Mastering the Basics: How to Say Begin in Japanese

If you’re interested in learning Japanese, one of the first things you’ll want to know is how to say “begin.” In this section, we’ll explore the various ways to express this concept in Japanese, including the Japanese word for “begin” and alternative expressions.

Knowing how to say “begin” in Japanese is essential for basic communication, especially when starting a conversation or introducing yourself. The Japanese word for “begin” is “hajimeru” (始める), and it’s pronounced as “hah-jee-meh-roo.”

Learning the Japanese word for “begin” is just the first step in expanding your vocabulary. In the following sections, we’ll dive deeper into different expressions, common phrases, and levels of formality that incorporate the word “begin” in Japanese.

So, let’s begin our exploration of the Japanese language!

Understanding the Japanese Word for Begin

In Japanese, the word for “begin” is pronounced “hajime,” and written as 始め in kanji characters. To pronounce it correctly, break it down into two syllables: “ha-ji-me.”

Pronunciation Tips

The first syllable “ha” sounds similar to the English word “ha-ha” spoken quickly. The second syllable, “ji,” is pronounced with a soft “j” sound, similar to the “j” in “jingle.” The final syllable “me” sounds like “may.”

Put all three syllables together and you have the Japanese word for “begin.”

English Japanese Pronunciation
Begin 始め Ha-ji-me

Practice saying the word several times to get the pronunciation just right.

Different Expressions for Begin in Japanese

While the Japanese language has a specific term for “begin,” there are also alternative expressions and synonyms that can be used to convey the same idea. Below are some commonly used Japanese expressions for “begin” and their corresponding translations.

Japanese Expression Translation
始める (hajimeru) to start
開始する (kaishi suru) to commence
踏み出す (fumidasu) to take a step forward
着手する (chakushu suru) to undertake
始動する (shidou suru) to set in motion

It’s important to note that while these expressions can be used interchangeably with the term for “begin,” they may carry slightly different nuances or levels of formality depending on the context in which they are used.

Begin Synonym in Japanese

Another commonly used synonym for “begin” in Japanese is 創始する (soushi suru), which also means “to initiate” or “to pioneer.” This expression is often used to describe the beginning of a new movement, idea, or concept.

While it’s important to have a solid understanding of the primary term for “begin,” familiarizing yourself with these alternative expressions and synonyms can help you more effectively communicate in Japanese and tailor your language to fit different contexts and situations.

Common Phrases Using Begin in Japanese

Learning common phrases and sentence structures in Japanese that incorporate the word for “begin” will help you communicate more effectively in the language. Here are some examples:

Japanese English
始めましょう Let’s begin
始める前に Before starting
今から始めます I’ll start now
始めたばかり Just started

By incorporating these phrases into your Japanese vocabulary for “begin,” you’ll be better equipped to start conversations and express your thoughts in the language.

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Polite and Casual Forms of Begin in Japanese

When learning how to start in Japanese, it’s essential to understand the different levels of formality in the language. Japanese has both polite and casual forms of speech, and the way you use “begin” can vary depending on the situation and relationship between speakers.

Casual Form

The casual form of “begin” in Japanese is “hajimeru.” This form is appropriate for casual situations, such as with friends or family members. To use it, simply say “hajimemashou” followed by the action you’re starting. For example, “hajimemashou kaigi wo” means “let’s begin the meeting.”

Japanese English Translation
始めましょう Let’s begin

Polite Form

The polite form of “begin” in Japanese is “hajimemasu.” This form is appropriate for formal situations, such as with your boss or a stranger. To use it, say “hajimemashou” followed by “ka,” which indicates polite language. For example, “kaigi wo hajimemashouka” means “shall we begin the meeting?”

Japanese English Translation
始めましょうか Shall we begin

By understanding the appropriate level of politeness in Japanese, you can show respect to those you’re speaking with and communicate effectively in a variety of situations.

Contextual Usage of Begin in Japanese

When using the Japanese term for “begin,” it’s crucial to consider the context in which you’re speaking. The usage of the word can vary depending on the situation and the level of formality required.

