What’s the beautiful meaning of Gochisousama?

Introduction

Hi there! When you are watching the J-Drama or Anime, have you ever heard the phrase, Gochisousama? Yes, Gochisousama is often said by many Japanese after finishing their meal. Do you know what is the meaning of this phrase? Let’s learn together here. Please read carefully the following explanations!

1. Definitions

Background Source Pictures: Unsplash

In the first place, let’s talk about the definitions. Japanese use the phrase Gochisousama after eating. This greeting represents deep gratitude for eating etiquette in Japanese culture. A long time ago, it is said that Japanese people needed to run to serve their food. They needed to do the hunting, fishing, and harvesting with all of their efforts to get food. The phrase Gochisousama is an expression of profound appreciation toward those who had done great works to present the food. Nowadays, this greeting is addressed to all parties who have been involved in presenting the dishes people have eaten.

In English, Gochisousama means “Thank You for the Wonderful Meal”. Identically, the other most common sentence is Gochisousama deshita which means “Thank You for the Wonderful Meal, it was Plentiful and Feast”.

2. Gochisousama in Hiragana

Background Source Pictures: Unsplash

Second, do you want to try to write the phrase Gochisousama in Hiragana?  Here is the way! Gochisousama consists of the following hiragana characters:

  • ご (go)
  • ち (chi)
  • そ (so)
  • う (u) do not forget to put this letter
  • さ (sa)
  • ま (ma)

Together with this, if you want to learn more about Japanese Characters such as Katakana and Kanji, please take a quick look here! In addition, please note that you can write this phrase in Romaji as Gochisousama or Gochisōsama. Both have the same meaning.

3. Gochisousama in Kanji 

Background Source Pictures: Unsplash

Not only knowing the hiragana but also learning Kanji is really important, I think. Equally important, it is very principal to know the meaning of the phrase Gochisousama from its Kanji. The kanji of Gochisousama is ご馳走様 (Go Chisou Sama). Let’s break down each character’s meaning as follows:

  • (1)ご or 御 (go) is an expression of respect (honorific prefix O or Go). 
  • (2)馳走 (Chisou) originally from the phrase 「馬で走り回る (uma de hashirimawaru)」means to run around on a horse.

In the ancient past, people had to run horses and find ingredients to prepare food. It took a lot of effort on selecting and threatening the ingredients to prepare hospitality dishes. Unlike these days we can easily buy ingredients at stores. The Kanji ご馳走様 (Gochisousama) shows deep appreciation as well as respect and gratitude for the efforts of these people.

4. The Origin Usage of Gochisousama

Background Source Pictures: Unsplash

According to several sources, the phrase Gochisousama began to be used as a greeting after meals in the latter half of the Edo period. The basic modern Japanese food cultures were formed during this era. What kind of cultures? They were about the establishment of three meals a day food style, the birth of gourmet food (sushi, tempura, and soba), and the development of eating out culture such as (eating in restaurants and izakaya) as well as custom foods.

5. Beautiful meaning in Gochisousama

Background Source Pictures: Unsplash

As stated previously, the Kanji of Gochisousama represents a very beautiful meaning. It represents the appreciation and respect of the people who had run horses and done hard work in preparing the food. It is the same as now. Even though it is not as difficult to procure ingredients as in the past, there are still people who run to go shopping. Also, there are still people who run to line up the ingredients in the store, and people who run to cook. Therefore, this phrase shows gratitude to everyone who works hard for a single meal. 

When you say it after having a meal, please say it out loud with your heart. It is not only “Thank you” sentences for the meal but beyond just filling your stomach. It is an appreciation, deep gratitude, and thanks for everyone who works for your meal on the table. 

6. How to pronounce Gochisousama in Japanese

Background Source Pictures: Unsplash

Do you want to practice how to pronounce the phrase, Gochisousama or Gochisousama deshita? Here are the best practices for you! Please listen to the audio below and try to speak it as many times as you like. Then, you would not get slip tongue, or miss-spell when you say it practically.

(1) Gochisousama.

(2) Gochisousama deshita.

7. Itadakimasu and Gochisousama 

Background Source Pictures: Unsplash

As you might hear these 2 phrases are very popular when eating food in Japanese Anime, do you know the meaning? Itadakimasu is technically a kenjougo or humble phrase in Japanese. People say Itadakimasu before having a meal by uniting their hands and bowing. It means to (humbly) receive. A similar phrase with more casual ways is moraimasu. However, we cannot change itadakimasu with moraimasu. Before having a meal, you only can say itadakimasu not moraimasu, no matter what. 

Then, Gochisousama is a pair phrase of Itadakimasu. People say Gochisousama after having a meal. When people say this, they will unite their hands at the same time as well as bowing. You also can say Gochisousama deshita which means “Thank you for the wonderful meal, it was a great feast”. The phrase deshita indicates the past tense since you have finished the meal. 

8. When Saying Itadakimasu and Gochisousama?

Background Source Pictures: Unsplash

Some people may have trouble when they join Japanese dining for the first time. Most of them would need detailed table manners, especially when are the perfect timing to say Itadakimasu and Gochisousama. Do not forget as well to bring your palms together when you say both of these sentences. The following is the detailed guidance for you! 

