Learn How to Say ‘Return’ in Japanese – Easy Language Guide

In this section, you will discover the different ways to express the word ‘return’ in the Japanese language. Knowing how to say ‘return’ will help you communicate effectively and immerse yourself in Japanese culture. You may be wondering, “How do I say return in Japanese?” or “What is the Japanese word for return?” We’ve got you covered! Read on to learn the Japanese translation for return and how to say it with confidence.

Common Translations for ‘Return’ in Japanese

Now that you understand the importance of knowing how to say ‘return’ in Japanese, let’s look at some common translations for this word.

English Japanese Romaji
Return (verb) 帰る Kaeru
Return (noun) 帰還 Kikan
Come back 戻る Modoru
Revert 戻る Modoru

The verb “kaeru” is the most common translation for the word ‘return’ in Japanese. It can be used to express the act of returning to a place, such as your home or office. Additionally, “modoru” is another common verb used to express the idea of coming back or returning to a previous state.

It’s important to note that the Japanese language often uses context to convey meaning, so the specific translation of ‘return’ will depend on the sentence’s structure and the speaker’s intention.

Additional Common Translations for ‘Return’

Here are some additional translations for the word ‘return’ in Japanese:

  • 帰す (kaesu) – to send back
  • 戻す (modosu) – to put back / to return an item
  • 返却する (henkyaku suru) – to return (an object)

Having a range of translations at your disposal will allow you to express different aspects of ‘return’ in Japanese.

Verbs for ‘Return’ in Japanese

When learning Japanese, it’s essential to understand specific verbs that convey the meaning of ‘return.’ Learning these verbs will enable you to express different aspects of returning, such as returning to a place or returning an item. Here are some commonly used verbs for ‘return’ in Japanese:

Japanese Romaji English Translation
戻る modoru to return (to a place)
返す kaesu to return (an item)
帰る kaeru to go back home/to return (home)
差し戻す sashimodosu to send back/to return (a document)

These verbs can be combined with other words to express different meanings. For example, if you want to say “I’m returning to the office,” you can use the verb “modoru” and add the word “office” to the end: “オフィスに戻ります” (ofisu ni modorimasu).

It’s important to note that some of these verbs have different nuances and levels of formality. For example, “kaeru” is a more casual verb, while “sashimodosu” is very formal and usually used in business settings.

Practice Saying Verbs for ‘Return’ in Japanese

To practice using these verbs, try making sentences with them. For example:

  • 昨日、家に帰りました。 (Kinou, ie ni kaerimashita.) – Yesterday, I returned home.
  • この本は間違って買ったので、店に返しました。 (Kono hon wa machigatte katta node, mise ni kaeshimashita.) – I returned this book to the store because I bought it by mistake.
  • 部長が文書を差し戻しました。 (Buchou ga bunsho o sashimodoshimashita.) – The department head returned the document.

By practicing using these verbs, you’ll gain a better understanding of how to express the concept of ‘return’ in Japanese accurately and effectively.

Polite Expressions for ‘Return’ in Japanese

Politeness is highly valued in Japanese culture, so it’s important to know how to express ‘return’ politely. When speaking formally, you may use the phrase ‘okaeri nasaimase’ (お帰りなさいませ), which translates to ‘welcome back.’ This phrase is commonly used when welcoming someone back home or to a workplace.

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Another polite expression for ‘return’ is ‘kaette kudasai’ (帰ってください), which means ‘please come back.’ This phrase is often used when someone is leaving, and you want them to return soon.

When addressing someone who is of higher social status or seniority, it’s important to use appropriate honorific language. For example, you may use ‘tadaima’ (ただいま) when returning home, which translates to ‘I’m home,’ and ‘okaeri nasaimase’ when welcoming someone back.

It’s also important to note that in Japanese culture, it’s considered impolite to directly refuse a request or invitation. Instead, the phrase ‘shitsurei shimasu’ (失礼します) may be used, which roughly translates to ‘I will excuse myself.’ This phrase is often used when declining an invitation or leaving a social gathering before others.

Overall, using polite expressions when discussing the concept of ‘return’ in Japanese is essential for effective communication and shows respect for the Japanese culture.

Cultural Considerations When Talking About ‘Return’ in Japanese

When discussing the concept of ‘return’ in Japanese, it’s important to be aware of the cultural nuances that come with it. Japanese culture values respect, politeness, and humility, so using the appropriate language and expressions when talking about returning is crucial for effective communication.

