Happy birthday in Japanese: how to say it and how to celebrate it! (2023)

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Have you ever wondered what to do when celebrating your birthday in Japan? Or how the Japanese celebrate birthdays? Or most importantly –How do you say "Happy Birthday" in Japanese?We are protecting you!

Until the 1950s, it was not customary to celebrate birthdays in Japan. Indeed, they considered each New Year as a common birthday for everyone!

In modern times, birthdays are celebrated because the Japanese have adopted some Western customs and holidays. Since there are no early birthday customs in Japan, the birthday song is sung in English.

Here are some examples of how to say "Happy Birthday" in Japanese, plus some fun facts about Japanese birthdays!

table of contents

  1. how to say happy birthday in japanese
    • Otanjoubi omedetou gozaimasu
    • happy basuudee
    • Suteki na ichinichi wo
    • Suteki na otanjoubi wo sugoshite kudasai
    • Subarashii ichinen ni narimasu du ni
    • Kore kara mo douzo ogenki de ite kudasai
  2. How do Japanese people celebrate birthdays?
  3. Giving on Japanese birthdays
  4. Special birthdays in Japan
    • Shichi-go-san (3, 5 e 7 anos)
    • Seijinshiki (20 anos)
    • Parties for seniors (over 60)

how to say happy birthday in japanese

There are many ways to wish your friends, family, and even co-workers a happy birthday in Japanese! You can use them in conversation or even as a message on a birthday card.

here are somejapanese birthday wishesto try.

(Video) Learn How to Say Happy Birthday In Japanese 🎉 Birthday Song

Otanjoubi omedetou gozaimasu

Happy birthday

Happy birthday

happy birthday (polite)

The word for "birthday" in Japanese istanjoubi(birthday / happy birthday).Omedetou(Congratulations) means "congratulations" or "best wishes".

You may notice that there is a slight difference in howtanjoubiused here: In Japanese grammar there is a concept called "polite speech" orkeigo (敬語 / けいご). One way to make a native Japanese noun polite is to add an "o" (お) before it, just like ino-tanjoubi(Birthday / Happy Birthday).

The "o" is called an "honorary prefix" and you can learn more about it.Here.

gozaimasu(ございます) is basically a very polite version of the verb "to be". It's used here to make your greeting even more respectful!

Using the greeting this way is appropriate for most people, but for those closest to you, you can use one of the following less formal variations:

  • otanjoubi omedetou(Happy Birthday / Happy Birthday) – polite (but a little less formal than the full version,otanjoubi omedetou gozaimasu)
  • Tanjoubi omedetou(Happy Birthday / Happy Birthday) - casual to wear with friends

happy basuudee

Happy birthday

congratulations (informal)

This greeting is borrowed from English, which is why it is called Japanese writing.Katakana!happy basuudeePronounced with a Japanese accent, it's an extremely informal way to greet your friends and family on their birthday.

Would you like to learn to read Japanese? download yourfree hiragana and katakana workbook here!

Suteki na ichinichi wo

A beautiful day

Have a beautiful day

i hope you have a wonderful day

(Video) Celebrating Birthdays in Japanese - Japanese Conversational Phrases

This is a way to express your good wishes to a birthday girl!Suteki na ichinichi woIt can be used among friends, family and even colleagues.

Suteki-na(beautiful/beautiful) is an adjective that can be translated as "beautiful" or "wonderful".ichinichi(Ichinichi / Ichinichi) significa "um dia inteiro".

Suteki na otanjoubi wo sugoshite kudasai

Have a good birthday

Please have a wonderful birthday.

Hope you have a good birthday.

Sugoshite kudasaimeans "please transmit". Translated, the phrase means "Please come in/have a great/wonderful birthday".

you can replacesuteki-nawith other adjectives such asTanoshii(fun/fun), which means “fun”!

Subarashii ichinen ni narimasu du ni

Hope you have a wonderful year.

i hope you have a wonderful day

I wish you a wonderful year ahead

This is a little more formal than the previous sentence, making it appropriate for use in the workplace.

