How are you in Japanese: 7 things you need to know (2023)

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How are you in Japanese: 7 things you need to know (1)

The Japanese language will be much more interesting if we know and practice it fluently every day. The more sentences and phrases we know, the easier it will be to master them. Surely you've heard the Japanese expression 元気ですか? genki desu ka? or お元気ですか ogenki desu ka? when you watch Anime, J-dramas, etc., right? When you try to translate to google translate it means "how are you?". So the question is how do you use it?

Please read this article, you will get a complete explanation useful to understand the meaning of genki desu ka itself. So that you can easily understand the usage of this genki desu ka greeting expression, let's see the full explanation of the following...


  • 1. O significado de “Genki desu ka”
  • 2. A expressão de “Ogenki deshita ka” e “Hai, okage sama des, genki desu”
  • 3. A expressão “Ohisashiburi desu e hisashiburi desu”
  • 4. Sobre “Gobusata shite orimasu”
  • 5. A distinção entre “Ohisashiburi desu” e “Gobusata shite orimasu”
  • 6. Expression “Genki?” and “Genki datta?”
  • 7. Expression “¿Saikin Dou?”
  • Conclusion

1. O significado de “Genki desu ka”

How are you in Japanese: 7 things you need to know (2)

As briefly mentioned above, Genki or Ogenki desu ka is a greeting expression or 挨拶 (aisatsu) that is used quite frequently in everyday conversations in Japan. This aisatsu or greeting in Japanese means "how are you?" or "are you okay?" which is used to ask the situation or news of the other person. this isatsu,ambos genki desu ka o genki desu kaIt is usually used when you meet people you haven't seen in a long time. However, please note that the salutation ofgenki desu kaIt is mainly used when writing letters, emails or calling someone.

Please have a look at the conversation below:

A: Genki desu ka, how are you?

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How are you? / Are you healthy?

B: Hai, genki desu.

Yes I am well.


A: Ogenki desu ka, how are you?

How are you? / He is well?

B: Hai, Okagesamade, genki desu.

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Yes, thanks to God's grace, I'm fine.

Here, there are 2 ways to say genki desu ka in Japanese, simply using it as genki desu ka or adding 'o' before 'genki' to be ogenki desu ka. When you are using 'O' before 'genki' it will be more polite and formal than without using it. You can use it for your superiors, boss or someone you respect. And when you are not using 'O' before 'genki', the meaning would be casual and you can use it for your friend or someone with similar positions as you.

Also, there is a new phrase on how to respond when someone asks you a question using this phrase "Genki desu ka?" or Okagesamade, genki des.

Okagesamamade is a Japanese expression used to express gratitude for someone's help that leads to a positive outcome. In this case, we also use it to express our gratitude for God's grace in making our bodies healthy. Also, "genki desu ka" is sometimes just used for people who haven't seen the speaker for a long time. Meanwhile, the phrase “おかげさまで、元気です” or “hai, okage sama de, genki desu” is used in response to “genki desu ka”.

Again, most of the words “genki desu ka” are just used as greetings when writing letters, emails, etc. (It is rarely used in everyday conversation.) The 'O' or 'Go' is the prefix used as an honorific expression that is usually added before some specific words to express courtesy and respect to the speaker.

What is more, this speech can be used by the speaker for people in general or non-specific people through one-way conversations such as TV programs, speeches, etc. On the other hand, it is considered inappropriate to use this greeting with people who meet the speaker. often, like school friends, coworkers, or family members who live together at home, or people you meet often, because that will give a stiff and awkward impression.

The prefix “O” in “genki desu ka” is used to soften the word “genki” which means “healthy”. "desu" also shows subtlety to the other person, so this speech can be used as a polite greeting.

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As a special supplement for you,To deepen your understanding and broaden your preference regarding "genki desu ka", here are other expressions that can be used similarly with genki desu kao usually follows genki desu ka when said practically in daily life.

2. A expressão de “Ogenki deshita ka” e “Hai, okage sama des, genki desu”

How are you in Japanese: 7 things you need to know (3)

The expression "genki deshita ka" is the past form of "genki desu ka". The greeting “genki deshita ka” is also used to ask the situation of the interlocutor who has not formally met the speaker for a long time. The difference between “genki deshita ka” and “genki desu ka” is time and situation. In general, "Ogenki deshita ka" is used to ask the speaker's status, provided that the speaker and the speaker have not met at a certain time in the past.

