They say time flies by when you’re having fun.
One day, you’re exchanging gifts by the Christmas tree, then a few days later, everyone’s counting down to the New Year! We hope continuing your Japanese learning is part of your resolutions! 😉 Ganbatte!
In fact, in this article, we will learn how to say Happy New Year in Japanese. The standard greeting is akemashite omedetou gozaimasu (明けましておめでとうございます).
You might have heard of other Japanese greetings and wishes for new year celebrations. Did you know that greeting people before the new year isn’t the same as greeting them on January 1st? You’ll find out the difference below!
Yoi otoshi wo
I wish you a good new year
This phrase is used up until December 31 or a few days before the new year. Yoi otoshi wo is a shortened, more casual form of the greeting that many Japanese use.
The formal way to say this is Yoi otoshi wo omukae kudasai (よいお年をお迎えください / よいおとしをおむかえください). This is applicable for greeting your boss and co-workers before starting your new year holiday.
Akemashite omedetou gozaimasu
Happy New Year
Now, this greeting is used on New Year’s Day, January 1st. Akemashite omedetou gozaimasu is the formal way to say Happy New Year in Japanese, and can be used with anyone.
The casual way to say it is simply Akemashite omedetou (明けましておめでとう).
Younger people and close friends tend to shorten this even further to akeome (あけおめ / アケオメ). Sounds cute, right? However, this is slang and should only be used in informal situations.
The above two greetings are the main ways to say Happy New Year in Japanese. Now we’ll look at a couple of other useful phrases to use with your Japanese friends or co-workers at New Year.
Kotoshi mo yoroshiku onegaishimasu
I hope to continue our good relationship in the coming year
This greeting is basically a good wish to others, hoping to continue working well with them in the next year. The above phrase is a formal version best suited for business and the workplace.
This phrase might sound a bit odd in English, because there isn’t a direct English equivalent. But rest assured, this is a very standard Japanese new year’s greeting that will be sure to please your Japanese colleagues and acquaintances!
Among friends and family, you might hear the casual kotoyoro (ことよ / コトヨロ), a shortened, slang form of the greeting.
Kotoshi mo osewa ni narimashita
I’m grateful for your support this year
To thank someone in your life for helping and/or caring for you, like your host family, this phrase will warm their heart! This polite phrase uses the past form of osewa ni naru (お世話になる / おせわになる), which means ‘to receive favor/assistance’, ‘to be taken care of’.
This phrase can be followed by Rainen mo douzo yoroshiku (来年もどうぞよろしく / らいねんもどうぞよろしく), which means ‘I’m looking forward to/counting on your help next year too.’
Since the above phrase starts with kotoshi (今年 / ことし) – ‘this year’ – you would use it up until December 31st. From January 1st, you can replace kotoshi with the word for ‘last year’, kyonen (去年 / きょねん).
Happy New Year in Japanese
Now you know a few useful phrases to use at New Year in Japan. The main thing to remember is that there are different phrases to use before or after the change of year.
Here’s some more New Year’s vocabulary from JapanesePod101!
- How to Say Merry Christmas in Japanese
- Christmas in Japan: How to Celebrate Like a Local
- New Year in Japan: Traditions, Food and Celebrations
- All About the 12 Japanese Zodiac Signs: Which Animal Are You?
Ready to take the next step in your Japanese language journey? Our recommended online course is JapanesePod101.
Thea is a freelance content writer, currently majoring in Japanese studies. She likes to create art and draws inspiration from film and music. Thea was inspired to study Japanese language and culture by reading the literary works of Haruki Murakami and Edogawa Ranpo.