How to Introduce Yourself in Japanese! Jikoshoukai (自己紹介)

Posted by on April 8, 2016 – Japanese Study
How to Introduce myself in Japanese

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

自己紹介
(Jikoshoukai)
Introducing Oneself

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.

Casual:
私の名前はボンド・ジェームズです。
Watashi nonamae ha bondo jieemuzu desu.
My name is James bond.

Polite:
ボンド・ジェームズです。
Bondo, jieemuzu desu.
I am James Bond.

Polite:
ボンド・ジェームズと言います。
Bondo, jieemuzu to iimasu.
My name is James Bond.

Formal:
ボンド・ジェームズと申します。
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).

イギリス(のロンドン)から来ました。
Igirisu (no rondon) kara kimashita.
I came from London, England.

アメリカのカリフォルニア州から来ました。
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.

マドリッド出身です。
Madoriddo shusshin desu.
I am from Madrid.

パリ出身です。
Pari shusshin desu.
I am from Paris.

ドイツ人です。
Doetsu jin desu.
I am German.

インドネシア人です。
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. .

日本の文化に興味があるから、日本語を勉強しています。
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…

日本語を勉強するために日本に来ました。
Nihongo wo benkyou suru tame ni nihon ni kimashita.
I came to Japan to study Japanese.

Occupation

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.

大学/学校で勉強しています。
Daigaku /gakkou de benkyou shite imasu.

(大)学生です。
(dai) gakusei desu.

If you are working, the following examples should help you prepare your introduction:

私の仕事は先生です。
Watashi no shigoto ha sensei desu.
I work as a teacher.

英語の先生です。
Eigo no sensei desu.
I am an English teacher.

スペイン語の先生をしています。
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).

料理好きです。
Ryouri suki desu.
I like cooking.

趣味はスポーツです。
Shumi ha supottsu desu.
My hobby is sport.

趣味は漫画を読むことです。
Shumi ha manga wo yomu koto desu.
My hobby is to read manga.

The Final Step: Yoroshiku!

Jikoshoukai (自己紹介): How to Present/Introduce yourself in Japanese! 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.

Casual:
よろしく!
Yoroshiku!
Nice to meet you!

Formal:
今後もどうぞよろしくお願い致します。
Kongo mo douzo yoroshiku onegai itashimasu
I look forward to our relationship from now on.

Polite:
どうぞよろしくお願いします。
Douzo yoroshiku onegai shimasu.
I look forward to our relationship.

Etiquette

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!

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Credits (CC BY 4.0) : Kevin Dooley Title: Tokyo Tower POV source: Flickr

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