Working in a Japanese Company: Part 4 – Basic Japanese Business Vocabulary

March was the first full month that I worked pretty much 100% by myself. There were many things I still did not understand, but I did my best and I understand more and more each time I do my monthly tasks. What helped me learn faster was that the Japanese fiscal year starts on April 1st and ends on March 31st, so March consisted of closing the monthly sales early, as everyone wants to properly close the fiscal year as soon as possible and everyone was working overtime in order to make everything come together in time. I am still learning how to time everything each month, but things seem to be falling into place now and I feel more confident about the work I do now than I did before.

In this month’s post, I wanted to talk about some everyday Japanese business vocabulary that’s very important if you work in a Japanese company. First concept is the concept of “Inside the company” vs. “Outside the company”. What you write in emails and say on the phone changes depending on if you are talking to someone inside the company or outside of the company.

Inside the company

Inside the company when you see someone in the morning, or for the first time that day, you say 「おはようございます」”Ohayougozaimasu”, which basically translates to “good morning” or a greeting of hello when you see the person for the first time that day (the later use is mostly used for Hotels and other instances where people work around the clock though. This also pertains to the entertainment industry). You can use this in the morning with people outside the company, but I personally think it’s better to stick with “osewaninarimasu”, which I will get into later.

Next up is 「お疲れ様です」“Otsukaresamadesu”, which is a phrase that you only use with people inside the company. It basically translates to “Thanks for the hard work,” or “you have worked/ you are working hard”. This is a greeting that is used at all times during the day as a greeting to people inside the company. When you are just walking down the hall, or when you are leaving for the day, this phrase is a must when you work in a Japanese company. Writing emails to people inside the company, you always write this right after you write the person’s name. When you pick up a call from someone inside the company, you always say this after they state who is calling.

Outside the company

The most important phrase you can learn for working with someone outside the company is 「お世話になります」”Osewaninarimasu”, which translates into “We are in your care/ Have been in your care”, but is a way of saying “thanks for doing business with us”. You always use this on the phone when a customer calls, after they state who they are and what company they are calling from. Even if they are not your customer and are not calling for you, you always say this when you answer the phone, at the person is doing business with your company and not just you. You also write this in the next line after the person’s name at the beginning of the email and put 「様」”sama” after their name as an honorific.

Both Inside and Outside the Company

Last, but not least, is 「宜しくお願いします」”Yoroshikuonegishimasu”, which translates to “Thanks in advance” or “thanks for doing this for me”. This is complicated to translate into English because I think it is a very Japanese cultural thing to say, but you use it when you are asking anyone to do something for you, or after you have discussed something with someone as a follow up to basically say “Thank you for doing it for me in advance”. You write this at the end of any emails as an ending like “Sincerely” or “Best Regards” is in English business emails, and you say it after talking to anyone on the phone.

Now, everything I wrote above are basic rules and they can change depending on the situation and what you are talking about during work, but they are a good starting point in understanding basic Japanese business vocabulary.

What do you think of some of these Japanese Business Vocabulary terms? Please let me know in the comments below! Also, please let me know if you want some example emails or phone call conversations. I can make one whole post about it!

Go to Part 3 | Go to Part 5


3 thoughts on “Working in a Japanese Company: Part 4 – Basic Japanese Business Vocabulary

  1. When Japanese call to complain about a good or service, how do the style of their complains compare to Americans? (In America it can range from a calm redress of grievances to angry demands for a refund).

    What is the protocol to respond to an unhappy customer?


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