Learning Japanese

Six Japanese Work Phrases You Must Know!

So, it’s your first day of work in Japan and you’re pumped for what awaits you. As you anxiously sit down at your desk, and your boss happens to walk by. Come on, it’s your first day, how can you leave a good impression? Well good thing you’re reading this because TalentHub is here to save the day.

Most people say that “actions speak louder than words”. But in Japan, sometimes it can be the other way around. Your word choice can truly affect how somebody perceives you. More specifically, the formality of your speech. Knowing how to speak respectably to your boss could make you seem like a great employee.

For example, let’s take a look at the word “分かりました”. Although “分かりました” in a sense is a form of 敬語 (keigo, honorific speech in Japanese), it’s technically not formal enough for a workplace. (I don’t know how many of you just rolled your eyes while reading that but I sure did while typing it.) Just like this example, there are many other words or phrases in keigo that have an even more formal version! Here’s a quick run down of some of the most useful Japanese phrases for work!

① I understand/got it →  承知いたしました、かしこまりました

× 分かりしました、了解しました

② Is that alright? → よろしいでしょうか。

× いいですか?

③ Excuse me/pardon me but…→ 恐れ入りますが

× すみませんが

④ What should we/I do? → いかがなさいますか。

× どうしますか

⑤ That person →  あの方

× あの人

⑥ I’m sorry →  申し訳ありません、申し訳ございません

× すみません、ごめんなさい

A slight change in words can completely change how you come off. At first glance, Japanese can be confusing and complicated, but it’s one of those things that you’ll pick up naturally, so don’t worry too much!

Have you personally come across any situations when you used the wrong Japanese? Or do you happen to already use these phrases? Feel free to comment your experiences or questions down below!

If you want to learn more about work life and manners in Japan, be sure to check out our YouTube Channel and as always, stay tuned for more posts on this site as well!


By Eiko
Student at ICU and summer intern at TalentHub.

👉Read more TalentHub blogs: https://talenthub.jp/blog/?lang=en

Related post

  1. Author: J.J.

    [Blog] Tackling the JLPTs: Part 1

    Reading through Japan job postings …

  2. using hand gestures in Japan

    Author: J.J.

    Nonverbal Communication in Japan

    There were communication before the…

  3. what to know to work as a game developer in Japan

    Author: Jorge

    Game Engines and the Japanese Video Game Industry

    Japan has a long tradition of handc…

  4. Interviews

    Interview: Henrik Oesterman on Working Overseas

    Searching for a job can be stressfu…

  5. Author: TalentHub

    What’s the Benefit of Working in Japan?

    If you're reading this article, you…

  6. Author: M.Kok

    How to get promoted in Japan

    One of the most decisive factors fo…

  1. TalentHub News

    [Update] 3 New Challenges Added! (10/7)
  2. TalentHub News

    [11/4] We are going to give out the awar…
  3. Author: Bill

    [Blog] Why You Should Learn Business Jap…
  4. everything you need is at a Japanese train station

    Author: J.J.

    Everything You Need is at a Japanese Tra…
  5. Author: Onomatopoeia

    “Bonenkai” – Party the Last Year A…
PAGE TOP