One thing to keep in mind is that in Japanese culture, returning a borrowed item is a sign of respect and responsibility. If you borrow something from someone, it’s important to return it in the same condition you received it, and as soon as possible. Failing to do so could be seen as rude and disrespectful.

Additionally, when using the verb ‘kaeru’ (帰る) to express ‘to return home,’ it’s important to understand the cultural significance of the concept of ‘home’ in Japan. In Japan, the home is considered the heart of the family, and it’s where respect, honor, and tradition are deeply embedded. Therefore, when using the word ‘kaeru,’ it’s not just about physically returning to a place, but also about returning to the heart of your family and the values they represent.

Furthermore, when discussing returning to a workplace or organization, it’s important to use the appropriate honorific language and show respect to superiors. In Japanese culture, hierarchical relationships are highly valued, and using the wrong language or tone of voice could result in misunderstandings and tension.

The Importance of Politeness

As mentioned earlier, politeness is highly valued in Japanese culture, and this extends to using polite language when talking about returning. When using the word ‘kaeru’ (帰る) to express ‘to return,’ it’s important to use the appropriate honorifics and respectful language, especially when talking to elders or superiors.

For example, instead of saying ‘kaeru’ to your boss, you could use the more polite expression ‘tachi-kaeru’ (立ち帰る), which means ‘to leave while standing.’ This shows respect for your boss and emphasizes your willingness to work hard and be productive.


Understanding the cultural considerations when talking about ‘return’ in Japanese is essential for effective communication and building strong relationships. By using the appropriate language and showing respect for cultural values, you can deepen your understanding of the language and culture and foster better cross-cultural communication.

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Practice Saying ‘Return’ in Japanese

Now that you have learned about the different ways to express ‘return’ in Japanese, it’s time to put your knowledge into practice.

Here are some exercises and examples to help you practice saying ‘return’ in Japanese:

Exercise 1: Using the Word ‘Kaeru’

One of the most common verbs for ‘return’ in Japanese is ‘kaeru.’ Practice using this word in different sentences with the help of these examples:

  • You can say, “家に帰ります” (I am returning home).
  • You can also say, “品物を返す” (I am returning the item).

Exercise 2: Polite Language Practice

In Japanese culture, politeness is highly valued. Practice using the polite expressions for ‘return’ in Japanese with these examples:

  • To say “I will return the book to the library,” you can use the phrase, “本を図書館にお返しします.”
  • If you want to say, “I am returning the car to the rental company,” you can say, “レンタル会社にお車をお返しします.”

Exercise 3: Practice with a Partner

Find a language partner or tutor who can help you practice saying ‘return’ in Japanese in a conversational setting. You can use the exercises and examples above to help guide your practice.

Remember, the more you practice using the different words and expressions for ‘return’ in Japanese, the more confident you will become in using the language effectively.

Keep practicing and soon, you will be able to communicate fluently and confidently in Japanese!


Q: How do you say ‘return’ in Japanese?

A: The word for ‘return’ in Japanese can be expressed in different ways depending on the context. Some common translations include “modoru,” “kaeru,” and “henji suru.”

Q: What is the Japanese word for ‘return’?

A: The Japanese word for ‘return’ can vary depending on the specific meaning you want to convey. Some possibilities include “modoru,” “kaeru,” and “henji suru.”

Q: How do I say ‘return’ when talking about returning to a place?

A: When referring to the act of returning to a place, you can use the verb “modoru.” For example, “I will return home” can be translated as “Ie ni modorimasu.”

Q: How do I say ‘return’ when talking about returning an item?

A: To express the act of returning an item, you can use the verb “kaesu.” For instance, “I need to return this book” can be translated as “Kono hon wo kaesunakereba narimasen.”

Q: Are there polite expressions for ‘return’ in Japanese?

A: Yes, in Japanese culture, politeness is highly valued. When talking about returning, it is advisable to use more polite language. For example, instead of “modoru,” you can use “o-kaeri ni naru” to convey a higher level of politeness.

Q: What are some cultural considerations when discussing ‘return’ in Japanese?

A: When discussing the concept of ‘return’ in Japanese, it is essential to be aware of cultural nuances. Japanese culture places importance on respect, so using polite language and showing gratitude when returning something is considered appropriate.

Q: How can I practice saying ‘return’ in Japanese?

A: To practice saying ‘return’ in Japanese, you can use the provided translations and verbs in various sentences. Additionally, engaging in conversations with native Japanese speakers or language exchange partners can help you practice and improve your language skills.

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