When someone says “Thank you” to you, you say “You’re welcome” as a response, but how should you say it in Japanese?
Here I introduce the Japanese phrase that means “You’re welcome” and alternative ways of replying to “Thank you”.
How do you say “you are welcome” in Japanese?
In Japanese, “you are welcome” is “どういたしまして dooitashimashite” which sounds very polite.
The phrase “どういたしまして” suggests “How could you say that? I didn’t do anything”. In response to the other person’s gratitude, it indicates a sense of humility towards the other person, “don’t worry about it”, because “I didn’t do anything serious”.
However, in actual Japanese conversation,” you will not often hear “どういたしまして”. Why is that?
I think it’s because it sounds way too polite people don’t say it in casual conversations, but there is another reason. It’s because “どういたしまして” may give an impression to the other person as being superior and bossy. That’s why I believe that it’s better not to use it with your supervisor or someone to that you should show your respect. It also might sound like you are rejecting peoples’ gratitude, depending on the context.
When can you use “どういたしまして dooitashimashite”？
So you may think there are no situations in which “どういたしまして dooitashimashite” can be used?
For example, when someone such as your colleague thanks you, you can use it to show your humility, meaning “It’s not a big deal”.
For example, when you give some advice to improve someone’s English to a Japanese person, you may have a conversation like this.
Eigo wo oshiete kurete arigatoo.
Thank you for teaching me English.
Dooitashimashite. Oyaku ni tatete yokatta desu. Mata itsudemo doozo.
You’re welcome. I’m glad I could be of help. Please come back anytime.
How to respond to “Thank you” in Japanese?
I said that “どういたしまして dooitashimashite” is not often used in everyday conversation amongst Japanese people.
Now, let me introduce some other phrases that can be used more commonly in return when someone says “ありがとう Arigato (thank you)”.
“なんでもありません nandemo arimasen” means “It’s nothing.” When you use this phrase, you can deliver the message “It’s not a big deal.”
“大丈夫です daijoobu desu” means “It’s OK” or “no problem”.
“気にしないで ki ni shinaide” suggests “Don’t worry about it”. When you want to say it politely, you can add “ください kudasai” at the end.
“こちらこそありがとう kochirakoso arigatoo” can be translated into “Thank you too.” You can say it when you want to show that you are the one who is grateful to the other person.
“とんでもありません tondemo arimasen” means “Not at all.” It’s almost the same with なんでもありません nandemo arimasen”.
“お手伝いできてよかったです otetsudai dekite yokatta desu” means “I am glad to be able to help you.” This phrase can be used when someone says “Thank you” to you after you have helped them.
“恐縮です kyooshuku desu” is a very polite way to say “It’s nothing” or “Not at all.” You can use it in formal situations or in letters.