How to Say Congratulation in Japanese? All You Need to Know

How to Say Congratulation in Japanese? All You Need to Know - EDOPEN Japan

If you have decided to learn Japanese, it is very important for you to learn various expressions in any situation. Especially how to say congratulations in Japanese. You will really need these useful phrases to say congratulations in Japanese on important occasions and perhaps make an impact on the Japanese people who hear them. This congratulations phrase in Japanese is also included in the 100 phrases beginners must know.

Therefore, you need to understand how to say congratulations in Japanese. In this article, we will cover it in detail to help you. We will discuss what phrases are most commonly used to say congratulations, what they mean, how to use them, and what kinds of celebration situations there are, as well as various other important things you should know.

In addition, if you want to learn other phrases in Japanese that are also very important and frequently used, please also read our recommended readings below:

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The Origin of the Japanese Word “おめでとう (Omedetou)”

The Origin of the Japanese Word "おめでとう (Omedetou)" - EDOPEN Japan

One of the most commonly used phrases to say congratulations in Japanese is “おめでとう (Omedetou)” or “おめでとうございます (Omedetou Gozaimasu)” in everyday life. Where did the word “おめでとう (Omedetou)” come from? Check out the description in this section!

おめでとう (Omedetou) is the non-formal, most commonly used word for congratulating someone on anything, it is literally the Japanese equivalent of congratulations. It can be used in any situation where you want to express your happiness about their accomplishments.

It is believed that おめでとう” Omedetou” comes from 愛でる “Mederu” (to admire // to love) and was combined with the word 甚し “Itashi” (extremely, intensely, immensely).

愛でる would take the meaning of thinking with admiration of someone, or that you have them in a dear place in your heart. And 甚し would be the shortened version of 甚だしい (Hanahadashi), which would be a word to express “a lot” or “fervently” expressing a large amount of something.

From here, we can understand that from the meaning of the two original words, おめでとう “Omedetou” would present the meaning of looking at your loved one rejoicing with joy thanks to their achievements.

Of course, you too, together with them, your heart also gets captivated and synchronizes with empathy to their happiness and become happy thanks to their successes even though they may not be directly related to your own personal gains. So, in a nutshell, Omedetou means, “I rejoice from the bottom of my heart just by looking at you, rejoicing a lot from your own achievements.

The 当て字 (Ateji) of おめでとう (Omedetou)

The 当て字 (Ateji for Omedetou おめでう (お芽出度う ), like all other ateji, are a set of kanji given to a Japanese word after the word itself was created. So they simply try to add a secondary meaning to the word, or in most cases, simply try to find a way to get close to the pronunciation of a word while still following the rules and common pronunciation for the kanji themselves.

The ateji for Omedetou お芽出度う includes the characters for 芽 “me” (sprout), 出 “de” (come out), and 度 “to” (occasion, time, opportunity). This ateji could be understood as if when you say お芽出度う “Omedetou,” you are telling the receiver that it was time for the sprouts to come out.

This would also mean that the seeds are all the previous efforts and sacrifices that someone has made up to this point, and that now is the occasion and the time that these seeds, which have been watered with effort and hardship, have now begun to “come out” and show themselves as a certain moment of happiness and joy for the recipient.

This concludes the small aside about the interesting origin and hidden meaning of how the kanji for Omedetou defines what a congratulatory moment is.

List of the Best Phrases for Saying “Congratulations” in Japanese

List of the Best Phrases for Saying "Congratulations" in Japanese - EDOPEN Japan

 1. おめでとうございます (Omedetou Gozaimasu)

Omedetou Gozaimasu is just the formal version of Omedetou, as it simply adds the formal “to be” verb, Gozaimasu. It is important to note that while “おめでとうです” “Omedetou Desu” is not grammatically incorrect, but it is not as commonly heard as the one step above it, Omedetou Gozaimasu.

If you ask Japanese people, they will say that yes, it is not incorrect, but it is just not used, or that it is mostly reserved for the media, in manga or in series.

In addition, it’s important to note that even when someone isn’t speaking formally to someone in Japanese, it’s still more common for them to use the formal version rather than the more informal version for no particular reason.

2. お祝い申し上げます (Oiwai Moushiagemasu)

This is an even more formal way of congratulating someone, and is mainly used in informal company emails or letters. This is considered quite formal, so it is mostly used at professional or formal events, if not mainly in text form.

3. お慶び申し上げます (Oyorokobi Moushiageru)

This one is a bit different from the others in that while it still expresses feelings of happiness at the news, it is explicitly understood as such, this one is mainly used when responding to a wedding invitation or in a formal letter sent to a new graduate who has already signed a contract to enter a business, it is in this case that the company will use this expression as the congratulatory occasion also presents a good interest for them.

In the latter case, it could be understood as a congratulatory expression used mainly in a win-win situation, but it can also be used as a formality on other occasions.

4. 祝賀 (Shukuga)

This word literally means “congratulations” and it is mainly used as the “subject” of a congratulatory letter also it can be used as a stamp on the New Year greeting cards to congratulate the beginning of the New Year.

