Mastering the Phrase: How to Say Wish in Japanese

If you’re interested in learning Japanese, you may have wondered how to say ‘wish’ in Japanese. Expressing wishes is an important part of Japanese culture, and there are several phrases and vocabulary words you’ll need to know in order to effectively communicate your wishes to others. In this section, we’ll explore the Japanese word for wish and provide you with the essential phrases you need to master the art of expressing wishes in Japanese.

Learning how to say wish in Japanese is the first step towards enhancing your Japanese language skills. The Japanese word for wish is ‘negai’ (願い), which is written in Kanji characters. Understanding the meaning of ‘negai’ goes beyond just knowing the translation; it also incorporates cultural and social values that are essential to Japanese society.

Understanding the Japanese Word for Wish

As you begin to explore the Japanese language, it’s essential to understand the nuances behind the word ‘wish.’ The Japanese word for wish is ‘negai’ (願い), and it holds significant cultural implications.

In Japanese culture, expressing wishes is a common practice. It is viewed as a way to show care and concern for others. The word ‘negai’ also implies that the wish you are expressing is genuine and heartfelt.

It’s important to note that ‘negai’ is not just a casual expression. In Japanese society, wishes are taken seriously, and they often involve deep emotions and sentiments.

Understanding the cultural significance behind the word ‘negai’ enables you to communicate more effectively and respectfully in Japanese.

Expressing Wishes in Japanese Phrases

Communicating your wishes properly and effectively can be crucial in Japanese culture. Learning some essential phrases will help you navigate social settings and relationships. Here are some common Japanese phrases for expressing wishes:

Japanese Romaji English Translation
おめでとうございます Omedetou gozaimasu Congratulations
お幸せに Oshiawase ni Best wishes for happiness
ご成功をお祈りします Go seikou o oinori shimasu Wishing you success
ご健康をお祈りします Go kenkou o oinori shimasu Wishing you good health
ご多幸をお祈りします Go takou o oinori shimasu Wishing you all the best

These phrases can be used in various situations like congratulating someone on their achievements, wishing someone a happy life or marriage and sending well wishes for good health.

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It’s essential to understand the appropriate context to use these phrases. For instance, the phrase “omedetou gozaimasu” should be used when congratulating someone on their achievement.

Additional Tips

Remember to keep in mind the person’s status and relationship with you when expressing wishes. Use polite language when speaking to elders or people with higher status. Additionally, it’s common to use the particle “o” before “nori” in the phrases mentioned above to show respect.

Common Expressions for Making a Wish in Japanese

If you’re planning to visit Japan or have Japanese friends and colleagues, knowing how to make a wish in Japanese can be helpful. Here are some common expressions to help you wish someone the best.

Expression Japanese script Translation
Wish you the best ご多幸をお祈りします Gota-kō o oinori shimasu
Make a wish お願い事を言ってください Onegaigoto o itte kudasai
Best wishes ご幸運を祈ります Gokōun o inorimasu

The first expression, “Wish you the best,” is a common way to wish someone good luck or prosperity. The phrase “ご多幸” (gota-kō) means “many happinesses,” and “をお祈りします” (o oinori shimasu) is a polite way of saying “will pray for you.”

If you want to encourage someone to make a wish, you can say “お願い事を言ってください” (Onegaigoto o itte kudasai). This phrase translates to “Please make a wish,” and it’s a polite way to invite someone to share their desires.

“Best wishes” can be translated as “ご幸運を祈ります” (Gokōun o inorimasu). It’s another polite expression that conveys your hopes for the other person’s success.

There are also traditional expressions for making a wish, such as “七夕の短冊” (Tanabata no tanzaku). This phrase refers to small pieces of paper where people write their wishes and hang them on bamboo trees during the Tanabata festival. The expression “星に願いを” (Hoshi ni negai o) means “Wish upon a star,” and it’s also a common way of expressing your desires.

Remember that Japanese culture values politeness and respect, so always use polite expressions when making a wish, especially with people you don’t know well.

Cultural Insights: Wishes in Japanese Society

Wishing success to someone in Japanese culture is significant and often reflects the speaker’s relationship with the person. In Japanese, the phrase for wishing success is “ganbatte kudasai,” which translates to “please do your best.”

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This phrase is commonly used in various contexts, such as when encouraging someone before a test or competition, or when wishing a colleague luck before an important meeting. It is also often used when bidding farewell to someone, wishing them the best in their future endeavors.

In Japanese culture, expressing wishes is an important aspect of communication and is seen as a way to convey support and encouragement. It is considered polite to express your wishes for someone’s success or well-being, and failure to do so may be perceived as impolite or lacking in consideration.

When expressing wishes in Japanese, it is essential to consider the relationship between the speaker and the recipient. The level of formality and politeness used in the language may differ depending on the context and relationship.

Overall, wishing success in Japanese society is more than just a simple phrase. It reflects the speaker’s consideration for the recipient and their desire to support and encourage them in their endeavors.


Q: How do you say ‘wish’ in Japanese?

A: The Japanese word for ‘wish’ is “negai” (願い).

Q: What are some common phrases for expressing wishes in Japanese?

A: Some common phrases for expressing wishes in Japanese include “yoroshiku onegaishimasu” (よろしくお願いします), which can be translated as “Please take care of me,” and “ganbatte kudasai” (頑張ってください), which means “Please do your best.”

Q: How do you say ‘I wish you success’ in Japanese?

A: To say ‘I wish you success’ in Japanese, you can use the phrase “shōri o negaimasu” (勝利を願います).

Q: How do you say ‘best wishes’ in Japanese?

A: The phrase “yoroshiku o-negai shimasu” (よろしくお願いします) can be used to convey ‘best wishes’ in Japanese.

Q: What are some traditional expressions for making a wish in Japanese?

A: One traditional expression for making a wish in Japanese is “tama-mo negai-masu” (玉も願います), which means ‘may your wish be granted.’

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