Formal Situations

In formal Japanese settings, it’s essential to use the correct honorifics and appropriate language to show respect to the listener. When using the word for “begin,” it’s common to use the honorific prefix “o” along with the verb “hajimemasu.”

For example, the phrase “Let’s begin the meeting” can be translated to “Shuppatsu o hajimemasu” in formal Japanese.

Casual Conversations

In informal or casual conversations, it’s acceptable to use a more relaxed and abbreviated form of the word for “begin.” Instead of “hajimemasu,” it’s common to use “hajimeru.”

For example, “Let’s begin the game” can be translated to “Gēmu o hajimeru” in a casual conversation.

Contextual Variations

It’s crucial to adapt the usage of the word for “begin” depending on the situation and the verb used in the sentence. For instance, when referring to the start of an event or an activity, it’s common to use “始まる” (hajimaru) instead of “始める” (hajimeru).

For instance, the phrase “The concert has started” can be translated to “Konsāto ga hajimatta” in Japanese.

Overall, it’s vital to consider the nuances of the Japanese language when using the word for “begin.” By understanding the contextual variations, you can communicate more effectively and appropriately in different situations.

Examples of Begin in Japanese

Now that you have learned how to say “begin” in Japanese, it’s time to put it into practice. Here are some examples of how to use the Japanese word for “begin” in different situations:

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Japanese English Translation
今から始めます。 I will begin now.
授業を始める前に、お願いがあります。 I have a favor to ask before the lesson begins.
プレゼンテーションを始める前に、緊張しています。 I am nervous before starting the presentation.
始めに、自己紹介をさせていただきます。 First, let me introduce myself.

As you can see, there are many different ways to use “begin” in Japanese depending on the context and situation. Keep these examples in mind as you continue to practice and expand your knowledge of the language.


Now that you have learned how to confidently say “begin” in Japanese, you can expand your vocabulary and communication skills in the language. Remember to practice using the Japanese term for “begin” in various contexts to fully internalize its use.

By familiarizing yourself with the different expressions and synonyms for “begin,” you can enhance your understanding of the language and communicate more effectively with native Japanese speakers. Additionally, adapting your speech to the appropriate level of formality will help you navigate different social situations.

Keep Practicing

Continue practicing your Japanese language skills to further develop your proficiency. Explore new vocabulary words and phrases, and engage with Japanese media to immerse yourself in the language and culture.

Learning a new language can be challenging, but with dedication, practice, and an open mind, you can master Japanese and confidently communicate with others. Keep up the good work!


Q: What is the Japanese word for “begin”?

A: The Japanese word for “begin” is “hajimeru.”

Q: How do you pronounce “hajimeru”?

A: “Hajimeru” is pronounced as ha-ji-me-ru.

Q: Are there alternative expressions or synonyms for “begin” in Japanese?

A: Yes, there are alternative expressions such as “kaishi suru” and synonyms like “suto-to” that can be used to convey the idea of “begin” in Japanese.

Q: Can you provide examples of common phrases using “begin” in Japanese?

A: Certainly! Here are a few examples:
– “Hajimemashou” (Let’s begin)
– “Gakko wo hajimemasu” (I will start school)
– “Kouen de hajimaru” (It starts at the park)

Q: How do you differentiate between polite and casual forms of “begin” in Japanese?

A: In Japanese, the level of formality can be adjusted by using different verb endings. For example, “hajimeru” is the plain form, “hajimemasu” is the polite form, and “hajimeru yo” is the casual form.

Q: How does the usage of “begin” in Japanese vary depending on the context?

A: The context and situation can influence the specific vocabulary and grammar used to express “begin” in Japanese. For instance, the word choice may differ when talking about starting a conversation versus starting a project.

Q: Can you share some practical examples of using “begin” in Japanese?

A: Certainly! Here are a few examples:
– “Aisatsu o hajimemashou.” (Let’s start with greetings.)
– “Eigo no benkyou o hajimeru.” (I will start studying English.)
– “Shukudai o hajimemashita ka?” (Have you started your homework?)

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