Do you know how to introduce yourself in Japanese? If you are learning Japanese and making new friends or visiting Japan while traveling, in school, or on a business trip, there will be many occasions when you will need to introduce yourself. Introducing yourself is always important to build a good relationship with someone: Friends, colleagues, students, co-workers, neighbors, etc. It is important that you learn how to say for example “My name is…” in Japanese and how to introduce yourself in Japanese sentences.
1. A Brief Overview
Before we go on a deep dive into the basic structure that you can use, allow us to give you a few tips that you must know while introducing the Japanese people. There are some tips to keep in mind when it comes to introducing yourself in Japan, from a cultural perspective. For example, you should usually use a formal and polite style of Japanese when you introduce yourself, and it’s better not to talk about yourself too much or give too many personal details right away.
Also, to say your name in Japanese, do remember that the family name comes first, followed by the second name. This means that if your name is Kevin Smith, your introduction should start with Smith, followed by Kevin.
2. 自己紹介 (Jikoshoukai) – Self Introduction
In the Japanese culture, self-introductions are called 自己 紹介 (じこしょうかい) or “Jikoushoukai”, and they are deemed an essential step in order to establish yourself among the locals. This is like how you would introduce yourself in your own culture. The word “Jiko” refers to the English word “Self” while “Shoukai” can directly be translated to “Introduction.” But in practice, there are cultural differences and set procedures you should stick to. You only get one first impression, so it’s important to learn how to do it right.
After you mastered Basic Greetings such as “Ohayou Gozaimasu” Good morning, “Konnichiwa” Good afternoon “Konbanwa” Good night. Now, you will start to learn the Basic “Jikoshoukai” in Japanese. Here are some useful phrases you need to know.
1. はじめまして (Hajimemashite)
This means, “Nice to meet you.” Greetings to people who meet each other for the first time. Let’s talk cheerfully.
2. 私の名前は◯◯です。(Watashino namaewa ◯◯des.)
My name is ◯◯. If you have a nickname, you can say 〇〇to yonde kudasai which means “Please call me 〇〇”. Please look at the following example for more understanding.
- 私の名前はタナカミキです。（Watashino namaewa Tanaka miki des.）
My name is Miki Tanaka.
- ミキと呼んでください。（Miki to yonde kudasai.）
Please call me Miki.
3. ◯◯から来ました。(◯◯kara kimashita.)
Here, you mention your country or region you come from.
- アメリカから来ました。(America kara kimashita.)
I come from Amerika.
4. 私は◯◯です。（Watashiwa ◯◯desu. ）
You can mention your Occupation here.
- 私は学生です。(Watashiwa gakuseides.)
I am a student.
- 私はデザイナーです。(Watashiwa dezaina-des.)
I am a designer.
5. よろしくお願いします！（Yoroshiku onegai shimas.）
It means “Nice to meet you” or “How do you do”. We say it at the end of the self-introduction. You can also use it when you ask for something or at the end of an email. It’s a practical phrase that increases politeness when you add it.
The Other Additional Phrases (1)
6. お名前はなんですか？ （Onamaewa nandeska? ）What is your name?
7. 出身はどこですか？（Shusshinwa dokodeska.）Where are you from?
[Answer]: ◯◯から来ました。（○○kara kimashita） which means “I am from 〇〇.”
8. お仕事はなんですか？ （Oshigotowa nandeska？） What is your occupation?
This phrase comes after introducing your occupation to others.
[Answer]: わたしは○○です （Watashiwa ◯◯des. ）which means “I am a 〇〇.”
The Other Additional Phrases (2)
9. わたしは○○が好きです。(Watashiwa 〇〇ga sukides. ) meaning, I like 〇〇
[Example] わたしはすしが好きです。(Watashiwa sushiga sukides.) meaning, I like sushi.
Then, In order to emphasize this expression, you can say the following sentences:
わたしは○○が大好きです。(Watashiwa ◯◯ga daiskides.) meaning, I like 〇〇 very much.
10. あなたはどうですか? (Anatawa doudeska?) meaning, how about you?
This phrase is used to learn more about the preferences and opinions of others.
11. わたしは○○に行きました。(Watashiwa 〇〇ni ikimashita) meaning, I went to 〇〇.
This phrase is suitable for striking up a conversation with your Japanese friends, and sharing with them about the different places you have visited in Japan.
