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How are you in Japanese

How do you ask How are you? in Japanese? And how do you reply? This free Japanese lesson is essential for your Japanese language survival kit, whether you’re traveling to Japan or getting to know Japanese people closer to home.

Resources for further reading:

Pronouncing How are you? in Japanese

For someone you just met or more senior people, you would say:

Practice Your Pronunciation With Rocket Record

Rocket Record lets you perfect your Japanese pronunciation. Just listen to the native speaker audio and then use the microphone icon to record yourself. Once you’re done, you’ll get a score out of 100 on your pronunciation and can listen to your own audio playback. (Use a headset mic for best results.) Problems? Click here!

お元気ですか?

おげんき です か?

Ogenki desu ka?

How are you?

For friends, you would greet them with a simple げんき? (Genki?) or さいきん どう? (Saikin dō?):

元気?

げんき?

Genki?

How are you?

最近どう?

さいきん どう?

Saikin dō?

How are things going lately?

If you're asked "how are you" in Japanese, how would you answer? Well, it depends on how you feel! Here are some possible answers:

はい、元気です。ありがとうございます。

はい、 げんき です。 ありがとう ございます。

Hai, genki desu. Arigatō gozaimasu.

Yes, (I) am well. Thank you.

おかげさまで元気です。

おかげさま で げんき です。

Okagesama de genki desu.

(I) am well, thanks to you.

とても元気です。

とても げんき です。

Totemo genki desu.

(I) am very well.

変わりないです。

かわり ない です。

Kawari nai desu.

As always. / No change.

ちょっと疲れています。

ちょっと つかれて います。

Chotto tsukarete imasu.

(I) am a little tired.

具合が悪いです

ぐあい が わるい です

Guai ga warui desu.

(I) am unwell.

まあまあ

まあまあ

mā mā

so-so / average

なんとか

なん とか

nan toka

barely (coping) / (managing) somehow

あんまり

あんまり

anmari

not (so good)

A common follow-up question is, “And you?” あなた は? (Anata wa?). You can also ask how the other person is by addressing them by their name, followed by さん は (san wa); or for a more informal way, their name and くん (kun) or ちゃん (chan), followed by (wa):

貴方は?

あなた は?

Anata wa?

(And) you?

佳子は?

よしこ は?

Yoshiko wa?

(And you), Yoshiko?

If someone tells you that he or she is not well, you could say one of the following:

お大事に。

おだいじ に。

Odaiji ni.

Take care.

大変ですね。

たいへん です ね。

Taihen desu ne.

That's awful, isn't it.

お気の毒に。

おき の どく に。

Oki no doku ni.

My sympathies.

If someone is feeling great, try saying the following:

それは良かったです。

それ は よかった です。

Sore wa yokatta desu.

That is good.

Feeling confident with these basic Japanese words and phrases will make such a positive difference to your experiences with Japanese people. Remember, a stranger is just a friend you haven’t met yet!

Find out all about asking Japanese questions in this series of lessons. Make sure you listen to the audio and practice your Japanese pronunciation. And do the Japanese tests at the end of each lesson to reinforce your knowledge of Japanese questions!

よく できました! (Yoku dekimashita!)

Sayaka Matsuura: Rocket Japanese

Make It Stick With Rocket Reinforcement

Reinforce your learning from this lesson with the Rocket Reinforcement activities!