We're sure a lot of you have seen scenes in Japanese films and dramas where the actors say the term "Arigato" as a way of thanks, or maybe as a show of their feelings alongside a smile. Let's take a look into the real meaning of "Arigato", its origin, way of writing, and variations. Make sure to read until the end!
The Meaning of Arigato
The word "Arigato" actually originates from Buddhism and comes from Buddha himself. It is said that the word was created as a means of Buddha thanking the fact that humans were able to be born.
The term "Arigatai" was born from the 2 words "Aru" and "Muzukashii". It includes the meaning of obtaining certain items being difficult, which evolved into the term "Arigato", eventually leading to the word being used to express thanks.
How to Write "Arigato"
While the kanji is "有難う", nowadays most people just write the hiragana "ありがとう".
There are 2 ways to use Arigato, the first is the short version, and the second is the long version. The short version is simply "Arigato", while the longer version is "Arigatogozaimasu".
1. Using the Short Version
The short version "Arigato" is typically used among friends, family, and other such casual relationships.
2. Using the Long Version
ありがとうございます/ Arigatou Gozaimasu
- Words that end in "masu" or "desu" are more formal than normal, and this is no different from "Arigato". This is not only used in everyday conversation but when talking to your boss or clients through work. The word itself is still used to express gratitude.
You can also use this form when you want to express a higher level of gratitude to somebody. For example, if you visit a seminar in Japan, you may hear the speaker use this word to thank people for coming to Japan. While he is thanking you for coming to Japan, it also expresses gratitude for coming to the seminar itself and taking time out of your busy day to listen.
ありがとうございました/ Arigatou Gozaimashita
- While this word has the same meaning as the previous, it is used in past tense instead of present tense.
- It has the meaning of giving gratitude for all of the things that have happened up until this point, however, it also has the meaning of cutting ties from the person in question, so if you're planning to continue working alongside / being with this person, use "Arigatogozaimasu" instead.
There are a few ways to express gratitude using honorifics:
1. 誠にありがとうございます/ Makoto ni arigatou gozaimasu
If you use the term "Makoto ni" at the start of a sentence, the sentence will become even more formal. The meaning itself is similar to "Honto ni" or "Sugoku". It's used a lot in business emails.
2. どうもありがとうございます/ Doumo arigatou gozaimasu
This one is used quite often in everyday conversation.
3. 御礼申し上げます/ Orei mōshi agemasu
This is another sentence used when expressing feelings of gratitude. "Orei" is the "thanks" part of the sentence and "mōshi agemasu" means "to say".
4. 感謝いたします/ Kansha itashimasu
This is a more straightforward way of showing your thanks. "Itasu" is a slightly more modest way of saying something, and is often used for business emails and replies to your boss. Also, you can use expressions such as "Kasanete kansha itashimasu" when thanking someone multiple times or even "Aratamete kansha itashimasu".
"Osoreirimasu" is not only used when paying respect to others but also when expressing gratitude. While you can say just this, you can also add "Gohairyoitadaki osoreirimasu" to create an even more respectful phrase. This not only thanks the person in question, but also expresses modesty as well, it is used often when talking with your boss.
Ways of Saying「ありがとう」(Arigato) in Different Prefectures
There are many ways of saying "Arigato" depending on where you are around Japan, let's take a look at some of the dialects.
|Aomori ||ありがとうごす||Arigatou gosu|
|Iwate ||ありがとうがんす||Arigatou gansu|
|Yamagata||もっけ, ありがとうさん||Mokke, Arigatou san|
|Fukushima||たいへん, してもらって||Taihen, Shite moratte|
|Nagano ||ありがとうござんす||Arigatou gozansu|
|Aichi||ありがとうさん, おおきに ||Arigatou san, Ooki ni|
|Gifu ||きのどく、うたてー||Ki no doku, Utate-|
|Niigata ||ごちそうさまです||Gochisou sama desu|
|Toyama||ごちそうさま、きのどく||Gochisou sama, Ki no doku|
|Ishikawa||きのどく、ようした||Ki no doku, Youshita|
|Fukui||おおきに、きのどく||Ookini, Ki no doku|
|Osaka||おおきに|| Ooki ni|
|Hyogo ||おおきに、ありがとうおます||Ooki ni , Arigatou omasu|
|Tottori ||だんだん、ようこそ|| Dan dan, Youkoso|
|Tokushima & Kochi||たまるか||Tamaru ka|
|Ehime & Shimane||だんだん||Dan dan|
|Saga ||おおきに||Ooki ni|
|Miyazaki||おおきに、だんだん、かたじけない||Ooki ni, Dan dan, Katajikenai|
|Kumamoto||だんだん、ちょうじょう||Dan dan, Choujou|
Other ways to express your feelings without using "Arigato"
There are some other ways to express your feelings of thanks such as "Doumo" or "Sumimasen". While it may sound like an apology, it's actually a way of thanking someone.
Here are some other ways to thank people without using "Arigato" in Japanese.
- とても嬉しく思います/ Totemo ureshiku omoimasu
- 心より感謝いたします/ Kokoro yori kansha itashimasu
- 感激いたしました/ Kangeki itashimashita
- 感謝の言葉もございません/ Kansha no kotoba mo gozaimasen
- 身に余るお言葉です/ Miniamaru o kotoba desu
Replies to "Arigato"
Within everyday life, when you thank someone you'll typically get a reply such as "ie, douitashimashite", however, there are some times when this phrase doesn't match the situation it's being used in.
Here are some other examples which you can use in the specific situations.
Work, Boss, Humble Languages, Meeting People for the First Time
- 「どういたしまして」/Dou itashimashite
- 「とんでもございません。お役に立てればうれしいです」/Tondemo gozaimasen, o yaku ni tateba ureshii desu
- 「とんでもないです」/ Tondemo nai desu
- 「こちらこそ、お役にたてて、うれしいです」/ Kochira koso, oyakuni tatete, ureshiidesu
- 「こちらこそありがとうございます」/ Kochira koso, arigatou gozaimasu
- 「お役に立てて嬉しいです」/ O yaku ni tatete, ureshii desu
- 「いえ、いえ・・」/ Ie, ie
- 「いえ、どういたしまして」/ Ie, Douitashimashite
Friend / Rivals
- 「また何かあったら言ってね」/ Mata nani ka attara itte ne
- 「また何かあったら遠慮なく聞いてね」/ Mata nani ka attara enryonaku kiite ne
- 「気にしないでいいよ」/ Ki ni shinaide ii yo
- 「頑張れよ！」/ Gambare yo!
- 「また相談乗るよ！」/ Mata Soudan noru yo
- 「こんどおごれよ！」/ Kondo ogore yo!
- 「その言葉忘れんなっ」/ Sono kotoba wasurenna!
- 「そんなことは知らん」/ Sonna koto wa shiran!