12. いっしょに○○に行きませんか? (Isshoni 〇〇ni ikimasenka?) meaning Would you like to go to 〇〇 together? Here, you can insert the name of the place into 〇〇. Please look at the following example to get a deeper understanding!
- いっしょにすし屋に行きませんか? (Isshoni sushiyani ikimasenka?)
Meaning, would you like to go to the sushi restaurant together?
- いっしょに新宿に行きませんか? (Isshoni shinjukuni ikimasenka?)
Meaning, would you like to visit Shinjuku together?
３. The Japanese Cultural Aspect
It’s good to know the words to say when you introduce yourself in Japanese, but the way you say those words will determine whether or not your “Jikoshoukai” succeeds. There are cultural differences that you need to be aware of. They’re subtle, but paying attention to such details can give you a social advantage when meeting a new Japanese friend.
① First name and Family name
In Japanese, people usually introduce themselves by their family names or full names. When they introduce their full name, the family name comes first, and the first name comes second.
In English, when you asked what you do for work, you give a summary of your job, or the name of your profession. In Japan, it’s common to answer only, ” Kaishain-desu” (I’m an office worker. /I work for a company.)
However, if you introduce yourself to someone in a business setting, mention your company in your self-intro.
- Toyotaのコウイチと 申します。(Toyota no Kouichi to moushimasu.)
Means, I’m Koichi from Toyota.
③ Don’t talk about yourself too much
Japanese people sometimes say lightly self-deprecating things as a form of humility, but it’s usually followed by something positive.
- 至らない点が多いかもしれませんが、よろしくおねがいします。（Itaranaitenga ooikamoshiremasenga, yoroshikuonegaishimasu.）This means, I might have many flaws, but I’ll do my best so please be kind to me.
You don’t have to say anything like that, but the point is that Japanese people usually keep their strengths to themselves. So try not to brag about them too much. It’s okay to reveal one or two of your strengths, but listing all your amazing skills will annoy others.
④ Bowing VS Handshake
In Japan, you shouldn’t engage in handshakes, especially if your status is equal to or lower than that of your counterpart. In Japan, the handshake is for equals. Instead of the traditional handshake after greeting, it’s a Japanese standard for you to bow. Bowing or お辞儀 (ojigi) is a form of respect for the Japanese. As a rule of thumb, always bow at least 15 degrees and remember to place your hands in front of you.
４. Basic “Jikoshoukai” Exercise
Maybe you’ve been doing your Japanese self-introduction for years, repeating the same three phrases over and over. Maybe you’ve already read this guide and know the basics. You’re ready to improve! Below are sample phrases you can incorporate into your standard “Jikoshoukai” to spice it up and make your self-introduction memorable.
① “Nice to meet you”
Earlier we learned how to use “Hajimemashite” [はじめまして] (nice to meet you, how do you do). Here’s a few ways to add to this set phrase.
- こんにちは。はじめまして。（Konnichiwa Hajimemashite. ）
Means, Hello. Nice to meet you.
- みなさん、こんにちは。はじめまして。（Minasan, Konnishiwa Hajimemashite.）
Means, Hello everyone. Nice to meet you.
For a formal situation, you should say both your first and last names. In a casual situation, it’s common to say only your family name for Japanese people. Below are several ways to introduce your name, organized by politeness in ascending order.
- マイケルです。 （Michael desu.）
Means, I am Michael.
- 私の名前はマイケルですが、マイクって呼ばれています。（Watashino namae wa Michael desuga, Mike tte yobareteimasu.）Means, My name is Michael, but most people call me Mike.
- マイケルといいます。（Michael to iimasu) which means I am Michael.
- マイケルと 申します。（Michael to moushimasu.）Means, I am Michael.
③ “Please be kind to me”
When you finish your “Jikoshoukai” you use a phrase that means “Please be kind to me” or “Remember me favorably.” Once you’ve mastered the standard “Yoroshiku onegaishimasu” you can move on to more casual or formal variations. Below we’ve arranged them by politeness level in ascending order.
- よろしく。 （Yoroshiku.）
- どうぞよろしく。 （Douzo Yoroshiku.）
- よろしくお願いします。 （Yoroshikuonegaishimasu.）
- どうぞ、よろしくお願いします。（Douzo yoroshikuonegaishimasu.）
④ Where you are from
“Shusshin” [出身] mean’s “Person’s origin,” and refers more to the place you were born or grew up than where you currently live. “Mairu” [参る（まいる）] is a more humble form of “Kuru”[来る] or “Iku” [行く] . So when “Mairu” [参る] is used to talk about where you came from in “アメリカから参りました,” it’s much more humble, so use it in appropriate situations.
