Guide: How to Say ‘Working’ in Japanese – Easy Learning Tips

If you’re interested in learning the Japanese language, or planning to work in Japan, it’s important to know how to express the concept of ‘working’. In this comprehensive guide, we will provide you with easy learning tips on how to say ‘working’ in Japanese. We’ll cover various translation options, vocabulary words, and useful Japanese phrases related to working. So, let’s get started and enhance your language skills for working in Japan!

Understanding the Different Translations for ‘Working’ in Japanese

In Japanese, expressing the concept of ‘working’ requires an understanding of the nuanced differences between the various translations. Knowing the right phrase to use in the appropriate context is crucial for effective communication. Here we’ll explore the different Japanese words for ‘working’ and their meanings:

Japanese Word Meaning
働く (hataraku) The most common word for ‘working’, it refers to the physical act of working and encompasses all types of work from manual labor to office work.
仕事 (shigoto) This word refers to a job or occupation and can be used to describe both the act of working and the workplace itself.
就業する (shuugyou suru) This phrase is more formal and refers to being employed by a company or organization. It can also be used to refer to the act of starting work at a new job.
勤める (tsutomeru) Often used to describe working at a particular company or organization, this word implies a sense of duty and loyalty towards the company.

As you can see, each word has its own nuances and contexts in which it is most appropriate to use. Becoming familiar with these differences will help you express yourself accurately when talking about work in Japanese.

Common Phrases and Expressions for ‘Working’ in Japanese

Expanding your working vocabulary in Japanese beyond the word for ‘working’ will greatly enhance your ability to communicate effectively in professional settings. In this section, we’ll introduce you to some common phrases and expressions related to work.

Vocabulary words

Learning vocabulary words related to work in Japanese will help you express yourself more accurately and fluently. Here are some essential working vocabulary words:

Japanese Reading English
仕事 しごと Work
勤務 きんむ Duty
職場 しょくば Workplace
業務 ぎょうむ Business

Useful expressions

Knowing some useful expressions related to work in Japanese will help you navigate professional situations more confidently. Here are some common phrases:

  • お疲れ様でした (otsukaresama deshita) – This phrase is used to express admiration or appreciation for someone’s hard work.
  • 仕事が忙しいですか? (shigoto ga isogashii desu ka?) – This question means ‘Are you busy with work?’
  • 今日の仕事は何ですか? (kyou no shigoto wa nan desu ka?) – This question means ‘What is your work for today?’
  • 私はIT業界で働いています (watashi wa IT gyoukai de hataraiteimasu) – This sentence means ‘I work in the IT industry.’

By familiarizing yourself with these common phrases and expressions, you’ll be better equipped to communicate effectively in Japanese professional settings.

Practical Examples of Using ‘Working’ in Conversations

Now that you have a basic understanding of how to say ‘working’ in Japanese, let’s look at some practical examples of its usage in conversations.

Asking about Someone’s Work

If you want to ask someone about their work, you can use the following phrases:

English Japanese
What do you do? 何をされていますか? (Nani wo sareteimasu ka?)
Where do you work? どこで働いていますか? (Doko de hataraiteimasu ka?)
What is your job title? 職業は何ですか? (Shokugyou wa nan desu ka?)
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By using these phrases, you can initiate a conversation about someone’s job and show interest in their profession.

Talking about Your Work

If you want to talk about your work, you can use the following phrases:

English Japanese
I am a teacher 私は教師です (Watashi wa kyoushi desu)
I work at a hospital 私は病院で働いています (Watashi wa byouin de hataraiteimasu)
I have a meeting today 今日は会議があります (Kyou wa kaigi ga arimasu)

By using these phrases, you can share information about your job and work-related activities in Japanese.

Expressing Work-Related Emotions

If you want to express your emotions related to work, you can use the following phrases:

English Japanese
I’m busy with work 仕事で忙しいです (Shigoto de isogashii desu)
I’m stressed about work 仕事にストレスを感じています (Shigoto ni sutoresu wo kanjiteimasu)
I’m excited about my new project 新しいプロジェクトにワクワクしています (Atarashii purojekuto ni wakuwaku shiteimasu)

By using these phrases, you can communicate your feelings about work-related situations in Japanese.

Remember that these are just a few examples of how to use the word for ‘working’ in Japanese conversations. Don’t be afraid to practice and try out different phrases in various contexts.

Cultural Context and Etiquette in Japanese Work Culture

Working in Japan requires an understanding of the country’s unique work culture. Japanese work culture is known for its strong focus on teamwork, hierarchy, and respect for authority. Respect and politeness are essential in all professional interactions, so it’s important to familiarize yourself with Japanese business etiquette.

Japanese Work Culture

In Japanese work culture, the employer-employee relationship is based on mutual respect and loyalty. Japanese workers are known for their strong work ethic and dedication to their jobs. The Japanese also place great emphasis on group harmony, so teamwork is highly valued. Taking responsibility for one’s actions and decisions is also considered important.

