Lesson Five formal and informal Japanese greetings


Okinawa.Org Staff
Here are five formal and informal Japanese greetings one could use while in Okinawa when speaking with locals.
  • Haisai – informal
    Native to Okinawa, this is used as a casual greeting among friends and relatives. It is mostly a friendly greeting to be given or received that can mean "hi", "hello", or even, "How are you?"
  • Ohayo Gozaimasu – formal
    Often shortened to the informal ohayo, or "'mornin", it is a greeting used to say "good morning". It can also be used at work regardless of the time.
  • Konnichiwa – formal
    This is used as a general greeting as "good afternoon" and used throughout the day though is typically used until darkness arrives.
  • Konbanwa – formal
    A formal way of saying "good evening" and is usually used until dawn arrives.
  • Genki desu ka? – (in)formal
    A phrase asking, "How are you?" However, it can be shortened and more often used as just, "Genki?" You can also make this phrase more polite and formal by adding o- to the beginning too: "o-genki desu ka?"

Check your surroundings and use what you feel most comfortable with! I'm sure that many Japanese will love a greeting from you, nonetheless.
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