Going to live in Japan? Better prepare yourself with a Japanese self-introduction, jikoshoukai, as you will inevitably have to go through this painful yet, necessary experience. Yes, in Japan, probably more than once and in various contexts, be it in school, at work or even some parties, you will have to introduce yourself. What should you say? How to condense everything about you in one minute? Do not be afraid, we will introduce step by step the way to give a successful jikoshoukai!
A self-introduction always starts…
… With a salutation and the statement of your name. Whether you prepare to introduce yourself to a curious crowd of classmates or to one person, care to greet first! Depending on the time of the day, you may say ohayou gozaimasu, konnichiha, konbanwa or simply “hajimemashite”: nice to meet you.
You can politely say your name with the desu copula or the verb to say. In a more formal context, such as an interview, you should use a more formal structure. Note that Japanese people are used to give the family name first and then their given name.
Watashi nonamae ha bondo jieemuzu desu.
My name is James bond.
Bondo, jieemuzu desu.
I am James Bond.
Bondo, jieemuzu to iimasu.
My name is James Bond.
Bondo, jieemuzu to moushimasu.
I am James Bond.
… Where are you from?
Being a foreigner in Japan is always stimulating the imagination of Japanese. Whether you are from Spain, Germany or Australia, they will more likely give some exotic origins and be surprised to hear the truth. So the next step of your jikoshoukai is to introduce your country and eventually your city! Tips: if you are American and wish to precise your state, you will have to use shuu (州, しゅう).
Igirisu (no rondon) kara kimashita.
I came from London, England.
Amerika no karifuorunia shuu kara kimashita.
I came from California, in America.
You can also tell where you are from with the word for origins (出身, しゅっしん) or an even easier way would be to give your nationality by adding jin (人, じん) after a country’s name.
Madoriddo shusshin desu.
I am from Madrid.
Pari shusshin desu.
I am from Paris.
Doetsu jin desu.
I am German.
Indoneshia jin desu.
I am Indonesian.
Why do you study Japanese?
Obviously, this is the hot point of your introduction. Not only will Japanese be flattered, but they will be eager to know why you are studying their language. If you are confident enough, you can speak about for how long you have studied Japanese, how, where etc. .
Nihon no bunka ni kyoumi ga aru kara, nihongo wo benkyou shite imasu.
I am interested in the Japanese culture, that is why I study Japanese.
If you are in Japan… Why?
You could have closed earlier. But giving more details is the recipe for a good jikoshoukai, after which you will proudly answer the crowd’s questions. Many reasons might have led you to come to live in Kawagoe or in Sapporo. Whether you are in Japan for a short stay out of pure curiosity or for a longer commitment, you should say…
Nihongo wo benkyou suru tame ni nihon ni kimashita.
I came to Japan to study Japanese.
What do you do… ?
Whether you are a student or working, the “occupation” has an important place in Japanese culture. The Japanese you are introducing yourself to will not be surprised to hear you stating what you are doing. Students can say that they are studying at University or in a school or state that they are (university or not) students.
Daigaku /gakkou de benkyou shite imasu.
(dai) gakusei desu.
If you are working, the following examples should help you prepare your introduction:
Watashi no shigoto ha sensei desu.
I work as a teacher.
Eigo no sensei desu.
I am an English teacher.
Supeingo no sensei wo shite imasu.
I work as a Spanish teacher.
Depending on your level, you can always try to give a more rich jikoshoukai explaining in more details what you are studying or exactly doing at your workplace.
What do you like… ?
This part would be smart in a friendly context. If you are meeting new people, it is always enjoyable to share your passions in Japanese. You can speak about your hobbies and what you like in various ways but the two easiest ones are the expression to like (好き, suki) and the word hobby (趣味, shumi).
Ryouri suki desu.
I like cooking.
Shumi ha supottsu desu.
My hobby is sport.
Shumi ha manga wo yomu koto desu.
My hobby is to read manga.
The final step: yoroshiku!
We have spoken before of the wonders of the Japanese yoroshiku onegaishimasu an expression difficult to translate in other languages. A jikoushokai usually ends with this phrase, meaning in such context, that you look forward to the relationship with your new friends.
Kongo mo douzo yoroshiku onegai itashimasu
I look forward to our relationship from now on.
Douzo yoroshiku onegai shimasu.
I look forward to our relationship.
Now, you are ready for your very first jikoshoukai! Always remember that a self-introduction with a group of friends or with your new boss will be different. You can be casual with people of your age, but should always be formal in a business environment. Be even more prepared to give a strong and polite self-introduction for a job interview!
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You need to know how to introduce yourself in Japanese.
Reading is nice. Writing is good. Grammar studies are fine.
But most learners out there want to speak and be understood in Japanese.
The easiest way to do it?
- It’s to talk about yourself.
- It’s to have a set introduction you’ll repeat again and again. Why?
- Because who doesn’t start with introducing themselves? Everyone does.
Learn to introduce yourself in Japanese and you’ve got 1/3rd of a Japanese conversation squared away. The rest are topics of interest and closing greetings.
And if you’re interested you can learn with actual Audio & Video Lessons at JapanesePod101.com.
You can listen to this Japanese Lesson by JapanesePod101 that I mentioned above.
- Japanese Introduction – First Impression
Just press the play button on the player below to listen.
If you want to read along, be sure to visit them at the link above. While you listen, scroll down to learn.
