is ongoing or something yet to be completed

How to Call your Family Members

Some people call their parents with their first name but most people would use a word like “Mum,” “Mother,” or something like that.

In Japanese, we usually do the same to all the members of your family who were born before you.

Male RelationshipFemale
grand -parentsobaa_san
[his name] only, or
[his name] + ちゃんchan
[her name] only, or
[her name] + ちゃんchan
If you change the suffix –さんsan to –ちゃんchan, that sounds a bit more endearing but at the same time a bit childish.
Young children call their dad パパpapa and mum ママmama. Some keep that habit into their adulthood.

For pronunciation of these words, watch this video.

Remember these words are to use to talk to them. You need to use a different set of words when you are talking to people outside your family about your own family.

How to address other people in Japanese – Use their Name with a suffix

Most dictionaries list あなたanata for the English word “you” but I try to avoid using that word as much as I can because it sounds like I am looking down on the other person.

So the best option for addressing a single person is to use the person’s name with a suffix. The most versatile suffix is さんsan and it can be used for both male and female, and for a surname and a given name. Remember that not using any suffix is called 呼び捨てyobisute and it is considered VERY RUDE in Japan.

For a customer, you can use –さまsama. For somebody very close or very young, you can use –ちゃんchan also.

If you are addressing multiple people in one go, you can use みなさんmina_san or みなさまmina_sama.


Good morning, Mother!

Thank you, Big Bro.

Hello, Mr. Tanaka.

Good evening, Grandpa!

Suggested Activities

  • Every time you greet or thank someone in English, think of the way how you say that in Japanese.
Course: JLPT N5