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Basic Japanese : “Sumimasen” – “Thank you” in Japanese

Date Published: Last Update:2015/08/10 Others , , ,

“Thank you” in Japanese other than “Arigatou”

Vowing Man

Illustration from Illust-ya

“Arigatou (gozai masu)” is the common phrase, but there are other phrases for “Thank you” in Japanese.

Sumimasen

Sumimasen

The phrase is also very common and frequently heard in Japan.
(Maybe more often used than “Arigatou”).
This has several meanings :

  • “I’m sorry.”
  • “Excuse me.”
  • “Thank you (and I’m sorry for your trouble or bothering you).”

I sometimes hear that Japanese people say too much “(I’m) sorry” in English, and I feel that it’s because of this convenient phrase “Sumimasen”.
For me, it’s understandable that Japanese say “I’m sorry” when they should say “Thank you” or “Excuse me”.

This is rather formal phrase, so not for somebody who are close to you.

[Ex.]

If your colleague bought a souvenir for you, you can say “Sumimasen”.
It’s more polite to add “Arigatou gozai masu”, like “Sumimasen, arigatou gozai masu”.
The colleague bothered to buy something for you, and you appreciate the person’s kindness as well as feel sorry for his / her spending time and money.

The word “Waza waza”

Waza Waza

You may hear somebody saying “Waza waza sumimasen” or “Waza waza arigatou gozai masu”.
This is used when somebody put the unnecessary effort.
“Waza waza arigatou gozai masu” can be translated as “Thank you, but you haven’t got to”.

The past tense of “Sumimasen”

The past tense for “Sumimasen” is “Sumimasen deshita“, but it’s not used for “Thank you” or “Excuse me”.
It is used when you apologise about something which was done (some time ago).

“Doumo”

Doumo

“Doumo” can be used as a phrase which means “Hello”, “Sorry” or “Thank you”, as well as the prefixed word emphasising other phrases like “Arigatou”.

“Doumo” is pronounced as English “doe” and “mo” in “moss”.
A bit similar to Italian “duomo”.
It can be shortened to “domo” or repeated like “doumo doumo” (or “domo domo”) when it’s used as an independent phrase.

The phrase “doumo” or “domo” is very casual.
But “Doumo arigatou” is politer than just “Arigatou”.
“Doumo” for “Thank you” is perhaps an abbreviation of the proper expression “Doumo arigatou”.

About “doumo” and “arigatou”, personally I consider;

  • “Doumo arigatou gozai masu.”
    “Thank you very much.”
  • “Arigatou gozai masu.”
    “Thank you.”
  • “Doumo arigatou”
    “Thanks very much.”
  • “Arigatou.”
    “Thanks.”
  • “Doumo.” or “Domo.”
    “Ta.”

“Katajike nai”

Katajikenai

The old-fashioned phrase.
Probably it can be more often seen or heard in historical dramas.

I feel this is closer to “Sumimasen” than “Arigatou”.
It’s rather humble expression meaning “Thank you (for your too much kindness to me)”.
You feel that you are getting undeserved something or unmerited favour.

To people in higher ranks, its politer form “Katajike nou gozai masu” is more appropriate.

Local dialect for “Thank you”

“Ookini”

Okini

Mainly used in Kansai area including Kyoto and Osaka.
It’s a dialect, but I guess almost all the Japanese understand what this means.
You can see many characters speak in the dialect in “manga” or other medias, and it’s very commonly known.

Same as “Doumo”, “Ookini” means “very (much)”.
The proper phrase is “Ookini arigatou”.

“Ookini” doesn’t seem to be so casual as “Doumo”, because sometimes in Kansai area I hear that staffs in a shop or a restaurant say this to customers.

“Dan dan”

Dan Dan

This seems to be used in (a part of) Shimane prefecture (mainly by old people).
Much less common than “Ookini”, and I didn’t know the word until I read a manga by an author from Shimane.
I googled the word for this post and I found out that the TV drama entitled “Dan dan”, which was set in Shimane and Kyoto, was aired in 2008.

In standard Japanese, “dan dan” means “gradually”.

 

Related posts:
#“Thank you” in Japanese : “Arigato”

#Phrase before meal
Phrase after meal

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

#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)

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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).

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