5. 慶賀 (Keiga)

This word literally means congratulations or that there is something good or amazing about something. It is commonly used when you hear about an accomplishment from a third party rather than from the person telling you directly. For example, when a teacher tells you that a member of his lab has won an award or something like that. A safe way to respond would be 慶賀の極みですね。”Keiga no Kiwami desune”. “This is something to congratulate”

The Joyful Situations and Special Events that Call for Congratulations! in Japanese

The Joyful Situations and Special Events that Call for Congratulations! in Japanese - EDOPEN Japan

We always want the best for our loved ones, right? Then it is also important to know what are the best gifts to give or etiquette to follow during the various good occasions our loved ones might have in Japan.

(1) Weddings

Weddings in Japan have some interesting peculiarities that are not present in other countries that there would be the need to create a special entry in this blog for that, but for now we will add the gift etiquette to have when giving a wedding gift as an attendee only instead.

What can I give? There are basically 2 options, money or a gift. When giving money, the main etiquette to follow is that you need to keep the numbers in odd numbers, like 10k, 30k, 50k, etc. This is because it can’t be divided evenly between both parties at the wedding, so it’s a given that they should use and spend it as a couple instead.

There is also a range of amounts depending on your relationship with the newlyweds, but that is a complex topic that we will pass on in this article.

Let’s be sure to give the money within the acceptable time frame or at least avoid giving it during the wedding day. It is also better to give the money in person, but if it is not possible sending it through the fast post is considered good manners.

(2) Birthdays

Birthdays in Japan are not celebrated as much as in other countries, there is no big party and no big reunion. For most Japanese, the big or eventful birthdays are in their childhood and after that a small cake and sometimes a small gift is normal, so it might be a good idea for foreigners not to expect much beyond a coffee or a meal.

But if you want to give something, it is not bad at all. Some foreigners like to organize their own “drinking night” or something like that, so in that case it is a smart idea to plan ahead and just enjoy the day with your friends.

(3) Graduations

The period between March and April is the time when a large number of young people graduate from high school, and not a few of them enter the workforce for the first time, such as graduating from college. So, we will talk about the ways to congratulate someone on their graduation.

Normally, flowers are a good gift for a sepia who is graduating, or even a small memento might be good. Some schools, especially universities and professional schools, have begun to give graduation gifts that might be useful to someone just entering the workforce, such as a pen or presentation card organizer.

If you are a senpai and would like to give a gift to your kouhai or juniors who are about to graduate, a meal or a small gift like the ones mentioned above, a pen or a notepad would be a promising idea.

(4) Holidays

Another category of congratulatory events would be the holidays that are celebrated all around the year, the most common ones that would mean giving a congratulatory greeting or gift would be 成人の日 (The coming of age day), ママの日 (The Mother’s Day), パパの日 (The Father’s Day), and others. Each one would be lightly explained just to give an idea of how they are celebrated and the details or uniqueness of each one.

Examples of Sentences Using “おめでとう (Omedetou)”

Examples of Sentences Using "おめでとう (Omedetou)" - EDOPEN Japan

The following are examples of sentences that commonly use the word “おめでとう (Omedetou) or おめでとうございます (Omedetou Gozaimasu)”. Please write it down and use it to practice your Japanese!

日本語 (Japanese)RomajiEnglish
1. お誕生日 おめでとう!
(おたんじょうび おめでとう!)
Otanjoubi omedetō!Happy birthday!
2. お誕生日おめでとうございますOtanjoubi omedetōgozaimasuHappy birthday (Formal)
3. ご結婚おめでとうございますGokekkon omedetōgozaimasuCongratulations on your marriage
4. ご出産おめでとうございますGo shussan omedetōgozaimasuCongratulations on your birth
5. この度のご昇進 心よりお喜び申し上げますKonotabi no go shōshin kokoroyori oyorokobi mōshiagemasuI would like to express my heartfelt congratulations on your promotion.
6. この度のご就任 誠におめでとうございますKonotabi no go shūnin makotoni omedetōgozaimasuSincere congratulations on your appointment
7. 合格おめでとうございますGōkaku omedetōgozaimasuCongratulations on passing

Do you have any other examples? Please share them in the comments section below!


As it has been seen there are a lot of different days and events in Japan that are joyous, but even then present their own little rules and secret manners to keep as well as the different ways to express your congratulations in Japanese as it should be something good to master as it will come in handy when trying to show your congratulations to the people you can interact with in Japan.

Anyway, if you are interested in learning Japanese and looking for reliable information about studying in Japan, our media is the right place for you. You can find more interesting articles here.


Representative Director of Reboot Japan Co., Ltd., which operates EDOPEN JAPAN. Founded the company in 2018, which provides Japanese language education and assistance for studying in Japan. Started the company after living with international students at a Japanese language school. He enjoys learning about new people and cultures and has lived in Australia and Malaysia. Graduated from the Faculty of Economics, Sophia University.