Subarashii(wonderful/wonderful) is another word that can be translated as “wonderful”.Ichinen(one year / Ichinen) means "one year".

Kore kara mo douzo ogenki de ite kudasai

Please continue to stay healthy.

Please continue to stay healthy.

Please stay healthy from now on.

Being healthy and happy doesn't end at the last second of your birthday. To wish someone else in good health after their special day, this is another thoughtful phrase you can use!

(Video) Happy Birthday in Japanese

Kore kara mo(From now on) means "also after".douzo(please) means "Please' or 'kindly'.

How do Japanese people celebrate birthdays?

In some cultures, the birthday person needs to pamper the guests on their special day, but in Japan it is more common to see friends or family members planning and preparing a birthday party.

Couples often spend their birthdays with their partner. Sweet isn't it? For families, especially young children, parents take care of party planning, decorations, food, and gifts. As with most children's birthday parties, colleagues and friends are also invited.

Happy birthday in Japanese: how to say it and how to celebrate it! (1)

Restaurants also offer giftssaabisu(サービス) for customers who come to eat on their birthday, usually in the form of desserts.

Giving on Japanese birthdays

Gifts are generally not expected unless you are a close family member or friend of a celebrant, but that doesn't mean you aren't welcome!Japanese present deliveryCustoms can be tricky at times, but the most popular birthday gifts are sweets, food (especially cake!) and small trinkets.

Birthday cards are also a simple and popular gift that you can give someone with a heartfelt message. Nowadays, most people send their birthday wishes via SMS, chat apps or calls.

Special birthdays in Japan

Japan has a unique way of celebrating birthdays, especially those that are considered "big birthdays"! What are some examples of special birthdays?

Shichi-go-san (3, 5 e 7 anos)

Shichi-go-san (Shichigosan/Shichigo) es 7-5-3 It's a special party for children aged 3, 5 and 7. It is celebrated every 15th of November (add 3, 5 and 7!) and is an opportunity to wish for longevity.

In the past, there was a higher risk of children dying prematurely due to poverty or starvation, so parents would pray at shrines for a long life for their children.

Oneshichi-go-san, Children wear traditional Japanese clothing such aslike thisoHappy birthdayand the girls useKimono, along with some accessories and even makeup! Parents take their children to a shrine to pray for their child's health and safety.

Happy birthday in Japanese: how to say it and how to celebrate it! (2)

called special sweetschitose yam(Chitosame/Chitosame) are given to children. The candies are long and thin, symbolizing the longevity of life.

Watch this video fromJapanesePod101to learn more about itshichi-go-san!

Seijinshiki (20 anos)

Seijinshiki(Coming-of-Age-Zeremonie / Seijinshiki) it is a coming-of-age celebration for all young people over 20. It is celebrated every second Monday in January. It used to be held every January 15th, but that date made it difficult for people to go back to their hometown to celebrate, so moving it to a Monday gave people more time to go home for the weekend.

Permission(成人) means "grown up" or "adult" andschiki(式) means "ceremony". On this day, men in their 20s wear suits or suits.like this, while women wear kimonos (usuallyFurisodio, a type of long-sleeved kimono often worn by unmarried women).

Happy birthday in Japanese: how to say it and how to celebrate it! (3)

The age of 20 is important as it is the legal age at which people can vote, drive, drink and smoke. Revelers gather at their respective town halls for a ceremony and then visit the shrines. You can have parties or gatherings at the end of the day where you can finally drink together.Jug of fate!

Parties for seniors (over 60)

Finally, there are several special birthdays for seniors.

(Video) How to say "Happy Birthday" in Japanese & Birthday Culture 【Japanese, English sub】

He60th anniversary oKanreki(60th anniversary / Kanreki) is particularly important because five full cycles of thejapanese zodiac, a time when a person is said to be "born again".

