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.

Pronouncing How are you? in Japanese

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

お元気ですか?

おげんき です か?

O genki desuka?

How are you? (formal)

For friends, you would greet them with a simple "genki" or "saikin dō?":

元気?

げんき?

Genki?

How are you? (informal)

最近どう?

さいきん どう?

Saikin dō?

How are things going lately? (informal)

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

Well, thanks.

おかげさまで元気です

おかげさま で げんき です

Okage sama 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 genkidesu.

Very well.

変わりないです

かわりないです

Kawarinai desu.

As always.

ちょっと疲れています

ちょっと つかれて います

Chotto tsukarete imasu.

A little tired.

具合が悪いです

ぐあい が わるい です

Guai ga warui desu.

I'm sick.

まあまあ

Mā mā.

So-so.

なんとか

Nantoka.

Barely coping.

あんまり

Anmari.

Not so good.

A common follow-up question is, “And you?”, “*Anata wa?” or address the person by name “[name] –san wa*?” Or for a more informal way, “name -kun/-chan wa?”

貴方は?

あなた は?

Anata wa?

And you? (formal)

よしこ は?

よしこ は?

Yoshiko wa?

And (you), Yoshiko?

If someone tells you that he or she is not feeling well you could say the following…

お大事に

おだいじ に

Odaiji ni.

I hope you feel better.

大変ですね

たいへん です ね

Taihen desu ne.

That's tough.

お気の毒に

おき の どく に

Okinodoku ni.

I am sorry (you are not well).

If someone is feeling great you might want to say the following…

それは良かったです

それ は よかった です

Sore wa yokatta desu.

Nice to hear.

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! - In this lesson you'll find lots of helpful questions in Japanese.

Yoku dekimashita!

Signature Sayaka Matsuura Rocket Japanese