Japanese Business Etiquette

When conducting business in Japan, it’s important to understand the cultural norms and etiquette. For example, it’s common to bow when greeting someone, and respectful language (known as keigo) is used when speaking to people of higher rank or seniority. Punctuality is also highly valued, so it’s important to be on time. Gift-giving is also a common practice in Japanese business culture, so it’s helpful to know the appropriate gift-giving etiquette.

Working in Japan

When working in Japan, it’s important to adhere to the local work culture and etiquette. This can include things like using polite language, dressing conservatively, and participating in company activities outside of work hours. You should also be prepared to work longer hours than you might be accustomed to, as this is common practice in Japan. Finally, it’s important to maintain a positive attitude and show a willingness to learn and adapt to new situations.

Expanding Your Working Vocabulary in Japanese

Learning how to say ‘working’ in Japanese is just the beginning. To communicate effectively about work in Japanese, it’s important to expand your working vocabulary. Here are some tips for doing so:

1. Practice Using Common Phrases

Familiarize yourself with common phrases and expressions related to work in Japanese. Some useful ones to know include:

  • Shigoto: Work
  • Shūshin: Workplace
  • Shain: Employee
  • Yasumi: Vacation
  • Jikan: Time
  • Chōrei: Overtime
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2. Use a Japanese-English Dictionary

An electronic or hard-copy dictionary can be an indispensable tool for expanding your working vocabulary. Look up words related to your industry or profession and make a note of them in a vocabulary list. Regularly review and practice using these words to commit them to memory.

3. Watch Japanese Films and TV Shows

Watching movies and TV shows in Japanese can be a great way to pick up new vocabulary words and phrases related to working. Pay attention to how characters talk about their jobs and workplace interactions, and try to incorporate any new words or phrases into your own vocabulary.

4. Take a Language Learning Course

Enrolling in a language course can provide a structured and comprehensive way to expand your working vocabulary. Whether online or in-person, a course can offer opportunities for practicing vocabulary and using it in conversation with others.

By continuously expanding your working vocabulary in Japanese, you’ll be better equipped to communicate effectively and confidently in professional settings.


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

A: The word for ‘working’ in Japanese is “shigoto” (仕事).

Q: What are the different translations for ‘working’ in Japanese?

A: Apart from “shigoto,” other translations for ‘working’ in Japanese include “hataraku” (働く), “shokuji” (職事), and “gyōmu” (業務).

Q: Can you provide some common phrases and expressions related to working in Japanese?

A: Sure! Here are a few common phrases and expressions:
– “Shigoto o shimasu” (仕事をします) – I work.
– “Hatarakimasu” (働きます) – I am working.
– “Shūshoku o shimasu” (就職をします) – I am looking for a job.
– “Kigyō de hataraite imasu” (企業で働いています) – I am working for a company.

Q: Can you provide some practical examples of using ‘working’ in Japanese conversations?

A: Certainly! Here are a few examples:
1. A: “Kinō wa nanji kara hatarakimashita ka?” (昨日は何時から働きましたか?) – What time did you start working yesterday?
B: “Hachi-ji kara shigoto o hajimemashita” (8時から仕事を始めました) – I started working at 8 am.
2. A: “Dō shimasu ka? Shigoto wa tanoshī desu ka?” (どうしますか?仕事は楽しいですか?) – What do you do? Is your job enjoyable?
B: “Watashi wa IT kaihatsu o shite imasu. Sore wa tanoshī desu yo” (私はIT開発をしています。それは楽しいですよ) – I work in IT development. It’s enjoyable.
3. A: “Ikutsu no jikan o shigoto ni tsukatte imasu ka?” (いくつの時間を仕事に使っていますか?) – How many hours do you spend on work?
B: “Nichijōteki ni wa hachijikan gurai shigoto ni tsukatte imasu” (日常的には8時間ぐらい仕事に使っています) – On average, I spend about 8 hours on work.

Q: Why is understanding cultural context and etiquette in Japanese work culture important?

A: Understanding the cultural context and etiquette in Japanese work culture is essential for successful professional interactions. It helps to avoid misunderstandings, shows respect for local customs, and enhances collaboration and communication with Japanese colleagues.

Q: How can I expand my working vocabulary in Japanese?

A: To expand your working vocabulary in Japanese, you can:
1. Take language classes or hire a tutor to learn specific work-related words and phrases.
2. Practice reading and listening to Japanese materials related to your field of work.
3. Use language-learning apps or online resources that provide vocabulary exercises and quizzes.
4. Engage in conversations with native Japanese speakers to practice using work-related vocabulary in context.
Remember, continuous learning and exposure to the language will help you continually expand your working vocabulary.

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