Red and white colors are often usedKanreki. For example, a sleeveless red jacket calledTschanchanko(ちゃんちゃんこ) is used to represent a baby's jacket and a person's rebirth. White egrets and red tortoises are also placed in the cakes used for the occasion. White herons symbolize 1,000 years and red tortoises 10,000 years!

Other famous age groups are the "double-digit" age groups.

He77th birthday orStock(Kiju / Kiju), also called "happy age"! In earlier Japanese calligraphy, the kanji was forA喜 (meaning "rejoice") was written to appear as if there were two sevens (七七) in the character.

He88th birthday orkiss (Beiju/Beiju) is also called 'Rice Time', which is a character for 'rice'emoin the direction(米) and looks like the kanji for eight-ten-eight (八十八).

He99th birthday orhe does not know (Hakuju / Hakuju) is called the "white age".hakuoSchiro(白) and looks like thisHyaku(百), the kanji for "one hundred", but without the hyphen above it! Stroke is also a radical in its own right.Ichi(一), meaning "one".

Do you want to start learning kanji? download yourKanji free e-book hereand learn all about radicals - the easiest way to learn kanji!

happy birthday in japanese

So now you know different ways to say happy birthday in Japanese. If you are looking for japanese birthday wishes or messagessend to a friend, we hope you found inspiration here.

If you are ready to continue your Japanese language journey, our recommended online course isJapanesePod101!

JapanesePod101 offers a complete system for learning the Japanese language at any level, from beginner to intermediate. Self-paced courses include audio lessons, printable worksheets, study tools (such as quizzes and flashcards) and much more.

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Learn more about celebrations in Japan:

  • Christmas in Japan: How to Celebrate Like a Local
  • How to Say Merry Christmas (and Other Seasonal Greetings) in Japanese
  • New Year in Japan: Traditions, Food and Celebrations
  • How to Say Happy New Year in Japanese
Happy birthday in Japanese: how to say it and how to celebrate it! (4)

Thea Ongchua

Thea is a freelance writer and is currently studying Japanese Studies. He likes to make art and is inspired by movies and music. Thea was inspired to study Japanese language and culture by reading the literary works of Haruki Murakami and Edogawa Ranpo.

(Video) How to say Happy Birthday in Japanese | Japanese Language for beginner | Practice Japanese


How do you respond when someone wishes you happy birthday in Japanese? ›

If you are the one who is being greeted by your friends with such a phrase, it would be wise to simply respond with a hearty 誕生日のお祝いありがとう(pronounced as tanjoubi no oiwai arigatou) to say thank you.

How Japanese celebrate their birthday? ›

The birthday celebrants often wear traditional outfits and listen to speeches about their rise to adulthood, then might go to a shrine to pray for good fortune. Others head straight to the bar to celebrate their independence with their friends! Old age is something to honor in Japan.

How can I reply to happy birthday? ›

Short messages and quotes for saying thanks for birthday wishes
  • Thank you for so much love on my birthday!
  • Thank you for always being there for me in the last year.
  • To all of you, thanks so much for wishing me a happy birthday.
  • Thanks so much for the birthday card.
  • Thank you so much for the lovely card on my birthday!
Nov 5, 2022

How do you respond to happy birthday in one line? ›

Thank them for making an effort to wish you a “Happy Birthday”
  1. “Thanks a lot! It was kind of you to remember.”
  2. “Aww, thanks. I'm fortunate to have awesome friends like you guys.”
  3. “Thank you so much for reaching out, it was lovely to hear from you, and I really appreciate the birthday wishes.”
  4. “Thank you!
Jul 6, 2022

How do you respond to a Japanese greeting? ›

Rōmaji: “Irasshai mase!” This is a common phrase you'll hear when entering convenience stores or restaurants. When you're greeted with いらっしゃいませ, you can respond with a nod and smile or by saying ありがとうございます or こんにちは.

