4 Best Ways To Say Happy Birthday In Japanese

September 28, 2021

Interested in impressing a birthday celebrant? Instead of plainly greeting in English, you can simply say お 誕生 日 おめでとう ご ざ い ます (pronounced as o tanjoubi omedetou) as this is the most casual way of wishing someone a happy birthday in Japanese. If you are the one who is being greeted by your friends with such a phrase, it would be wise to simply respond with a hearty 誕生日のお祝いありがとう ご ざ い ます (pronounced as tanjoubi no oiwai arigatōgozaimasu) to say thank you. If you are interested to learn more about how you can send a birthday wish in different styles, you've come to the right place!

No matter where you are in the world, it is impossible not to get invited to any birthday celebration may it be for your close friends, family member, or colleague. For many of us, this wonderful day is not just about the symbolism of aging but also a reminder to embrace someone's life and the challenges they overcame. Therefore, sending celebratory phrases makes sense!

So, if you are truly interested in making your close Japanese friend happy and feel special, it would be wise to learn some birthday messages in the Japanese language. Unlike western cultures, though, the Japanese people are quite particular with how they greet someone for their birthdays. For instance, they make sure that their birthday wishes are in line with how they view their relationship with the individual, seniority level, and level of formality.

As most of us know, the Japanese language makes use of the honorific prefix or 敬語 (Keigo) in order to prevent miscommunication or offending someone. For this reason, even their birthday greeting may differ depending on the person they are speaking with. In order to get to know more about why birthday wishing is important in the Japanese culture, continue reading below.


Significance Of A Birthday Greeting In The Japanese Culture

Significance Of A Birthday Greeting In The Japanese Culture

In general, the Japanese people are not as expressive as other nationalities, and several of their local phrases are reserved only for special occasions. However, one special occasion that a lot of young people are excited about is celebrating their birthday party since this is one of the specific times where they get warm greetings from their family, friends, and their special person. For this reason, they will truly appreciate hearing a great birthday wish from a close friend like you!

In addition to saying a happy birthday in Japanese, you might also want to learn a few Japanese traditions, which can make your greetings even more special.

  • When giving gifts, you are free to sign the card using fun colors, especially if it is for a Japanese friend you are truly close with. However, it is a standard practice to use blue or black ink when you are gifting it to a superior, boss, or colleague you are not really close with.
  • Just like in Western culture, birthday celebrations usually include a birthday cake and some drinks. However, please note that Japanese people who are at the age of 20 are only those who can legally drink alcohol.
  • For the locals, the age of 16 is also important in the sense that it signifies the completion of the five cycles of the Chinese Zodiac.
  • When it comes to Japanese birthday gifts' aesthetics, please remember that the locals view black wrapping negatively as it is best known as the color of death. As a rule of thumb, always go after for fun, lively colors.
  • When choosing a gift, stay away from giving 4 or 9 pieces of something as it is bad luck in Japan.

Now that we have an idea of how to celebrate Japanese birthdays let's now draw our attention to the basic greetings.


4 Ways To Wish A Happy Birthday In Japanese

4 Ways To Wish A Happy Birthday In Japanese

Aside from mastering the basic Japanese greetings, learning how to greet someone with a wonderful birthday is a great way to instantly connect with the locals. Who knows, you might end up having a best friend just by simply expressing yourself in their language. Take note of these 4 basic phrases and what they mean.

EnglishJapanesePronunciation GuideContext
Happy birthdayおたんじょうび おめでとう / お 誕生 日 おめでとうOtanjoubi omedetouCasual
Happy birthdayおたんじょうび おめでとう ございますOtanjoubi omedetou gozaimasuFormal
Happy birthdayはっぴーばーすでーHappi Baasudee / Happy bazdeCasual
Happy (age) birthdayーさい の たんじょび おめでとう[Number]-sai no tanjoubi omedetouCasual


Other Birthday Wishes

Now that we know what each phrase means, we'd also love to help you give additional birthday wishes.

EnglishJapanesePronunciation Guide
Have a great [birth] day!すてきなたんじょうびを過ごしてくださいSutekina tanjō biwo sugoshite kudasai
May your wishes come true!おたんじょうびの願いがかないますように!O tanjō bino negai ga kanaimasu yō ni!
Have a nice day!素晴らしい一日をSubarashī tsuitachi o
I wish you a wonderful year ahead!素晴らしい 一年 に なります よう にSubarashī ichinen ni narimasu yō ni
May all your wishes come true!あなた の 願いが全て叶いますようにAnata no negai ga subete kanaimasu yō ni
Please continue to be happyこれ から も どうぞ おげんき で いて くださいKore kara mo dōzo o genkide ite kudasai
May your future be filled with joyこれ から の じんせい が しあわせ で あふれます よう にKore kara no jin sei ga shiawasede afuremasu yō ni
Stay healthy健康を維持するKenkō o iji suru


Words Related To A Japanese Birthday Party

Words Related To A Japanese Birthday Party

Now that we have learned all the phrases used in Japan related to birthdays, it is only fitting that we also give you a few Japanese words which you might encounter on traditional Japanese birthdays or when speaking about this topic.

EnglishJapanesePronunciation Guide


Final Thoughts

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As we reach this part of the post, we hope that you were able to learn the best ways to wish someone a happy birthday in the Japanese language. If you enjoyed this post and would love to learn more, we highly recommend that you check out the Ling App by Simya Solutions.

The Ling App is a free language learning platform that comes complete with Japanese lessons, games, and learning content that will help you improve your language skills in an instant. By just using the app for 10 minutes a day, you'll get to understand the intricate grammar details, writing system, and word choice which are all critical in expressing a meaningful sentence.

What sets this gamified app from the rest is that all the lessons from the inside are co-authored by real native speakers and language professionals which means that you'll get the best resource right on your mobile device for free. Download it today to start progressing on the right way in Japanese.

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