ＨＥＬＬＯ！ Ｉ ＡＭ ＱＵＩＺＢＯ™！Welcome to Kiki+Koko: Let’s NihonGO!! Online’s Japanese Word of the Weekday! During the month of January, we have created a challenge to assist you in beginning or continuing your Japanese language learning journey whether it is at the start of the year or any time in future. Do not hesitate in taking your first steps towards your dreams!
Every Japanese Word of the Weekday will not simply be a definition and vocabulary word, but also its romanisation along with an audio pronunciation. It is encouraged that you repeat the vocabulary aloud in order to engage as many of your senses as possible. If you are not in a comfortable place to do so, simply be sure to do so when you are in a place that is more comfortable for revision/study.
Many vocabulary words and phrases are not as simple as a definition, requiring a bit more explanation. This is the benefit of having a trusted instructor at your side via The Internet. Today, we will have a special guest appearance from the titular twin teachers, Kiki+Koko, who will provide you with one of their Helpful Hints.
Without further ado, let us NihonGO!!
Word(s) of the Weekday:
(どうぞ)よろしく おねがい (いた)します。
(douzo) yoroshiku onegai (ita)shimasu.
An 挨拶, aisatsu (greeting) expression meaning asking for things to be done well for them.
Also, a word used when requesting something from someone.
Helpful Hints with Kiki+Koko:
We’re Kiki+Koko, your guides to Japanese language and culture. And, today, we’re going to give you some helpful hints to assist in demystifying the nuances of this everyday Japanese greeting. Usually, よろしくお願い(致)します is defined as ‘Nice to meet you.” But, contextually, defining it so simply doesn’t make much sense. If you say:
hajimemashite, kiki de gozaimasu. Oaidekite ureshii desu. Yoroshiku onegai itashimasu.
Pleased to meet you, I’m Kiki. Pleased to meet you. Pleased to meet you.
Then the usual translation starts to make some phrases that sound like entirely different phrases in Japanese begin to sound like a strange broken record in English.
Many 挨拶, aisatsu, or greetings, in Japanese, are set phrases that have nuanced cultural meanings. For example, as ＱＵＩＺＢＯ™ explained in the first instalment of January’s Japanese Word of the Weekday, 初めまして, hajimemashite, is a collocation or phrase used when first meeting someone. It comes from the word 始める, hajimeru, meaning to start or to begin. This phrase does not really exist in English, and saying ‘Nice ot meet you’ isn’t even actually what is being expressed. This greeting is actually being used to express that this is your first time meeting the person and that your acquaintence is beginning. Greetings change from the time of day to the occasion, so that’s why in the first Word of the Weekday, ＱＵＩＺＢＯ™ decided it was best to introduce this introductory word as ‘Hello.’ Because this is oddly a bit more appropriate even though the nuance will always be lost in translation.
If you want to actually tell someone that you are pleased to meet them, one way to express this is お会いできてうれしいです(oai dekite ureshii desu), literally meaning, I am glad that I was able to meet you. This is expresses something inherently different than the phrase we’re demystifying, today, as it has no other nuance than exactly what it is saying. You are happy because you were able to meet with the other party.
Now, finally, it’s time to analyse why something translated as Nice to meet you, pleased to meet you, pleased to meet you, makes sense in Japanese, and also why you’ll hear よろしくお願い致します (yoroshiku onegai itashimasu), in more occasions than just first meetings.
宜しく, (yoroshiku), which can also be used as a greeting all its own, or a shortened form of this phrase, is the adverbial form of the adjective 宜しい (yoroshikii), meaning things like good or fine in honorific language as opposed to 良い (yoi/ii)。 お願い (onegai)is the honorific form of 願い(negai) meaning a desire, a wish, a hope, or a plea. And, 致します(itashimasu) is the humble form of the verb します (shimasu)–you can hear either one often used– meaning to do which is ubiquitously paired with many nouns to make them into verbs.
So, if we look at よろしくお願い致します, literally, you’ll see it can actually be translated as please wish well (to me). This is another reason why you’ll see the humble form used rather than an honorific form of します because it is usually implying that you are on the receiving end of the wishes. You can wish others well with a どうぞよろしく (douzo yoroshiku) but even the even humbler どうぞよろしくお願い申し上げます (douzo yoroshiku onegai moushi agemasu) still expresses that you are the one reaching up to extend regards in relation to the favour that you expect, whether an actual favour, or just being treated kindly by the other party.
So, now, we hope that this clears up the meaning of よろしくお願い致します at least a bit. We could dissect it and its other uses and nuances for hours, but Helpful Hints are meant to be just that, a Helpful Hint to get you further on your way to using the newly presented vocabulary on your Japanese language learning journey.
And, as a byproduct, hopefully you now understand why there are so many translations for this phrase as well as so many occasions in which this phrase can be used. Whether at a first meeting, a request for assistance, or at the end of a business email, we’re sure this won’t be the last time you’ll encounter this helpful and nuanced phrase.
We hope that helps!! Until the next lesson!
Thank you, Kiki and Koko! Japanese language has many layers, nuances, and cultural contexts that shape its usage and meaning. This is why it is so important for some of these phrases to be accompanied by Helpful Hints to allow their proper usage and understanding.
Well, that is all of the time we have for today’s instalment of Kiki+Koko: Let’s NihonGO!! Online’s Japanese Word of the Weekday! It is the hope that you will continue to join us for more of this special corner as well as more of our Japanese language and culture resources. Just because the activity of today is complete does not mean that your daily learning journey has to stop here. You can have a look at previous Word of the Week articles for even more Japanese vocabulary. You can be sure that you are caught up with the latest by visiting ieindigoeast.com, and clicking the sidebar link labelled 今週の単語 | Word of the Week, or go to ieindigoeast.com/kikiandkokoletsnihongo and scroll down until you see a smiling blue face on the Word of the Week banner, and you can access the archives. (That is the face of me!)
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