Happy Birthday in Japanese: How to Say It and How to Celebrate It! (2023)

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Have you ever wondered what to do when celebrating your birthday in Japan? Or how the Japanese celebrate birthdays? Or most importantly –how to say congratulations in japaneseWe protect you!

Until the 1950s, it was not customary to celebrate birthdays in Japan. In fact, they considered every New Year a common birthday for everyone!

In modern times, birthdays are celebrated as the Japanese adopted some western customs and holidays. Due to a lack of early birthday customs in Japan, the birthday song is sung in English.

Here are some examples of how to say "Happy Birthday" in Japanese, plus some fun facts about Japanese birthdays!


  1. How to say happy birthday in Japanese
    • Otanjoubi omedetou gozaimasu
    • Happii basuudee
    • Suteki na ichinichi wo
    • Suteki na otanjoubi wo sugoshite kudasai
    • Subarashii ichinen ni narimasu du ni
    • Kore kara mo douzo ogenki de ite kudasai
  2. How do Japanese celebrate birthdays?
  3. Giving on Japanese birthdays
  4. Special birthdays in Japan
    • Shichi-go-san (3, 5 and 7 years old)
    • Seijinshiki (20 Jahre)
    • Celebrations for seniors (over 60)

How to say happy birthday in Japanese

There are many ways to wish your friends, family, and even co-workers a happy birthday in Japanese! You can use them in conversation or even as a message on a birthday card.

Here are somejapanese birthday wishesattempt.

(Video) Learn How to Say Happy Birthday In Japanese 🎉 Birthday Song

Otanjoubi omedetou gozaimasu

Happy Birthday

Happy Birthday

happy birthday (polite)

The word for "birthday" in Japanese istanjoubi(birthday / happy birthday).Omedetou(Congratulations) means "congratulations" or "best wishes".

You may find that there is a slight difference in howtanjoubiused here: In Japanese grammar there is a term called "polite speech" orkeigo (敬語 / けいご). One way to make a native Japanese noun polite is to add an 'o' (お) before it, just like ino-tanjoubi(Birthday / Happy Birthday).

The 'o' is called the 'honorary prefix' and you can learn more about itHere.

gozaimasu(ございます) is basically a very polite version of the verb "to be". Here it is used to make your greeting even more respectful!

This type of greeting is appropriate for most people, but for those closest to you, you can use one of the following less formal variations:

  • Otanjoubi omedetou(Happy Birthday / Happy Birthday) – polite (but a little less formal than the full version,otanjoubi omedetou gozaimasu)
  • Tanjoubi omedetou(Happy Birthday / Happy Birthday) - casual to use with friends

Happii basuudee

Happy Birthday

Happy Birthday (casual)

This greeting is a loan word from English, which is why it is called written in the Japanese scriptKatakana!Happii basuudeepronounced with a Japanese accent, it's an extremely casual way to greet your friends and family on their birthday.

Would you like to learn to read Japanese? download yoursfree hiragana and katakana workbook here!

Suteki na ichinichi wo

Have a nice day

Have a good day

I hope you have a wonderful day

(Video) Happy Birthday in Japanese

This is a way to express your well wishes to a birthday girl!Suteki na ichinichi woIt can be used between friends, family and even co-workers.

Suteki na(cool/adorable) is an adjective that can be translated as "adorable" or "wonderful".ichinichi(Ichinichi / Ichinichi) bedeutet 'um dia inteiro'.

Suteki na otanjoubi wo sugoshite kudasai

have a nice birthday

Please have a wonderful birthday

hope you have a great birthday

Sugoshite kudasaimeans "please issue". Translated, the phrase means "Please pass / Please have a great/wonderful birthday"!

can you replacesuteki nawith other adjectives such asTanoshii(fun/fun), meaning "fun"!

Subarashii ichinen ni narimasu du ni

I hope you have a wonderful year

I hope you have a wonderful day

I wish you a wonderful year ahead

This one is a bit more formal than the previous sentence, so it's appropriate to use in the workplace.

Subarashii(wonderful/wonderful) is another word that can be translated as "wonderful" whileIchinen(a year / Ichinen) means “a year”.

Kore kara mo douzo ogenki de ite kudasai

Please continue to stay healthy.

Please stay healthy from now on.

Please stay healthy from now on.

Being healthy and happy doesn't end at the last second of the birthday. To wish someone well after their special day, this is another thoughtful phrase you can use!

(Video) How to say Happy Birthday in Japanese | Japanese Language for beginner | Practice Japanese

Kore kara mo(From now on) means “also after”.Douzo(please) means 'Please' or 'kindly'.

How do Japanese celebrate birthdays?

In some cultures, the birthday person is supposed to give gifts to guests on their special day, but in Japan, it's more common to see friends or family planning and preparing for someone's birthday party!

Couples often spend their wedding day with their partner. Sweet is not it? For families, especially young children, parents take care of party planning, decorations, food and gifts. As with most children's birthday parties, colleagues and friends are also invited.

Happy Birthday in Japanese: How to Say It and How to Celebrate It! (1)

The restaurants also offer giftssaabisu(サービス) for customers who come for dinner on their birthday, usually in the form of desserts.

Giving on Japanese birthdays

Gifts are generally not expected unless you are a family member or close friend of the celebrant, but that doesn't mean you aren't welcome!giving japanese giftCustoms can sometimes be tricky, but the most popular gifts on birthdays are sweets, food (especially cake!) and small trinkets.

