Quest For Japan Logo-Ver7

Basic Japanese : “Itadaki masu” – Phrase before meal

Date Published: Last Update:2015/05/25 Others

When I watch foreign TV dramas, I sometimes see Christian people praying before meal.
It seems that the prayer is to appreciate God who have given them food.

In Japan, maybe Christians do the same, but I guess most of people say certain phrases before and after dinner instead of a prayer.
If you love Japanese manga, films, etc., you perhaps have heard or seen these phrases :
“Itadaki masu”
“Go-chisou sama”
Both phrases are said with putting your palms together (and vow to food).

Itadaki masu image

- Itadaki masu! -
Illustration from Illust-ya

It’s rather seldom to see people saying these in public places like restaurants.
I myself don’t say them usually in public.
Sometimes, I do gestures and just say those phrases to myself or very quietly.
I can’t explain why, but perhaps I feel embarrassed to say them aloud on my own, because when I’m with my friend, I often say them.
Even at home, I say them only when I feel like to, although I do more frequently than in public.

In this post, I’m explaining about the phrase before meal – “Itadaki masu”.

Itadaki masu

Itadaki masu

“Itadaki” in “itadaki masu” is a combination of a verb “itadaku” and a suffix word to show politeness “masu”.
The verb “itadaku” is a modest expression for “taberu” (eat something) or “morau” (receive something).

Originally, “itadaku” was used when people ate food which had been offered to god(s), or received something from somebody in the higher rank.

Itadaki

The Kanji character for the word means “top (of something)”, and it can be used as a noun like “yama no itadaki”, “the top of the mountain” (“yama” is “mountain”, and “no” is “of”).
In the old times, when people received something from a higher ranking person, they used to raise it over their head as if they were putting it on the top of their head, to show their respect to the person.
They behaved the same way before they ate food which had been dedicated to god(s).
This is how “itadaku” had become a honorific word meaning “eat” or “receive”, and people started to say the phrase “itadaki masu” before meal.

So, the phrase is to show the respect, but to whom?
To everybody and everything who are related or involved to the meal.
To people who raised vegetables (or cows, pigs, etc.), caught (or raised) fish, delivered them, cooked them, or anybody who worked so that people could eat them.
And to food itself, as many Japanese believe that everything, not only animals or fish but also plants like vegetables or fruits, has got its own life.
We consume others’ lives to live, and we should thank them which keep us alive.

I don’t think that it’s too much to say that “itadaki masu” is a phrase to appreciate the world, and I feel that this is one of the most beautiful expressions in Japanese.

Some Japanese might say that you haven’t got to say this at restaurants because you pay your money for the meal so there’s no need to appreciate it.
I don’t think that those people ever consider about the fact that we cannot live without sacrificing other lives.

Next post: “Go-chisou sama”

 

Related posts:
#Numbers (1: General one to ten)
(2: Minor one to ten)
(3: Eleven to hundred)
(4: Large numbers)
(5: Trivia)

#Japanese Alphabet (1: “Gojyuu-on” and “iroha-uta”)
(2: Out-of-use characters)
(3: First half of “iroha-uta”)
(4: Second half of “iroha-uta”)

#“I” in Japanese (1) (2) (3)

#Japanese honorific titles (1:Formal) (2:Casual) (3:In text) (4:Business titles)

The following two tabs change content below.

kara

A Japanese living in Okayama. A proud "Otaku"! Loves animals, snacks, manga, games (PC, iPad, Nintendo DS, PSP), foreign TV dramas, traveling and football (soccer).

Sponsored Links

  • Pocket
  • 1 follow us in feedly

Related Article/s:

Dazaifu 06

Go west : Sugawara no Michizane – Legends

There are mysterious legends around Sugawara no Michizane. Most of them are episodes after he was framed by his political enemy. Michizane and the flying plum tree This legend is very well-known along with the following poem. The night before he left his home in Kyoto, the capital at that time, he composed a poem […]

Read Article

Aiueo 3

Basic Japanese : Old Japanese Alphabets

Old Japanese Alphabets or Historical Japanese Alphabets The two red characters in “gojyuu-on” and “iroha-uta” are out of use now. Both characters had their own sounds consisting of a consonant and a vowel, but each of them changed into the same sound as a vowel which has a similar sound. Although they couldn’t be distinguished […]

Read Article

Capsule Toy Vending Machines (2nd floor)

Visiting a Gacha-gacha (Capsule Toy) Specialty Store

In Japan, you can find capsule toy vending machines or gacha-gacha in Japanese (refers both to the toy and the vending machine) mostly everywhere. It’s usually located near the entrance at supermarkets, restaurants, department stores, and other places. Gacha-gacha (Capsule Toy) Specialty Store in Okayama City Recently, I have learned that there is a gacha-gacha specialty store called […]

Read Article

Number List 4

Basic Japanese : Large numbers in Japanese – Thousand and over

Large numbers in Japanese : Thousand to quadrillion From thousand to quadrillion, the common units you hear in everyday life in Japan including in the news. As I wrote in the previous post, for digits over ten, “4” is always read as “yon” and “9” as “kyuu”. “7” is generally “nana”. For bigger numbers than […]

Read Article

Japanese Number List 1

Basic Japanese : Numbers – General one to ten in Japanese

How to say one to ten in Japanese There are (more than) two ways for general counting. The one that is supposed to originate in China and the other is (probably) Japanese original. Now, the Chinese one is commonly used. The most common Japanese for one to ten With Kanji characters, their sounds should have […]

Read Article

Tsukudo shrine

Mystery tour: Taira no Masakado – Part 2 –

Barrier for Masakado? There are seven main shrines (including “Kubi-zuka”) for Masakado. They are said to have been built to seal the powerful spirit of Masakado as well as to make use of it. [1. Torigoe shrine] It is not officially admitted, but this shrine is said to be the place where Masakado’s hand(s?) is […]

Read Article

Kyoto Gosho

Go west : Sugawara no Michizane strikes back

After Michizane’s death in 903, people, who were involved with the conspiracy to frame him, died in a mysterious death one after another. Also, there were natural disasters in Kyoto. Victims of vengeance by Sugawara no Michizane Year: Person 906: Fujiwara no Sadakuni (Age: 40) 908: Fujiwara no Sugane (Age: 53) He reported to the […]

Read Article

Iroha 11

Basic Japanese : “Iroha-uta”, line by line – Part 2 –

The rest of “Iroha-uta”, line by line Line 3 From a Buddhism thought, “Free from living and dying(, by entering Nirvana)”. [First half] Meaning: The deep mountain called life, “Ui” is also a Buddhism word. It means “every thing and phenomenon which comes from various karma(, always lives and dies and never lasts forever)”. Some […]

Read Article

Inogashira park

Japanese urban legends – Part 3 –

“Toshi densetsu” : Japanese urban legends (3) Mary-san (Ms. Mary) A girl had an old Western doll and called it “Mary”. When her family moved to another place, she disposed it because it was old. One night, a telephone rang at her new home. The girl got it, then heard the voice saying, “Hello, I’m […]

Read Article

Number List 5

Basic Japanese : Trivia about numbers in Japanese

The final post about numbers in Japanese. Number over quadrillion Numbers over “chou” (trillion to quadrillion) are quite rarely used. You may hear the following unit “kei” sometimes, but numbers over the unit “kei” won’t be seen in usual life. I’ve never seen it myself even in the news and I actually can’t name units […]

Read Article

Sponsored Links

Leave a Reply

Sponsored Links

  • Google+
    InstagramInstagram
PAGE TOP ↑