- アメリカの出身です。（America no shussin desu.）
- アメリカから 来ました。（America kara kimashita.）
The above phrase means I am from America.
- アメリカから 参りました。（America kara mairimashita.）
I am from America.
⑤ Your school “Daigaku” [大学] University, College
School, from elementary up through university, is a big part of Japanese life. Be prepared to have people ask alma mater and what you studied. Or cut them off at the pass by including the information in your “Jikoshoukai”.
- わたしは Ⓐ 大学 Ⓑ 学部 Ⓒ科 出身です。
Watashiwa Ⓐ Daigaku Ⓑ Gakubu Ⓒ Ka Shusshinn desu.
This means I graduated from the Ⓒ department of the faculty of Ⓑ of Ⓐ University.
- わたしは Ⓐ 大学 Ⓑ 学部 Ⓒ科 の学生です。
Watashiwa Ⓐ Daigaku Ⓑ Gakubu Ⓒ Ka no Gakusei desu.
This means I am a student of the Ⓒ department of the faculty of Ⓑ of Ⓐ University.
⑥ Your work
A quick grammar usage note: some of these Jikoshoukai example sentences use the continuous state conjugation of “Suru” [する] which is “Shiteimasu” [しています]. If you want to get extra polite with any of these sentences, swap out “Shiteimasu” with “Shiteorimasu” [しております]. One easy switch and you’re ready to tell CEOs and presidents about your work situation.
- Toyotaでマネージャーをしています。（Toyotade manager wo shiteimasu.）
I’m the chief editor of Toyota.
- 私は 英語の 教師です。 （Watashiwa eigono kyoushi desu.）
I’m an English teacher.
- 私は東小学校で働いています [働いております] （Watashiwa Higashishougakkoude hataraiteimasu） [Hataraiteorimasu]. This means I’m working at East Elementary School.
⑦ Where you live
In the Japanese we call it, “Sumu” [住む すむ] which means live.
- 東京に 住んでいます。 （Tokyo ni sundeimasu.）
I live in Tokyo.
- 東京駅の ちかく に 住んでいます。（Tokyoeki no chikakuni sundesimasu.）
I live near Tokyo station.
５. Conversation Tips
Introduce yourself, what you like to eat most and what your hobbies are. Please look at the following points!
① When you say something you like or something you like
- わたしは、○○が好きです。（Watashi ha ○○ ga suki desu. ）
Means, I like ○○.
- わたしの趣味は、○○です。（Watashi no syumi ha ○○ desu.）
Means, My hobby is 〇〇.
③ When you say what you are good at
- わたしは、○○ができます。（Watashi wa ○○ ga dekimasu. ）
Means, I can ○○.
④ Introduce your Family
- わたしの家族は、○人です。（Watashi no kazoku ha ○nin desu. ）
Means, My family are 〇 （Insert your family number).
- ○○と○○と○○がいます。(○○ to ○○ to ○○ ga imasu.)
Means, I have ○○, ○○ and ○○. （Insert your family such as mother, father, and sister).
- 誕生日は、○年○月○日です。（Tanjoubi ha ○○nen ○○gatu ○○nichi desu. ）
Means, My birthday is ~
- ○○才です。（○○sai desu.）
Means, I am ○○years old.
６. Useful Words
|アルバイト||Arubaito||Part time job|
How was that? There are many expressions for “Jikoshoukai” in Japanese. If you’ve a chance to introduce yourself in Japanese, please try saying a few phrases up here. You’ll have a great conversation in the Japanese community and make lots of friends, I’m sure!
To sum up this article, please let me recall again the above information in the following points! Please review them together here!
- “Jiko” refers to the English word “self” while “Shoukai” can directly be translated to “introduction. “Jikoushoukai” is deemed an essential step to establish yourself among the locals.
- You must be careful to use a formal and polite Japanese style and not tell too much about yourself or reveal too many personal details.
- In Japan, the family name always comes first.
- There are a lot of “Jikoshoukai” phrases that go beyond the basic introduction, so make the most of them.
- It’s better to improve the advanced self-introduction when you’ve mastered the basic self-introduction so that you can converse even better.
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