Birthday cards are also a popular and easy gift to give to someone with a heartfelt message. Nowadays, people mainly send their birthday wishes via SMS, chat apps or phone calls.

Special birthdays in Japan

Japan has a unique way of celebrating birthdays, especially those that are considered "big birthdays"! What are some examples of special birthdays?

Shichi-go-san (3, 5 and 7 years old)

Shichi-go-san (Shichigosan / Shichigo) is translated in 7-5-3 It is a special holiday for children aged 3, 5 and 7 years. Celebrated every November 15 (put 3, 5, and 7 together!) and is an occasion to wish for long life.

In the past, there was a greater risk of children dying early due to poverty or starvation, so parents prayed at shrines for a long life for their children.

atshichi-go-san, the boys wear traditional Japanese clothing such asAlsoorHappy birthdayand the girls useKimono, along with some accessories and even makeup! Parents take their children to a shrine to pray for their child's health and safety.

Happy Birthday in Japanese: How to Say It and How to Celebrate It! (2)

called special sweetschitose ame(Chitosame / Chitosame) are given to children. The candies are long and thin, symbolizing the longevity of life.

Check out this video fromJapanesePod101to learn more about itshichi-go-san!

Seijinshiki (20 Jahre)

Seijinshiki(Coming of Age Ceremony / Seijinshiki) It's a coming-of-age celebration for all 20-year-olds! This is celebrated every second Monday in January. It used to be celebrated every January 15, but this date made it difficult for people to return to their hometown to celebrate, so switching to a Monday gave people more time to go home at the weekend.

Permission(成人) means "adult" or "adult" andSchiki(式) means "ceremony". On this day, 20-year-old men wear suits or suitsAlso, while women wear kimonos (usuallyfuronatrium, a type of long-sleeved kimono usually worn by unmarried women).

Happy Birthday in Japanese: How to Say It and How to Celebrate It! (3)

The age of 20 is significant as it is the legal age at which individuals can vote, drive, drink and smoke. The revelers gather in their respective town halls for a ceremony and then visit the shrines. They may host parties or gatherings at the end of the day where they can finally have a drink together.Sin!

Celebrations for seniors (over 60)

Finally, there are several special birthdays for seniors.

(Video) Celebrating Birthdays in Japanese - Japanese Conversational Phrases

Ö60th anniversary orKanreki(60th anniversary / Kanreki) is particularly important. This culminates in five full cycles of thejapanese zodiac, a time when a person is said to be “born again.”

The colors red and white are often usedKanreki. For example called a sleeveless red jacketTschanchanko(ちゃんちゃんこ) is used to represent a baby's jacket and a person's rebirth. White cranes and red turtles are also placed on cakes used for the occasion. White herons symbolize 1,000 years and red turtles 10,000 years!

Other famous age groups include the "double digit" age groups.

Ö77th birthday orstick on(Kiju / Kiju), also called the 'happy old man'! In earlier Japanese calligraphy, the kanji was forfor喜 (meaning "rejoice") was written to appear as if there were two sevens (七七) in the character!

Ö88th birthday orkiss (Beiju / Beiju) is also called “travel time”. The sign for "rice" isNOorthose(米) and looks like the kanji for eight-teen-eight (八十八).

Ö99th birthday orHe does not know (Hakuju / Hakuju) is called the "white age".hakuorSchiro(白) and it shinesHyaku(百), the kanji for "one hundred", but without the hyphen at the top! Trace is also an autonomous radicalIchi(一), meaning "one".

Do you want to start learning kanji? download yoursFREE Kanji eBook hereand learn all about radicals - the easiest way to learn kanji!

happy birthday in japanese

So now you know different ways to say happy birthday in Japanese. If you are looking for Japanese birthday wishes or messagessend to a friend, we hope you found inspiration here.

If you are ready to continue your Japanese language journey, our recommended online course isJapanesePod101!

JapanesePod101 offers a complete system for learning the Japanese language at any level, from beginner to advanced. Self-paced courses include audio lessons, printable worksheets, study tools (like quizzes and flashcards), and more.

Sign up for a free lifetime account here.

JapanesePod101 currently offers FULL access toAbsolute beginner course(more than 90 audio lessons!), totally free.

Learn more about celebrations in Japan:

  • Christmas in Japan: How to Celebrate Like a Local
  • How to Say Merry Christmas (And Other Seasonal Greetings) in Japanese
  • New Year in Japan: Traditions, Food and Celebrations
  • How to say Happy New Year in Japanese
Happy Birthday in Japanese: How to Say It and How to Celebrate It! (4)

Thea Ongchua

Thea is a freelance copywriter currently specializing in Japanese Studies. She enjoys making art and gets inspiration from movies and music. Thea was inspired to study Japanese language and culture by reading the literary works of Haruki Murakami and Edogawa Ranpo.

(Video) How to say Happy Birthday in Japanese | Celebration phrases |


1. How to say "Happy Birthday" in Japanese & Birthday Culture 【Japanese, English sub】
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2. How to say "Happy Birthday" in Japanese! - Otanjyōbi Omedetō!
3. Birthday Phrases in Japanese (It's MY BIRTHDAY :3)
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4. How to say Happy Birthday in Japanese! [Learn Japanese with Anime and Manga]
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