Ultimate Guide to Japanese Business Emails!
Have you enjoyed the previous guides? Here’s another guide on how to write a Japanese business email!
It is important to know how to write Japanese business emails if you are considering to work in a Japanese company.
Through writing a business email, you are able to establish a relationship and business communication with your Japanese clients. This is an important tool to have in your toolkit.
(Please continue reading this article – but for those who are interested in taking an online course to improve their Japanese business writing – we are offering it here.)
How to Write Business Emails in Japanese
Japanese business emails have a ceremonial element to them and because of that there is more of a templated formal structure than the freeform letters we are used to in a western context.
The first thing to remember when it comes to writing a Japanese business email is the use of the word「様」. This is an important and polite suffix/honorific that is standard procedure for Japanese business emails. (You can learn more about its uses in our post about Japanese Honorifics)
Other than that, always remember to express gratitude when you start your email.
You can use phrases such as「お世話になっております」which means “We become indebted to you” literally (in practice this is a formal greeting saying – thank you for your continued support or something close to it) or「お世話になります」which meants”thank you for your help“. After you open your email, you would need to introduce yourself. Introduce yourself by stating your full name and your current company you are working for with your current position.
If this is your first time meeting the person and you are doing a followup with the person, you may use this phrase「ABC株式会社のアダムと申します」which meant “this is Adam from ABC Corporation“. If this is not your first time meeting the person, you should use this phrase instead「ABC株式会社のアダムでございます」which also meant “this Adam from ABC Corporation“. Depending on the type of relationship of business you are writing to, there are 2 types of language forms.
Using Keigo in Japanese Business Emails
The first form is 尊敬語 (Sonkeigo) which is the honorific language. This form conveys courtesy and respect for the person you are writing to. This form can be used not only to your listeners but also to a third person as well. The only differences are from the polite form. Keep in mind that this form is usually too formal and instead, the humble form is used more often.
As for the second form, it would be 謙譲語 (kenjougo) which means humble form. This form is used when you want to show your respect to the person you writing to of your actions by humbling yourself.
This step is very important as you would need to show your respect to the recipient. Thus, you would need to be very careful about which language forms to use.
The email consist of 7 parts.
- Receiver: 宛名・あてな・Atena
- Greetings: 挨拶・あいさつ・Aisatsu
- Addressing yourself: 名乗り・なのり・Nanori
- Main body context: 要旨・ようし・Youshi
- Details: 詳細・しょうさい・Shousai
- Closing remarks: 結びの言葉・むすびのことば・Musubinokotoba
- Name and Signature: 署名・しょめい・Shomui
If the two parties already have a close relationship, they can both leave some parts out. However, a word of caution that this would make the email less formal and more casual.
Here is some vocabulary for you to help you in writing your own Japanese business email!
To whom it may concern: ご担当者様・ごたんとうしゃさま・Gotantoushasama
Best Wishes: 敬具・けいぐ・Keigu
This is a very formal way of saying “How are you doing?”: お元気でいらっしゃいますか。
This is a formal way of saying “How are you doing?”: お元気ですか？
Thank you for your letter: ご連絡ありがとうございました。
Long-time no talk. This is a very casual way of saying unless you know the person well, please do not use this phrase when sending a business email: お久しぶりです。
Thank you for the quick reply: 早速のお返事ありがとうございました。
Sorry for the late reply: お返事が遅れて、失礼いたしました。
Sorry for the sudden email: 突然のメール､失礼いたします。
Sorry to interrupt while you are busy, but…: お忙しいところ大変申し訳ございませんが、~
Please give my regards to ~: ～によろしくお伝えください。
I look forward to hearing from you: お返事お待ちしております。
Best regards, or please take care of…: どうぞよろしくお願いいたします。
If you have any questions or confusion, please feel free to ask me: ご質問､ご不明な点がございましたらお気軽にお問い合わせください。
For further information please consult our website at…: 詳細については・・・・のウェブサイトをご参照ください。
As mentioned just now, here are the tips for you to help in your Japanese business emails!
- Japanese business emails are usually more structured as compared to those from western countries.
- It is important to leave a line between each new topic.
- When you are sending the same email to multiple people in the company, please make sure that you rank the names in accordance to their rank in the company
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