Self-Introductions in Japanese
Self-Introductions or 自己紹介 (じこしょうかい or Jikoshoukai), when speaking Japanese is a good place to start when just beginning your study. Usually, using this simple structure will help you to memorise not only basic phrases, but questions relating to those topics too. Especially relating to hometowns, age, interests, hobbies, work and so on. For example, a simple introduction might look like something similar to this:
こんにちは！私はマットです。はじめまして。- Hello, my name is Matt. How do you do?
私の仕事は医者です。- I work as a Doctor.
30歳です。- I am 30 years old.
誕生日は3月の12日です。- My birthday is on the 12th of March
趣味は、ハイキングとテニスです。- My hobbies are hiking and tennis.
Furthermore, I would also encourage you to start work on the 2 fundamental writing systems too. Both Hiragana and Katakana, which we have specific charts and guides on too, as these will help you immensely with reading and writing.
Japanese as a language has many levels of formality, and while it is very common to speak to friends in casual or informal language, it is not so common when speaking to people you do not know. In this guide, we will primarily focus on a typical polite form for ease of learning and because it can be used in most situations.
Initial Greetings and Introductions
こんにちは！私はマットです。はじめまして。- Hello, my name is Matt. How do you do? (こんにちは！わたしはマットです! はじめまして! or Konnichi wa! Watashi wa matto desu. Hajimemashite)
This is a simple introduction line, including greeting, introducing your name and a simple opening line.
Typically, Japanese has a few simple greetings for the morning, during the day and in the evening as follows:
おはようございます (Ohayou gozaimasu) – Good Morning
おはよう (Ohayou) – Morning (less formal)
こんにちは (Konnichi wa) – Hello
こんばんは (Konban wa) – Good Evening
もしもし (Moshi moshi) – Hello (greeting used for when speaking on the phone)
When introducing yourself the general structure is set out as follows:
I (main topic) + Matt (Name) +am or is (verb).
Firstly, 私は (わたしは or Watashi wa) meaning ‘I’ and ‘は’ is the main topic marker, the main topic in this sentence is the person who is introducing him or herself. The use of です (Desu) is similar to the meaning of ‘is’ or ‘be’ and is usually used at the end of a sentence. Finally, you would say your name in the middle of the sentence. We will explore how to turn your name into Katakana characters and sounds in a future module.
Other greetings and questions you may use after introducing yourself include:
はじめまして – How do you do (used for first time you meet someone) (Hajimemashite)
よろしくお願いします – – Please to meet you or Nice to meet you (used for your initial introduction) (よろしくおねがいします or Yoroshiku onegai shimasu)
お名前は何ですか – What is your name ? (おなまえはなんですか or Onamae wa nan desu ka)
お名前 or 名前 – Name (おなまえ or なまえ or Onamae or Namae)
何 – what (なん or なに or Nan or Nani)
Work and Professions
Talking about work or professions follows a similar structure to the introduction of your name. The general word for work is 仕事 (しごと or shigoto), and you can use this in a variety of scenarios, questions or statements. In this situation, we will keep it simple to demonstrate how you can explain your job or profession. Basically, 私の仕事は (わたしのしごとは or Watashi no shigoto wa) means ‘my job’ or ‘my work’. In this situation the use of ‘の’ as a possessive particle indicates ownership, so in this scenario meaning my work.
私の仕事は医者です – I work as a Doctor. (わたしのしごとはいしゃです or Watashi no shigoto wa isha desu)
The general structure is set out as follows:
My work (main topic) + Doctor (Profession) + is (verb).
Other work related phrases and vocabulary that may come in handy are:
お仕事は何ですか – What is your job ? (おしごとはなんですか or Oshigoto wa nan desu ka)
医者 – Doctor (いしゃ or Isha)
歯医者 – Dentist (はいしゃ or Haisha)
弁護士 – Lawyer (べんごし or Bengoshi)
看護師 – Nurse (かんごし or Kangoshi)
先生 – Teacher/Professor (せんせい or Sensei)
会計士 – Accountant (かいけいし or Kaikeishi)
学生 – Student (がくせい or Gakusei)
Age and Birthdays
Talking about age can sometimes be considered a sensitive subject, and in many cultures is completely disregarded altogether. In other cases, people may just not be comfortable sharing this kind of information. However, if you’re not concerned about this kind of thing, you can use the guide below to tell people your age.
The general structure for explaining your age is as such:
Age (number) + is (verb).
30歳です。- I am 30 years old. (さんじゅうさいです or Sanjuu sai desu)
You will notice in this scenario, we have not included the 私は (わたしは or Watashi wa) meaning ‘I’ and ‘は’. This is primarily because the subject is clear, as you are introducing yourself, there is no need to keep repeating ‘I’ constantly in Japanese and so this can be omitted. This is also demonstrated below for your birthday.
The general structure for explaining your birthday is below:
Birthday (topic marker) + date (number) + is (verb).
As an example:
誕生日は3月の12日です – My birthday is on the 12th of March. (たんじょうびはさんがつのじゅうににちです or Tanjyoubi wa sangatsu no juuni nichi desu)
Again, we have not included the 私の (わたしの or Watashi no) meaning ‘I’ and the ‘の’ as a possessive particle as the subject is clear, and there is no need to be repetitive. It is clear that you are speaking about your own birthday.
Basic vocabulary and phrases for years, numbers and birthday is as follows:
生年月日 – Date of birth or DOB (せいねんがっぴ or Seinengappi)
生年月日はいつですか – When is your date of birth ?
誕生日 – Birthday (たんじょうび or Tanjyoubi)
お誕生日はいつですか – When is your birthday ?
〜歳 – Counter for age in years (〜さい or ~sai)
We have also provided a chart of numbers, including general Japanese numbers, days of the month, months and ages, you can also download a copy here.
Hobbies and Interests
Talking about hobbies and interests is also normal when introducing yourself, especially in Japanese. The word for hobby is 趣味 (しゅみ or shumi) and is commonly used in initial introductions or conversation. You may also talk about your interests or 興味があること (きょうみがあること or kyoumi ga aru koto), which as you can see is expressed a little differently.
The general structure for explaining your hobbies is as follows:
Hobby (topic marker) + hobby list + is (verb).
Similarly, we have omitted the use of わたし and の as explained in previous examples, as per the the following example:
趣味は、ハイキングとテニスです。My hobbies are hiking and tennis. (しゅみは、ハイキングとテニスです or Shumi ha haikingu to tenisu desu)
Some other vocabulary that may come in handy for hobbies and interests includes:
ジョギング- Jogging (じょぎんぐ or Jogingu)
ランニング – running (らんにんぐ or Ranningu)
運動 – exercise (うんどう or Undou)
ゴルフ – golf (ごるふ or Gorufu)
スポーツ – Sports (すぽーつ or Suppotsu)
日本語の勉強 – Studying Japanese (にほんごのべんきょう or Nihongo no benkyou)
料理 – cooking (りょうり or Ryouri)
アウトドア – Outdoor activities (あうとどあ or Auttodoa)
水泳 – Swimming (すいえい or Suiei)
買い物 or ショッピング – Shopping (かいもの or Kaimono) or (しょっぴんぐ or Shoppingu)
芸術 or アート – Art (げいじゅつ or Geijutsu) or (あーと or Aato)
Feel free to try to write your own Japanese self-introductions in the comments section. Also, feel free to comment on this article if this was helpful or share it with your friends. Good luck with your studies!