Expression Question

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What are ways to say goodbye in Japanese?

Jacob Thomson Jacob Thomson (0) on 29/05/15

What are common ways to say goodbye in Japanese for different situations?

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When you leave home, the leaver says "ittekimasu" 行ってきますand the person staying says "itterashai" いってらっしゃい.

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If you want to be poetic, you could say さらば saraba, which is similar to the English farewell - and in its normal sense also used like that, as a last goodbye. E.g. さらば友よ! saraba tomo yo! - Farewell, my friends!

Among friends you could also use the very informal あばよ abayo, but I would observe your friends first before using something like that. Some of my Japanese friends use it, and then I feel OK using it as well towards them. Its origin lies in the former: さらばよ sarabayo.

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There is

さようなら。sayounara

じゃね。Ja-ne

and バイバイ。bai bai

That's all I know. o. o

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In a work setting, there are some other ways that are cultural norms used in place of a typical goodbye.

  1. お先に失礼します - osaki ni shitsurei shimasu - Excuse me for leaving before you. This is polite to say to co-workers because you are leaving before they have finished their work.
  2. お疲れ様です(でした)- otsukare sama desu / deshita - You've got hard hard work left to do / You've worked hard. Has the understood meaning and sense of gratitude to someone working hard. So it's a polite expression to use with coworkers in many situations, but also for when you tell them goodbye in the evening.

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Other things friends might say to each other:

またね!mata ne (much like see you later)

また遊ぼう!mata asobou (let's play [do something] together again)

じゃあ、また。jaa, mata (well then, later)

また明日!mata ashita (see you again tomorrow)

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Not very interesting, but friends usually just say バイバイ (bye bye).

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さようなら - Sayonara

But really, sayonara isn't used in that many situations. For example, you should use it with your teachers if you're a student leaving a school for the day. It's a formal greeting in this way.

But in other situations it can have the understanding that this is the last time you plan to see someone. It's a very permanent feeling way to say goodbye.

So while it's the most well known way to say goodbye outside of Japan, it's really not used much within Japan. It's a heavy word that is only used in certain situations.

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