It means: "Are you okay?" or "Were you okay?" Also, usually “genki deshita ka” is spoken directly to the other person in the conversation. On the other hand, "Ogenki desu ka" asks the speaker's state when the speaker meets the other person, or "ogenki desu ka" is often used in writings such as letters. Just use "hai, okage sama de, genki desu" which means "Yes, thank God, I'm fine" in response to "genki deshita ka" and "genki desu ka".

3.La Expresión “Ohisashiburi desu e hisashiburi desu”

How are you in Japanese: 7 things you need to know (4)

The words "Ohisashiburi desu" or "It's been a long time hisashiburi desu" are the phrase spoken when the speaker meets the other person who hasn't seen him in a long time. "Ohisashiburi desu" expresses joy when the speaker meets the other. This greeting is often associated with the phrase "genki deshita ka" which asks for the aforementioned condition of the caller as a greeting "how are you?" like "ohisashiburi desu, genki deshita ka)", which says "how long have you been fine?

The "o" prefix of "ohisashiburi desu" is used to soften the word "hisashiburi", which means "long time no see" or "it's been a while", similar to "genki" as noted above. Meanwhile, "desu" also shows courtesy towards the other person, so this greeting can also be used as a polite greeting.

“Hisashiburi” is an informal greeting of “ohisashiburi desu” spoken when greeting people who haven't seen the speaker in a long time. Since "hisashiburi" is an informal form of "ohisashiburi desu" and has a friendly meaning, this greeting can only be used for people close to the speaker, such as schoolmates, workmates, etc. they didn't see the speaker. for a long time. On the other hand, "hisashiburi" is not appropriate for people whose age/status is older than the speaker or people who are unfamiliar with the speaker.

4. About“Gobusata mierda orimasu”

How are you in Japanese: 7 things you need to know (5)

The expression "Gobusata shite orimasu" is also used when the speaker meets the interlocutor who has not seen him for a long time, it means "It's been a while since(since…)". "Gobusata shite orimasu" shows an apology when the speaker meets the other person because the speaker has not had time to meet the other person for a long time. This greeting includes respectful language, a kind of self-deprecating language , therefore, it is appropriate to use it for people older than the speaker, with higher status than the speaker, people respected by the speaker, or in the business world.

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5.A distinção entre “Ohisashiburi desu” e “Gobusata shite orimasu”

How are you in Japanese: 7 things you need to know (6)

Essentially, "oisashiburi desu" and "gobusata shite orimasu" can be used to politely say "long time no see". However, in general, “oisashiburi desu” is more likely to be said to people who are at or below the same level as the speaker, although it can be used in general terms. It is better not to say "oisashiburi desu" to people of higher status than the speaker, because there are still words that are more appropriate than "oisashiburi desu".

Meanwhile, "gobusata shite orimasu" includes very respectful language, a kind of self-deprecating language, so it is appropriate to use it for people older than the speaker, with higher status than the speaker, people respected by the speaker, speaker, or mainly in the business world.

6.Expression “Genki?” and “Genki datta?”

How are you in Japanese: 7 things you need to know (7)

"元気? Genki?" What is the informal greeting for “genki desu ka?” which asks the caller's condition, such as "how are you?" in Indonesian Likewise, “元気だった?genki datta?” also the informal greeting of "genki deshita ka", which is the past form of "genki desu ka?". "Genky?" and "genki datta?" both are commonly used both in conversation and in intimate writing when greeting people you haven't seen in a long time. The meaning is also almost the same as "genki desuka" and "genki deshita ka".

However, these two greetings can only be used for people close to the speaker, such as school friends, colleagues, etc., who have not seen each other for a long time due to various reasons, such as illness, moving, etc. ., or especially old friends like school alumni, ex-workmates, ex-girlfriends who haven't seen the speaker in a long time. Instead, notice that "genki?" and "genki datta?" it is not appropriate to say to people older than the speaker, people whose status is higher than the speaker, people unfamiliar with the speaker, or people who meet him frequently.

7.Expression “¿Saikin Dou?”

How are you in Japanese: 7 things you need to know (8)

The word “最近、どう? Saikin dou?” It is said to ask the status of the caller recently in a friendly manner. "Saikin dou?" It is also informal and can only be used with people close to or who know the speaker well. On the other hand, "saikin dou" is not appropriate for people whose age/status is higher than the speaker or people who are unfamiliar with the speaker.

