We’d like to introduce how to write goodbye emails both to co-workers and to clients, so for internal and external in Japanese. You will also find tips and taboos about your farewell message with examples.
Timing when you send goodbye emails
You may wonder the rule and manners in Japan when you should do it. We have 2 patterns when you write in for internal or for external. Let’s check the both cases.
The answer is on the last day. This is the standard in Japan. Of course, if your company has different custom for it, then prior to that custom. But in most case, you should send the goodbye email on your last day of work. If you consume the left paid-holidays, send it before the holidays, so the last day you go to the office. Ideally send the email in the afternoon, the best would be after 16 pm since all colleagues need to read more emails in the morning time.
The best timing to send the goodbye email to external co-workers is 2 – 3 weeks before your last working day. The reason is that it will make things easier when you have to take over your tasks to your successor. At the same time, you can give a good impression to your clients because they would also need time to adapt the new successor, or they still might need to talk or ask you about specific stuff regarding job.
Basic manner for sending goodbye emails in Japan
Is mass email ok?
The co-workers to whom you send emails are those who you had things to do with. Many people may not be sure whether it is okay to send goodbye emails to all at once. However, in general, mass email is not rude.
In case of mass email, pay attention to the destination. The point is to put the person you want to send in “bcc” and put your own address in “To”. Of course, you can send an individual email to those who have taken care of you. You would be able to maintain a good relationship even after you retire.
The best way to convey your thanks is to have the opportunity to meet. But also send the goodbye emails to the people who you greeted directly (face to face).
Should I mention about why I leave the company?
No, you don’t have to write the reason. It is even better not to write it. “一身上の都合 = personal matter” is enough.
Can I add “keep in touch” message and my private email address?
For internal email, yes, you can add your email address for future possible connection. But not for external goodbye emails. The relationship with your clients is just through the company. So, you may not add your private contact data. Another reason: in case your future business involves the same clients or external co-workers of the company, it can be regarded as “Using customer information” which belong to the company. If you really want to exchange the contact address with external co-workers, ask your boss about it.
Practical examples for internal goodbye email for co-workers
Now let’s check the example. You may probably feel that the English translation is not natural at all. We wanted to remain the nuance of the original text in Japanese, so that you can recognize what Japanese native speaker really write. In case you send the goodbye email in English, refer only to the manners and basic structure, and please adjust the individual sentence.
件名 (subject line)：退職のご挨拶（鈴木）
Subject line: Retirement greetings (Suzuki = your name)
Dear all of XXX Department YYY Section
Due to personal reasons, I will leave the company at the end of March, so today is the last day of work. Actually, I should say goodbye directly, but I’m sorry to say it by email.
Thank you very much for your help during my enrollment. I am grateful to all of you for your warm words of encouragement. I sometimes faced difficulties, but I learned a lot from those. I would like to continue to utilize the experience I have cultivated at this company.
The contact information after retirement will be as follows, so we would appreciate it if you could continue to contact us.
Last but not least, I pray for your continued health and success. Thank you very much until now.
Practical examples for internal goodbye email for boss
Basically, the content is the same as the email to co-workers. You could, however, emphasis the thank to the person. And just to be on the safe side, send the emails to bosses individually.
件名 (subject line)：退職のご挨拶（鈴木）
Subject line: Retirement greetings (Suzuki)
Sales Department XXX Manager
It is Suzuki of development part. Due to personal reasons, I will retire today. I wanted to say goodbye directly, I’m sorry to say it by email.
It has been a long time since I joined the company in August 2015, I was in charge of various jobs. XXX manager, I am very grateful for the guidance and encouragement I received from you, I learned a lot. I would like to make use of my valuable experience in my future life and work hard.
The contact information after retirement will be as follows, so I would appreciate it if you keep in touch with me.
Last but not least, I would like to express my deepest gratitude to you for your kindness and wish you all the best of luck and good health.
Practical examples for external goodbye email
Don’t forget to introduce who is going to take over your task, and the date when is your last day of work.
件名 (subject line)：退職のご挨拶（〇〇株式会社 鈴木）
Subject line: Retirement greetings (XXX Co., Ltd. Suzuki = your name)
Dear Mr. XXX of YYY Co., Ltd.
Thank you for your continued support. I’m Suzuki from ZZZ Co., Ltd. I am very sorry for my personal affairs, but due to personal reasons, I will leave the company on March 31st.
I would like to express my sincere gratitude to you, Mr. XXX for your support. We apologize for the fact that the greeting was sent by e-mail, although it should have been a direct greeting.
Mr. XXX, I learned a lot from you, you have been taking care of me from the beginning. I still remember receiving warm words of encouragement when I couldn’t make a good result.
The successor will be Mr. Yamamoto of the same department. He will visit you at a later date, so we appreciate your continued guidance.
Last but not least, I pray for the development of your company and the continued success of Mr. XXX.
You can also refer to our guidance for farewell speech in Japanese at work.