Original blog post: https://ling-app.com/ja/introduce-yourself-in-japanese/
Whether you are a student, tourist, or a new employee, learning how to introduce yourself in Japanese properly can significantly affect how the locals will treat you. In the Japanese culture, self-introductions are called 自己 紹介 (じこしょうかい) or Jikoushoukai, and they are deemed as an essential step in order to establish yourself among the locals. The word jiko refers to the English word “self,” while shoukai can directly be translated to “introduction.” In this post, we will walk you through how you can prepare for this (may it be for formal or casual encounters) so that you can connect better with the locals when the time comes.
Planning to go on a trip or to work in Tokyo? Whenever we meet someone for the first time, most of us merely do say hello and follow it up with the name right away. However, that is not the case for Japanese people as they view introductions as a form of respect, and it reflects your enthusiasm in getting to know or working side-by-side with the locals. Of course, you as a foreigner are not expected to be fluent in Japanese but having some knowledge on how eve the basic greetings work can earn you an extra brownie point.
Before we go on a deep dive on the basic structure that you can use, allow us to give you a few tips that you must know while introducing the Japanese people.
- To say your name in Japanese, do remember that the family name comes first, followed by the second name. This means that if your name is Kevin Smith, your introduction should start with Smith, followed by Kevin.
- It is considered polite or 丁寧 (teinei) whenever you introduce yourself if you discuss one or two of your major strengths. Never go beyond that number, as the locals may view it as a form of arrogance. Remember: Japanese people are always humble, and they even follow up their achievements with some of their flaws.
- Whenever a person asks you about your occupation or 職業 (shokugyoo), you do not have to follow the Western standard where you discuss your role, company, duties, etc. In Japan, the only response they are looking for is simple, like “I work at an office or I work for + Company Name.”
- Instead of the traditional handshake when you are done with your introductions, the Japanese standard that you have to remember is that they bow instead. Bowing or お辞儀 (ojigi ) is a form of respect for the Japanese people. According to the locals, the angles by which you bow will express the level of respect you have for the other person. As a rule of thumb, always bow at least 15 degrees and remember to put your hands in front of you (left hand on top of right hand).
- If you intend to provide your business card or 名刺 (meishi) after introducing yourself, always give out with two hands and make sure that you are not covering any words. If you are in a business group, always give your card to the one with the highest authority first.
Now that you already have an idea of the basic etiquette when introducing yourself in Japanese let’s now discuss the 5 basic lines that can help your crush that introduction like a pro.
Introduce Yourself In Japanese
Are you looking for a surefire way to introduce yourself to your Japanese colleagues? Aside from mastering the basic greetings in Japanese, you are expected to go beyond and completely describe who you are to the people you meet. Of course, it doesn’t always have to follow all these lines, but our list here is perfect to use if you want to sound polite for a formal and casual introduction.
If you have a friend or colleague who will introduce you to other Japanese people, it would be wise to always start your introduction with a simple greeting such as those listed on the table below.
Stating Your Name — なまえ
Once you have stated your basic greetings, you can now move on and start to say your name in any of the ways below.
Describing Your Nationality — こくせき
Aside from stating your name, it is totally normal if people will ask where you are from or your nationality. To properly answer this, you can use any of the following expressions below.
Sharing Information About Your Occupation — しょくぎょう
Traditionally, the Japanese have a set of words to describe every job but with today’s modern occupations, it is allowed to use Japanified terms. Japanified (also known as wasei-eigo) refers to the mixture of English terms in a sentence.
Finishing Your Self Introduction
While you can always just end with thank you in the Japanese language, you can also make use of the following classic lines below.
As we reach this part of the article, we hope that you were able to learn all the basic self-introduction lines that you can use at school, work, online, or for casual interactions. Suppose you enjoyed this post and would like to learn more about the Japanese language and culture. In that case, we highly recommend that you read out other related posts like how to greet using the Japanese language, the basic sentence structure, and how to say I love you; like a real native!
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