How do you express your wishes in Japanese? ›

All of that can be expressed with “~てほしい”. For that, you simply add “noun + が” before “~てほしい”: ~が…~てほしい。 もっと雪が降ってほしい。
[Expressing a third party's wishes with nouns]
表現 ひょうげんExpression
願望 がんぼうDesire, wish
望 のぞ むTo wish for, to desire
希望 きぼうHope, wish
許可 きょかPermission
4 more rows
Jul 28, 2017

Do Japanese people give birthday gifts? ›

Of those traditions, one of the things that is done in Japan is gift-giving. Gift-giving is more than just buying gifts for people on birthdays and special holidays, it is a way to show gratitude to those you are indebted to and to show appreciation for those you care about and/or respect.

What are birthdays called in Japan? ›

Shichi-Go-San literally means seven-five-three in Japanese.

What do Japanese celebrate? ›

1st JanuaryNew Year's DayMarine Day
21st March (approx.)Vernal Equinox DayAutumn Equinox Day
29th AprilShowa DayHealth and Sports Day
3rd MayConstitution DayCulture Day
4th MayGreenery DayLabor Thanksgiving Day
3 more rows

How do Japanese celebrate first birthday? ›

On their first birthday, babies in Japan are made to carry or step on mochi weighing around 2 kg. This tradition does not have to be celebrated precisely on the child's birthday and instead can be celebrated the week before or after their birthday. Shou (升) in isshou mochi is a unit of measurement.

What do Japanese like as gift? ›

Food and drink serves as one of the most popular gifts in Japan, especially for small-scale gift-giving occasions such as Oseibo and Okaeshi. Popular food and drink gifts include confectionery, cakes, teas, spirits and teas.

What is Santa called in Japan? ›

In Japan Santa is known as サンタさん、サンタクロース / Santa-san (Mr Santa) or サンタクロース / Santa-Kurosu (Santa Claus). (Another Japanese gift bringer is Hoteiosho, a Japanese god of good fortune from Buddhism. But he is NOT related to Christmas.)

What American snacks do Japanese like? ›

Hamburgers, French fries, and New York-style steaks are very popular in Japan, especially among young people, while Hawaiian cuisine such as Loco Moco is also popular.

How do you say thank you for the wishes in Japanese? ›

Express Your Thanks In Japanese!
  1. Arigato gozaimasu! / Thank you! ...
  2. Domo arigato gozaimasu / Thank you very much. ...
  3. Hontoni arigato gozaimasu / Thank you so much. ...
  4. Arigato gozaimashita / Thank you (Past) ...
  5. Iroiro arigato gozaimashita / Thank you for everything. ...
  6. Sumimasen / Sorry. ...
  7. Ie ie / No no (Not at all/No problem)

How do you respond to thank you when you say happy birthday? ›

What should I say when someone says thank you for birthday wishes? “ Youre welcome!” “ My pleasure!” “ The pleasure is mine”. “ I hope you enjoyed it “. “ I wish you many more enjoyable birthdays”.

What does Otanjoubi Omedetou mean? ›

o-tanjoubi omedetou. Simple and classic, this one means "happy birthday", or literally "congratulations on your birthday".

How do you respond to thank you very much in Japanese? ›

If you take Japanese lessons, you'll probably learn that the proper response to arigatou is do itashimashite (どういたしまして), meaning “you're welcome.” However, that's very rarely used in modern Japanese conversation except in more formal situations.

What does Domo Arigato mean? ›

When you buy something at a store, store clerk would say "DOMO ARIGATOU", meaning thank you "very much".

How do you respond to Domo arigato gozaimasu? ›

9 Proper & Natural Replies | Dou Itashimashite, Doumo Doumo & More. “Dou itashimashite” (どう致しまして) means “You're welcome” and is widely known as the common response to “arigato gozaimasu”, but it sounds rather stiff and formal.

How do you respond to konnichiwa? ›

When someone greets you in Japanese with “Konnichiwa” it is best to respond with the same phrase “Konnichiwa”.


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