The adverb of time “saikin” has the meaning of “recently”, while the interrogative word “dou” indicates the question “how?”. Also, the correct translation of "saikin dou" in English is "what's up".

Last but not least, these are some explanations of the meaning and how to use the greeting expression ggenki desu ka along with some expressions related to genki desu ka. It can be concluded that genki desuka is a greeting to casually ask someone for news or status.

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I hope the above explanation is easy to understand and useful for you.


To wrap up this article, let's take a look again with the following points:

  • Genki desu ka is a casual aisatsu or greeting in Japanese.
  • Genki desu ka means "how are you?" or "are you okay?" in English.
  • Genki desu ka is used to ask about the other person's situation or news.
  • Both genki desu ka and ogenki desu ka are usually used to meet people you haven't seen in a long time. However, ogenki desu ka is more formal.


How do you count 7 in Japanese? ›

Native Japanese counting: “hitotsu” (1), “futatsu” (2), “mittsu” (3), “yottsu” (4), “itsutsu” (5), “muttsu” (6), “nanatsu” (7), “yattsu” (8), “kokonotsu” (9), and “tou” (10). Sino-Japanese reading can be found in the table below under “English pronunciation.” It has two reading options for numbers 4, 7, and 9.

What does Daijoubu desu ka mean? ›

daijoubu desu ka? = are you alright?, are you okay? ( you are asking someone)

How many Japanese words do you need to know to be fluent? ›

For starters, Japanese has three writing systems: hiragana, katakana, and kanji. Kanji includes over 50,000 different characters, however, you only need to know about 2,000 of them to be considered fluent. You also only need to know about 5,000 Japanese vocabulary words to be considered fluent as well.

What does Genki desu ka mean? ›

November 16, 2020. O genki desu ka is a phrase in Japanese that means “How are you?” If you have been learning Japanese for any amount of time – you have likely heard this phrase. In many Japanese learning textbooks – お元気ですか is one of the first phrases that you will learn.

What is the 7s Japanese word? ›

Sort – Seiri. Setting in order – Seiton. Shine – Seiso. Standardize – Seiketsu. Sustain- Shitsuke.

What does Ara Ara mean? ›

Ara ara (あら あら) is a Japanese expression that is mainly used by older females and means “My my”, “Oh dear”, or “Oh me, oh my”.

Is O Genki desu ka polite? ›

The “o” is an honorific prefix and is used for other people only. “O-genki desu ka” is the most polite expression of these three and is used to people you don't know well or people in higher positions. “genki desu ka” is more polite than ”genki?” and is used by people in higher positions to people in lower positions.

What is Nandayo? ›

"Nandayo!" = Bloody hell!

Can you become fluent in Japanese in 3 months? ›

With consistent studying and speaking, for about 30 minutes to an hour a day, you could speak at a conversational level in Japanese in about 3 months.

Can you learn Japanese in 6 months? ›

How long will it take for me to learn Japanese? I'm 15 years old and trilingual and I know a bit of hiragana and katakana. If you study and practice consistently half an hour a day, you can gain a good command in daily conversation within 6 to 9 months. To be able to read and write, it may take around 2 years.

What is the easiest Japanese language? ›

Altaic languages have three features: they have vowels and consonants, follow the subject-object-verb word order, and have glue. First of all, overall, the easiest language to learn for Japanese is Korean.

What is Omoshiroi? ›

November 17, 2020. Omoshiroi is a Japanese word that means many things. Omoshiroi can be used to say that something is “Interesting, Amusing, Fascinating, Funny, Enjoyable, Entertaining, Fun” and more!

What is Nande desu ka? ›

"nan desu ka". This phrase means: "What is it?" or "What do you want?" or "What's the matter?".

What is Watashi wa Genki desu? ›

わたしはげんき。 Watashi wa genki desu. I'm fine. 2. 大丈夫です。

What are the 7S principles? ›

What are the 7S Factors? The seven factors are: strategy; structure; systems; shared values; skills; style; and staff.

What are the 7S set in order? ›

Sort, Set in order, Shine, Standardize, Sustain or Self Discipline, Safety and Spirit. Each phase continuously improves the performance of an organization by eliminating wastages of searching, waiting, transportation, motion, work in progress inventory etc.

