How are you in Japanese

How do you ask How are you? in Japanese? And how do you reply? This free Japanese lesson is essential for your Japanese language survival kit, whether you’re traveling to Japan or getting to know Japanese people closer to home.

Pronouncing How are you? in Japanese

For someone you just met or more senior people, you would say: 

おげんき です か?

お元気ですか?

O genki desuka?

How are you? (formal)

For friends, you would greet them with a simple "genki" or "saikin dō?":

げんき?

元気?

Genki?

How are you? (informal)

さいきん どう?

最近どう?

Saikin dō?

How are things going lately? (informal)

If you're asked "how are you" in Japanese, how would you answer? Well, it depends on how you feel! Here are some possible answers:

はい、げんき です。 ありがとう ございます

はい、元気です。ありがとうございます

Hai, genki desu. Arigatō gozaimasu

Well, thanks.

おかげさま で げんき です

おかげさまで元気です

Okage sama de genki desu.

I am well, thanks to you.

とても げんき です

とても元気です

Totemo genkidesu.

Very well.

かわりないです

変わりないです

Kawarinai desu.

As always.

ちょっと つかれて います

ちょっと疲れています

Chotto tsukarete imasu.

A little tired.

ぐあい が わるい です

具合が悪いです

Guai ga warui desu.

I’m sick.

まあまあ

Mā mā.

So-so.

なんとか

Nantoka.

Barely coping.

あんまり

Anmari.

Not so good.

A common follow-up question is, “And you?”, “Anata wa?” or address the person by name “[name] –san wa?”  Or for a more informal way, “name -kun/-chan wa?”

あなた は?

貴方は?

Anata wa?

And you? (formal)

よしこ は?

-

Yoshiko wa?

And (you), Yoshiko?

If someone tells you that he or she is not feeling well you could say the following…

おだいじ に

お大事に

Odaiji ni.

I hope you feel better.

たいへん です ね

大変ですね

Taihen desu ne.

That’s tough.

おき の どく に

お気の毒に

Okinodoku ni.

I am sorry (you are not well).

If someone is feeling great you might want to say the following…

それ は よかった です

それは良かったです

Sore wa yokatta desu.

Nice to hear.

Feeling confident with these basic Japanese words and phrases will make such a positive difference to your experiences with Japanese people. Remember, a stranger is just a friend you haven’t met yet!

Find out all about asking Japanese questions in this series of lessons. Make sure you listen to the audio and practice your Japanese pronunciation. And do the Japanese tests at the end of each lesson to reinforce your knowledge of Japanese questions!

Yoku dekimashita!

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Sayaka Matsuura
Rocket Japanese


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