When saying Itadakimasu:

  • Japanese people say Itadakimasu wherever they eat, neither in the restaurant nor their home. 
  • When someone cooks for them, the Japanese would surely say Itadakimasu as a gratitude for their kindness.
  • We can use Itadakimasu when we receive a gift. This is a formal way of saying thank you.

When saying Gochisousama:

  • After you finish your meal, whether you get the meal in your own home or someone else’s home.
  • When you finish eating in a restaurant. Servers and chefs would be very happy to hear you present them Gochisousama deshita after you complete the meal, they have prepared for you.
  • When your friend, colleague, or anyone who treated you for a meal or a drink. Saying Gochisousama deshita would be the best way to thank and appreciate their kindness to you.

9. Gochi ni narimasu

Background Source Pictures: Unsplash

Recently, people get to use the phrase, “gochi(ゴチ)”. This is a shortened form of the phrase Gochisousama. This phrase has been widely used as slang or colloquial language by young people or some adults. In Japan, this phrase was originally a word that came out of a project in a television program. Through that program, Gochi ni narimasu (ゴチになります) became popular and spread out throughout Japan. It means “Thank you for the delicious food”.

10. Gochisousama deshita

Background Source Pictures: Unsplash

Gochisosama deshita means literally “to run around,” or “to make every effort for the guest.” as mentioned beforehand. We can break down each word as the following 

  • Gochiso means luxurious food or feast.
  • ~sama is an honorific phrase called Keigo to respect the word or person.
  • ~deshita means It was. This phrase is the past form of the word desu.

 In short, Gochisousama deshita means “Thank You for the Meal, It was Feast”.

11. Gochisousama in JLPT

Background Source Pictures: Unsplash

The phrase Gochisousama consists of 4 kanji 御馳走様. According to several sources, this phrase belongs to the JLPT N2. To know each kanji level, let’s break it down as follows:

  • Go : JLPT N3
  • Chi : Unidentified
  • Sou: JLPT N4
  • sama: JLPT N3

Moreover, do you want to know more about JLPT? Go here!

12. Gochisō~ meaning in Japanese

Background Source Pictures: Unsplash

Next, have you ever heard the phrase Gochisō~? The phrase Gochisō~ is a shortened phrase from Gochisousama. It means the feast. Originally the kanji Gochisō~ means to run around for preparing the food. You can use this as a more casual phrase. When you eat with your friend, using this would be nice. 

13. How to reply Gochisousama

Background Source Pictures: Unsplash

After reading all along about Goshisosama and Gochisosama deshita, you might need to know what the reply you would get from the Chef or people who have prepared the food for you. The reply you would get would be “Douzo mehiagare” which means “Please enjoy (the food)”. Isn’t it beautiful? 

14. Example Sentences using Gochisousama

Background Source Pictures: Unsplash

To make your Japanese sound very beautiful and polite. You can add the following sentence when saying Gochisousama. Choose what you like!

(Less Formal)
ごちそうさま、とても美味しかったよ。
Thank you for the meal.
(Polite form)
ごちそうさまでした。とても美味しかったです。
Thank you for the meal. (The food) was very delicious.

Please play the audio below to hear how to pronounce the sentences above!
(1). ごちそうさま、とても美味しかったよ。
Gochisōsama, totemo oishikatta yo.

(2). ごちそうさまでした。とても美味しかったです。
Gochisōsamadeshita. Totemo oishikattadesu.

15. Similar word with Gochisousama

Background Source Pictures: Unsplash

There are 3 ways of expressing “Thank You for the Meal” in Japanese actually. All 3 expressions below have the same meaning. They are:

  1. “Gochisousama(ごちそうさま)“: this phrase is short and neutral.
  2. “Gochisousamadeshita(ごちそうさまでした)”: this phrase is very polite.
  3. “Gochisousan(ごちそうさん)”: this phrase is more casual.

Conclusion

Last but not least, coupled with the explanation above, we can conclude this article as the following points:

  • The phrase Gochisousama is an expression of profound appreciation toward those who had done great works to present the food.
  • The Kanji ご馳走様 (Gochisousama) shows deep appreciation as well as respect and gratitude for the efforts of the people who prepare the food.
  • Itadakimasu and Gochisousama is a pair expression of table manner in Japanese. People say Itadakimasu before having a meal and say Gochisousama after having a meal.
  • Learning about Gochisousama deeply widen and sharpen our understanding about Japanese language and its beauty on respecting creatures in this world especially the food and the people.  

ABOUTこの記事をかいた人

Hi, I’m Eka. I’m one of the awardees of the 2016 MEXT College to College Recommendation Scholarship. I completed the one-year JASSO-Tokyo Japanese course (2016-2017) and won second place in the Japanese speech competition held internally at JASSO at that time. After that, I continued my education at NIT. Akashi College and earned a Bachelor of Engineering degree after 2 years of study. I love teaching children English and Japanese, writing blogs, designing graphics, and creating digital content. I hope you enjoy the knowledge I share here based on the experience I gained in Japan for over 5 years. Thanks!