What does 101 mean in Japan? ›

Japanese numbers to 10,000 and beyond
145百四十五ひゃくよん じゅうご
199百九十九ひゃくきゅう じゅうきゅう
6 more rows
Nov 22, 2019

How do you remember 7x7? ›

Other Tips to Remember 7 x 7 = 49

Seven touchdowns (and extra points) add up to 49. Kevin and Devin stood in a line, 7 times 7 is 49. Seven stories down into the mine, 7 times 7 is 49. Seven tickled seven while waiting in line, 7 times 7 is 49.

How long is counting by 7s? ›

Product Details
Publisher:Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date:09/16/2014
Edition description:Reprint
4 more rows

What does yare yare mean in Japanese? ›

Yare yare (やれ やれ) is a Japanese interjection that is mainly used by men and means “Good grief”, “Give me a break”, or “Thank…

What does gambare mean? ›

Overview. Gambare! means “Do your best!” in Japanese and is often said as encouragement to those taking on a challenge.

What does Kimochi Yamete means? ›

Stop, it feels good. Yamete means stop, whereas Kimochi means feelings. Thus, Kimochi Yamete might be translated as Stop, it feels good. Most often, it is used to express overwhelm or embarrassment.

Are wa nan desu ka? ›

これはなんですか or “Kore wa nan desu ka?” means “What is this?” In japanese; a question we've always asked since even before we can speak, and one of the most important questions to ask when gaining knowledge.…

Is saying Omae rude? ›

“omae" can be condescending and quite rude. It is used for those below you in age, experience, social status, just anyone you consider to be beneath you. Can be insulting. It's generally a very rude and aggressive way to say "you" to your enemies.

Is Anata no rude? ›

あなた is neither polite nor rude. But, it could be either. あなた is, most of the time, neutral. I've seen many "warnings" towards learners that they should never use あなた.

What is baka da yo? ›

This word is a noun, which means that in order to call someone an idiot you need to include だ (da) or です (desu) right after it. バカだよ! baka da yo! (you're) an idiot!

What is Yokai desu? ›

Ryōkai is a word that means "comprehension" or "consent." It is often used as an exclamation in the following ways: by itself (ryōkai!), with the copula desu (ryōkai desu!), and with the past tense verb shimashita (ryōkai shimashita!).

What is Wakaranai? ›

Usually, "shira-nai" is translated "I don't know" and "wakara-nai" is translated "I don't understand". Both words are used when the speaker can't answer the listener clearly.

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Japanese is slightly easier to learn. But, Chinese is much more widely spoken. Both languages have their pros and cons.

How fast can you master Japanese? ›

Japanese is one of the most difficult languages for English natives to master. This is because it does not have a lot of likeness in structure to English. Approximately it will take 88 weeks, or 2200 hours of studying, to become fluent.

Is 1 hour a day enough to learn Japanese? ›

However, if you study only one hour per day and don't do anything else to learn Japanese, it can take you up to twenty years to learn the language! So if you don't want to be speaking Japanese only in 2039, keep reading to see how you can shorten this time frame.

Can I master Japanese in 2 years? ›

The average length of time to learn advanced Japanese is 2-3 years. At the intermediate level, you can understand most of what your teacher says, and you can follow along with TV programs. When it comes to using the language with other Japanese speakers, however, you still have some limitations.

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The Japanese language is considered one of the most difficult to learn by many English speakers. With three separate writing systems, an opposite sentence structure to English, and a complicated hierarchy of politeness, it's decidedly complex.

Is Japanese or Korean harder to learn? ›

Unlike other East-Asian languages, Korean isn't a tonal language. This means, that the meaning of the word doesn't change, regardless of what your accent is like. This makes learning Korean much easier than Japanese.

Is duolingo Japanese hard? ›

Although Duolingo relies on immersion and extrapolation to help you learn a language, Japanese is the exact opposite of English in sentence construction and grammar. That means it can be difficult to master if you are unable to grasp the foundational concepts.

What is Yokatta desu? ›

よかった [YOKATTA] It was good. / I'm glad. YOKATTA is the past form of an adjective, II (good). It is an expression used in a casual conversation between friends. So, the polite way of ending a sentence, DESU, is omitted.

What is Yasashii? ›

Updated on May 11, 2018. Yasashii is a Japanese word meaning gentle or kind.

What is Tsuitachi? ›

In Japanese, "the first day" of a month is TSUITACHI.

What does Wa Doko desu ka? ›

To let people know where you want to go, say your destination followed by DOKO DESU KA? (Where is...?).

