How to Introduce Yourself in Japanese! Jikoshoukai (自己紹介)
Are you going to live in Japan? Better prepare yourself with a Japanese self-introduction – a jikoshoukai. Having this language knowledge early in your Japanese study will help you establish yourself among Japanese friends and colleagues.
In various contexts in Japan (such as school, work, parties, etc.) you will need to introduce yourself. What should you say? How do condense everything about yourself into just one or two minutes?
Do not be afraid, we will introduce step by step the way to give a successful Japanese jikoshoukai!
Introducing Yourself (Jikoshoukai) in Japanese
- How to Start a Self-Introduction Session
- Where are you from?
- Why do you study Japanese?
- Why are you in Japan?
- Interests and Hobbies
- The Final Step: Yoroshiku!
Starting a Self-Introduction Session in Japanese
Begin with a greeting and state your name. Whether you prepare to introduce yourself to a curious crowd of classmates or to one person, make sure to say hello first! Depending on the time of the day, you may say ohayou gozaimasu, konnichiwa, konbanwa. Do you know the difference? Or you can simply state “hajimemashite” – “nice to meet you.”
You can politely say your name with the to-be verb “desu”, or the verb “to say” (言います). In a more formal context, such as an interview, you should use a more formal structure. Note that Japanese people are used to giving their family name first and their given name second.
Watashi nonamae ha bondo jieemuzu desu.
My name is James bond.
Bondo, jieemuzu desu.
I am James Bond.
Bondo, jieemuzu to iimasu.
My name is James Bond.
Bondo, jieemuzu to moushimasu.
I am James Bond.
Where are you from?
Being a foreigner in Japan is always stimulating the imagination of Japanese. Whether you are from Spain, Germany or Australia, they will more likely give some exotic origins and be surprised to hear the truth. So the next step of your jikoshoukai is to introduce your country and eventually your city! Tips: if you are American and wish to precise your state, you will have to use shuu (州, しゅう).
Igirisu (no rondon) kara kimashita.
I came from London, England.
Amerika no karifuorunia shuu kara kimashita.
I came from California, in America.
You can also tell where you are from with the word for origins (出身, しゅっしん) or an even easier way would be to give your nationality by adding jin (人, じん) after a country’s name.
Madoriddo shusshin desu.
I am from Madrid.
Pari shusshin desu.
I am from Paris.
Doetsu jin desu.
I am German.
Indoneshia jin desu.
I am Indonesian.
Why do you study Japanese?
Obviously, this is the hot point of your introduction. Not only will Japanese be flattered, but they will be eager to know why you are studying their language. If you are confident enough, you can speak about for how long you have studied Japanese, how, where etc. .
Nihon no bunka ni kyoumi ga aru kara, nihongo wo benkyou shite imasu.
I am interested in the Japanese culture, that is why I study Japanese.
Why are you in Japan?
You could have closed earlier. But giving more details is the recipe for a good jikoshoukai, after which you will proudly answer the crowd’s questions. Many reasons might have led you to come to live in Kawagoe or in Sapporo. Whether you are in Japan for a short stay out of pure curiosity or for a longer commitment, you should say…
Nihongo wo benkyou suru tame ni nihon ni kimashita.
I came to Japan to study Japanese.
Whether you are a student or working, the “occupation” has an important place in Japanese culture. The Japanese you are introducing yourself to will not be surprised to hear you stating what you are doing. Students can say that they are studying at University or in a school or state that they are (university or not) students.
Daigaku /gakkou de benkyou shite imasu.
(dai) gakusei desu.
If you are working, the following examples should help you prepare your introduction:
Watashi no shigoto ha sensei desu.
I work as a teacher.
Eigo no sensei desu.
I am an English teacher.
Supeingo no sensei wo shite imasu.
I work as a Spanish teacher.
Depending on your level, you can always try to give a more rich jikoshoukai explaining in more details what you are studying or exactly doing at your workplace.
Interests and Hobbies
This part would be smart in a friendly context. If you are meeting new people, it is always enjoyable to share your passions in Japanese. You can speak about your hobbies and what you like in various ways but the two easiest ones are the expression to like (好き, suki) and the word hobby (趣味, shumi).
Ryouri suki desu.
I like cooking.
Shumi ha supottsu desu.
My hobby is sport.
Shumi ha manga wo yomu koto desu.
My hobby is to read manga.
The Final Step: Yoroshiku!
We have spoken before of the wonders of the Japanese yoroshiku onegaishimasu an expression difficult to translate in other languages. A jikoushokai usually ends with this phrase, meaning in such context, that you look forward to the relationship with your new friends.
Nice to meet you!
Kongo mo douzo yoroshiku onegai itashimasu
I look forward to our relationship from now on.
Douzo yoroshiku onegai shimasu.
I look forward to our relationship.
Proper etiquette is very important for Japanese culture. When introducing yourself, make sure that your manner is professional and appropriate.
Japanese people usually do not shake hands in professional settings, so usually it is best to just bow instead. People usually bow once at the beginning and once at the end of their jikoshoukai.
For casual interactions, handshakes are sometimes OK. Make sure to “read the air” of the situation to see if it it appropriate.
In many professional settings, it is best to keep your hands at your sides while you are talking. And avoid crossing your arms if possible!
Now You Can Introduce Yourself in Japanese!
Now, you are ready for your very first jikoshoukai! Always remember that a self-introduction with a group of friends or with your new boss will be different. You can be casual with people of your age, but should always be formal in a business environment. Be even more prepared to give a strong and polite self-introduction for a job interview!
Follow us on Twitter @cotoacademy to get Japanese tips every day!