So, here’s what you’ll need for a self Japanese self introduction.
I’ll give you two ways. The first one is a simple and easy one that most people use. It includes “my name is…” and “nice to meet you.” The second one is more lengthy where you can talk about yourself in more detail.
A. The first, quick way, to introduce yourself.
Everyone uses this. It’s used when meeting new people.
1. Nice to meet you
- Japanese: 初めまして
- English Pronunciation: Hajimemashite
This is how you say “nice to meet you” in Japanese. This word does not literally mean “nice to meet you” but it’s one of the many “set Japanese phrases” that are used without thinking. Literally, it means “begin.”
2. My name is (name).
There can be several variations.
- I am (name).
- English Pronunciation: Watashi wa (name) desu.
- Japanese: 私は (name) です。
Or, you can try this.
- My name is (name).
- English Pronunciation: Watashi no namae wa (name) desu –
- Japanese: 私の名前は(name)です。
Finally, you can try the most casual way to introduce yourself in Japanese.
- I’m (name)
- English Pronunciation: (name) desu.
- Japanese: (name)です。(Note: this is very casual)
Finally, you need this next final phrase.
3. Please treat me well
- English Pronunciation: Yoroshiku onegaishimasu
- Japanese: よろしくお願いします。
What in the world is “Please treat me well?” It is a rough translation and has no equivalent in English. This is simply a “Japanese set phrase” thatyou need to use in such encounters and first time meetings. Why? Because that’s how the Japanese language and culture work. Because politeness. And because why wouldn’t you be treating a new person well?
So, here’s your script you can use.
初めまして。私は (name) です。よろしくお願いします。
Hajimemashite. Watashi wa (name) desu. Yoroshiku onegaishimasu.
B. The second way to introduce and talk about yourself.
In other words, this is your elevator pitch that you’ll use over and over when you need to talk about yourself. In Japanese, this is called a jikoshoukai (自己紹介) or self-introduction, that’s a lot more detailed than the method we used above. It’s often used in group settings when everyone has to say a little about themselves. For example, you’ll hear this at work events or group dates.
This second method is very useful to know because now you can talk about yourself.
- Hello,nice to meet you.
- My name is ……
- I am from …….
- I am …… years old.
- I am a (student/occupation).
- I’ve been learning Japanese for…
- I am learning Japanese because…
- Please treat me well.
Here’s how you introduce yourself in Japanese.
1. Hello, nice to meet you.
- Hello – konnichiwa – こんにちは
- Nice to meet you – Hajimemashite – 初めまして
2. My name is ……
3. I am from …….
- (Place) kara kimashita. (Place) からきました。
- Use it to say where you’re from.
Or, you can mention your ethnicity or nationality instead.
- Amerikajin desu. アメリカ人です。
- I am American.
4. I am …… years old.
- (age) sai desu. (age)歳です。
5. I am a (student/occupation).
- (position) desu. (position)です。
- I am a student: gakusei desu. 学生です。
- Shigoto wa (job) desu. 私の仕事は(job) です。
- My job is programming: Watash no shigoto wa puroguramingu desu. 仕事プログラミングです。
- (Job) o shiteimasu. (Job)をしています。
- Just means “I’m doing (job),” as if you’re answering “What do you do.”
6. I’ve been learning Japanese for…
- (time)kan nihongo o benkyou shiteimasu. (time)間日本語を勉強しています。
- example: 1 year. Ichi nen kan nihongo o benkyou shiteimasu. 一年間日本語を勉強しています。
7. I am learning Japanese because…
- (Reason) da/kara, nihongo o benkyoushiteimasu. (reason) だ/から、日本語をべんきょうしています。
- example: Because you’re interested in Japan.
- Nihon ni kyoumi ga aru kara, nihongo o benyoishiteimasu. 日本に興味があるから、日本語をべんきょうしています。
9. Please treat me well
- Yoroshiku onegaishimasu – よろしくお願いします。
So, here’s your introduction script you might want to use.
こんにちは, 初めまして。私は (name) です。アメリカ人です。(age)歳です。仕事は(job) です。 (time)間日本語を勉強しています。 (reason) だ/から、日本語をべんきょうしています。よろしくお願いします。
Or, if you can’t read yet and just want to say it out loud:
Konnichiwa, Hajimemashite. Watashi wa (name) desu. Amerikajin desu. (age) sai desu. Shigoto wa (job) desu. (Time)kan nihongo o benkyou shiteimasu. (Reason) da/kara, nihongo o benkyoushiteimasu. Yoroshiku onegaishimasu.
Conclusion: Did you notice that I took out all of the “watashi wa” from most of the sentences? “Why? You should omit 90% of the “watashi’s” there to sound more natural. After you said it once, people understand you’re talking about yourself.
Here’s what you do now.
- Create your self introduction.
- Leave me a comment and introduce yourself.
- And start learning even more Japanese. I suggest trying out lessons at JapanesePod101.com.
- Want more? Learn how to say hello in Japanese
- Learn how to ask how are you in Japanese
– The Main Junkie
P.S. I highly recommend this for Japanese learners. If you REALLY want to learn to Japanese with effective lessons by real teachers – Sign up for free at JapanesePod101 (click here) and start learning!
Written by The Junkie
Linguajunkie is a junkie for languages. English, Japanese, Korean, Russian, German, Hebrew...with more on the way.