What is Nani desu? ›

Let me summarize them as follows. nani desu ka – 何ですか (なにですか) : a polite expression meaning 'what? ' in Japanese.

Is wa ikura desu ka? ›

ikura means "how much" and kore wa ikura desu ka? is "How much is this?."

Is Watashi a girl? ›

In formal or polite contexts, “watashi” is gender neutral. However, when it's used in informal or casual contexts, it is usually perceived as feminine.

What is Anata wa kawaii desu? ›

1) ANATA WA KAWAII DESU(あなたは可愛いです。) □ It means "You are cute.”. (

Does Anata mean you? ›

Anata (あなた) is the Japanese word for "you". Anata may refer to: Anata, a Japanese language second-person pronoun, sometimes used by married couples to refer to their partners.

Is seven in Japanese Nana or Shichi? ›

Japanese numbers: 1 to 10
しち / ななsevenshichi / nana
きゅう/くninekyu / ku
6 more rows

Why does 7 in Japanese have two words? ›

So why does Japanese have multiple words for the same number? It's partly to do with superstition - “shi” sounds like the Japanese word for death and “ku” can mean suffering; “shichi” can also mean “place of death”.

Why is seven Shichi or Nana? ›

Being a superstitious people, the Japanese really, really hate invoking death every time they count — and the fact that it sounds almost like the word for 1, ichi, doesn't help. Nana is one pronunciation for the number 7 in the Japanese language, and is the one more commonly used.

What is 7 in Kanji Japanese? ›

七 shichi

How do you say 1 2 3 4 5 in Japanese? ›

When counting up (0 to 10)
  1. いち (ichi)
  2. に (ni)
  3. さん (san)
  4. し (shi)
  5. ご (go)
  6. ろく (roku)
  7. しち (shichi)
  8. はち (hachi)
May 28, 2022

Is 7 lucky in Japan? ›

Like many countries throughout the world, Japan considers the number seven lucky. This is not imported, but steeped in the country's religious traditions.

Why is 7 lucky Japanese? ›

Seven is a lucky number in Japan largely because of its significance in Buddhism. Additionally, seven is used with the Seven Gods of Luck (七福神). Eight is a less popular yet still lucky number. In Japan, fans are a sign of wealth and prosperity, because it spreads from narrow to broad, meant to reflect wealth.

Should I say Shi or Yon? ›

You'll notice above that for the Japanese numbers 4 and 7, there are two different words. The first ones (“yon” and “nana”) are more commonly used because the word for “death” in Japanese is “shi.” Using “yon” instead will prevent other speakers from thinking you bring up death all the time in casual conversation.

Does Z exist in Japanese? ›

The Japanese alphabet consists of 99 sounds formed with 5 vowels (a, e, i, o, and u) and 14 consonants (k, s, t, h, m, y, r, w, g, z, d, b, p, and n), as is shown in the hiragana chart.

How do you say 7 in words? ›

How do you Write 7 in Words? Using the place value chart, we can identify the value of each digit in 7 and convert the numerals to words. 7 in words is written as Seven.

Is Nana male or female? ›

Nana is a given name that has different origins in several countries across the world. Its use as a feminine or masculine name varies culturally. It is feminine in Japan, Georgia and Greece, and it is masculine in Ethiopia and India, and epicene (unisex/gender neutral) in Ghana and Indonesia.

What is 3 in japan? ›

Numbers in Japanese
NumeralSino-JapaneseNative Japanese
57 more rows

Is it ku or kyuu? ›

The number 9 is pronounced 'ku' (also 'kyu'), and 'ku' also means suffering. The characters here are 九 for “9” and 苦 for “suffering”.

What is the hardest kanji word? ›

What is the hardest kanji in Japanese? たいと(taito) is the most difficult Japanese Kanji on the record with a total of 84 strokes. It is formed by combining 3 雲 (くもkumo) with 3 龍 (りゅうRyuu). 雲 means cloud and 龍 means dragon in English.

WHAT IS A to Z in Japanese? ›

Japanese Alphabet by Cookiecat123456 on DeviantArt

Letters: A = chi B = tsu C = te D = to E = na F = ni G = nu H = ne I = no J = ha K = hi L = fu M = he N = ho O = ma P = mi Q = mu R = me S = mo T = ya U... Japanese Alphabet. Less.

Is Duolingo good to learn Japanese? ›

Duolingo is an excellent free resource for learning languages, especially if you consider yourself a beginner who is looking to immerse yourself quickly in Japanese.


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