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How to Say Happy Birthday in Japanese

How to Say Happy Birthday in Japanese

A day that comes once every year, a day that is all about us (to us at least), a day of celebration and presents – birthdays! Who doesn’t love their birthdays, right? The anniversary of our birth should be celebrated, of course! To add another year to our age and life calls for celebration.

In this blog, we will tell you different ways on How to Say Happy Birthday in Japanese.

The Japanese are known for their grace and politeness, so if you happen to live in Japan or have Japanese friends, you should always remember to wish them a Happy Birthday in Japanese.

Did you know birthday celebrations started in Japan only in the last century? Before that, Japanese people usually celebrate the addition of a new year in their lives only on the New Year.

Before we go to the topic at hand, let’s take a look at some,

Japanese Birthday Celebrations and Traditions:

  • Shichi-Go-San
    Shichi-go-san, which means seven, five, and three, is a birthday tradition in Japan, wherein on the seventh, fifth, and third birthdays of Japanese children, their parents would take them to a shrine for the birthday boy or girl’s health and growth. Children are dressed in traditional attires and given traditional gifts of Chitose name, thousand-year candy.
  • First Birthday Celebration
    There is this first birthday tradition called erabitori, wherein the birthday boy or girl chooses an item from various objects placed in front of them. It is believed that the item they pick determines their future. For instance, if the child chooses a musical instrument, be it a toy guitar or harmonica, it means that he will become a musician.
  • 60th Birthday Celebration
    In Japan, the 60th birthday marks the end of one cycle in the zodiac calendar and signifies being reborn or being a child again. The birthday celebration on this day is called Kanreki, wherein the birthday person is dressed in red including a vest and a hat in red as well as a red seat cushion and a white fan. The color red plays an important role as it is believed to give protection to newborn babies.
  • 88th Birthday Celebration
    The 88th birthday of a person in Japan is called the ‘rice birthday’. In Japan, Rice signifies goodness so the 88th birthday celebrations are usually filled with joy and merriment. The birthday person is usually given a walking stick with a pigeon, which is a traditional gift.
  • 99th Birthday Celebration
    Japanese are known for their high long life expectancy. When a person reaches the age of 99, their birthday is called ‘white birthday’. On this day, the attendees of the birthday celebration are dressed in white and give the birthday person traditional Japanese birthday gifts.

Happy Birthday Wishes In Japanese:

  1. Otanjo-bi omedetou!
    (おたんじょうび おめでとう。お誕生日おめでとう)
    Meaning: Happy Birthday!
    This is a more casual way of wishing someone a Happy Birthday in Japanese on their special day. You can use this to wish your friends, family, and loved ones.
  2. Otanjo-bi omedetou gozaimasu!
    (おたんじょうび おめでとう ございます。お誕生日おめでとうございます。)
    This is what you can say if you are wishing your elders or even your boss or supervisor.
  3. Subarashii tanjo-bi ni narimasu youni
    (すばらしい たんじょうびに なりますように。素晴らしい誕生日になりますように。)
    Meaning: Wishing you a wonderful birthday.
    This can be both formal and informal happy birthday wishes in Japanese. So, whether it’s your work colleagues’ or friend’s birthday, you can wish them by saying “Subarashii tanjo-bi ni narimasu youni.”
  4. Anata no negai ga subete kanaimasu youni
    Meaning: May all your birthday wishes come true.
    Much like Subarashii tanjo-bi ni narimasu youni, this can also be either formal or casual. Use this to wish your loved ones or the people at your workplace or school.
  5. Shinyu no anatani, otanjoubi omedetou!
    Meaning: Happy birthday to my best friend!
    This is the perfect birthday wish in Japanese for you BFF.
  6. Okurebasenagara otanjoubi omedetou!
    Meaning: Belated Happy Birthday in Japanese!
    If you happen to forget to wish someone on their actual birthday, it is perfectly ideal to wish them the day after by saying “Okurebasenagara otanjoubi omedetou!”
  7. Otanjo-bi omedetou! Arigatou gozaimasu
    (おたんじょうび おめでとう。お誕生日おめでとう! いつもありがとうございます”)
    Meaning: Happy Birthday! Thank you for your continued help.
    To wish your boss or supervisor on his/her birthday, go with “Otanjo-bi omedetou!”, followed by “Arigatou gozaimasu” to let them know that you appreciate their support and help. This will definitely make their day.
  8. Aisuru anatani, otanjo-bi omedetou!
    (あいするあなたに おたんじょうび おめでとう。愛するあなたに、お誕生日おめでとう)
    Meaning: Happy Birthday, my love!
    For that special someone, be it your boyfriend or girlfriend, make their special day even more special by saying “Aisuru anatani, otanjo-bi omedetou!”

Well, there you have it, ladies and gentlemen – different ways to wish someone a Happy Birthday in Japanese. We hope you are now well versed with Happy Birthday wishes in Japanese.

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Until next time, sayonara for now!

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