Business manners

Japanese Business Phrases for Intermediate Learners

If you have ever studied Japanese language, you may already know what is the difference between spoken and written language as well as between Keigo and Jogo. Honorific and humble forms are very complicated and  can be problematic even for the Japanese, not to mention the foreigners. However, the better your Japanese language skills are, the higher hurdles you have to face.

It is so, because in every language every word choice can make a small, but important difference, and it may often happen that you will be understood not in the way that you expected. And if you speak Japanese fluently, your interlocutor may not know whether you meant something intentionally or just made a mistake; so especially for the immediate learners it is very important to know the right expression.

In this article we will introduce 12 phrases that are often used in daily business conversations and email exchange. These are originally introduced in a book “Vocabulary notebook for adults” which you can find on Amazon. The book is written for Japanese people, which means that these phrases are not easy even for them, but if you can handle it, your language skills will change for better from tomorrow on.

Please note: the first line is a polite common phrase, and the second one is a professional phrase. On business occasions Japanese people usually use the second one.

Japanese Business Phrases For Intermediate Learners

Could you give me your advice/instruction on how to…

This phrase can be used when you want to learn about the work know-hows or work procedures.

I’ll do my best

“がんばります” is a very popular Japanese word, which is easy to remember. However, on business occasions you can show even more commitment with the second phrase.

Something like that

“おおむね” is a useful word when you want to express something roughly, broadly or loosely.

Ah, I see

This is a quick response which you can use to make a conversation go smoothly. “さようですか” will effectively work especially when you have to listen to a complaint.

I will never forget

“肝 (Kimo)” is “heart” or “soul” and “銘ずる (Meizuru)” means “to engrave”, so together it can be translated as something  like “I will memorize it in my heart”. It can be used not only as a substitute for “forget” but for many other situations as well: for example, if your boss is angry with you and tells you off, you can say “肝に銘じます” in order to show that you’re sorry, meaning „I’ll never repeat it“.

I know him/her

“存じる” is humble expression of “知る”. If the object is a person you can use “存じ上げております“ which is even more polite.

I would appreciate if you could wait for 3 more days.

This suits perfectly when you want to delay deadlines. “猶予” means “to postpone” a postponement and the phrase can be used in business situations.

I’m really happy.

When you receive a compliment about your results or achievements, you can use this phrase instead of “嬉しいです”.

Understood / Certainly / Got it.

“了解です” shouldn’t be used in a conversation with someone who has a higher position than you. It is better to use “承知致しました” when you speak to your boss, customers or clients. “了解です” is used in a conversation with someone who has the same or lower position than you.

Please consider it.

If you’d like someone to have a look at the document, you can also say “ご一読下さい(ごいちどく)”.

I hope you’ll reconsider.


I’m aware this might appear to be impossible, but…

It is always nice to show your awareness of the difficulty of the task you are asking for; it will also make it easier to be accepted.


All the phrases listed above are polite, because they are Keigo, but the second ones are very professional. However, don’t use them in a conversation with your friends or colleagues you see every day, as it will be considered too polite. These phrases are the most useful in a conversation with your boss or clients.

Want to learn more about Japanese business phrases? This article “Business Japanese phrases you should know before start working in Japan” will help you to learn more about it!

Yuki Nagahori
BA in German / Japan Country Manager at editorial company → Sales → currently sales planner based in Hamburg, Germany