Japanese Essentials: How to Introduce Yourself

Learn how to easily and quickly introduce yourself in Japanese in this handy article.

Posted by on July 7, 2017 – Japanese Study

When in Japan, don’t be shy and instead try to talk with the Japanese people by introducing yourself in Japanese! Even if you’re brand new to the language, knowing a few phrases to introduce yourself in Japanese will help smooth the first out your interaction and your efforts will be praised.

Follow the following steps and rock your self-introduction!

One of the first word you will learn in Japanese is はじめまして。The literal meaning is “first time” but it translates to “nice to meet you”. You can follow this by introducing your name like in the sample sentence.

Sample sentence:

はじめまして、わたしは____です。(I am (name).)

私 is the polite first-pronoun “I” and は, read as “wa” marks the topic of the sentence. It indicates to which subject you’re referring to. です is a copula (a linking verb) which translate essentially into the English “to be” or “it is”.

However, the copula です may not always be translatable and is used after nouns and adjectives in declarative sentences.

In Japanese language, topics following は or first-person pronouns are omitted most of the time if they can be inferred from the context. If you’re a beginner, it’s best understand the sentence structure at first and to use them properly.

With this basic sentence, you can tell someone a lot about yourself:

Your name:
私はジョンです。(I’m John.)

Your nationality:
私はアメリカ人です。(I’m American.)

Your job or status:
私は学生がくせいです。(I’m a student.)

私はエンジニアです。(I’m an engineer.)

When meeting people for the first time, Japanese people will always end their self-introduction with the phrase どうぞよろしく or よろしくおねがいします.

This expression isn’t easy to translate directly into English but in this context, it closes your introduction with a deeper and more thankful “nice to meet you”.

どうぞよろしく。(casual)
どうぞよろしくお願いします。(polite)

Now it’s your turn, practise saying this sentence.

  1. 初めまして。
  2. 私は_______です。
  3. どうぞよろしく!

Vocabulary Learned

  • 初めまして: It’s nice to meet you (for the first time)
  • 私: I
  • です:to be
  • どうぞよろしく: Nice to meet you!
  • フランス人: French
  • インド人: Indian
  • オーストラリア人: Australian
  • ドイツ人: German
  • ロシア人: Russian
  • イタリア人: Italian
  • 教師きょうし: teacher
  • 会社員かいしゃ いん: employee
  • 主婦しゅふ: housewife
  • デザイナー: designer

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