Going to live in Japan? Better prepare yourself with a Japanese self-introduction, jikoshoukai, as you will inevitably have to go through this painful yet, necessary experience. Yes, in Japan, probably more than once and in various contexts, be it in school, at work or even some parties, you will have to introduce yourself. What should you say? How to condense everything about you in one minute? Do not be afraid, we will introduce step by step the way to give a successful jikoshoukai!
A self-introduction always starts…
… With a salutation and the statement of your name. Whether you prepare to introduce yourself to a curious crowd of classmates or to one person, care to greet first! Depending on the time of the day, you may say ohayou gozaimasu, konnichiha, konbanwa or simply “hajimemashite”: nice to meet you.
You can politely say your name with the desu copula or the verb to say. In a more formal context, such as an interview, you should use a more formal structure. Note that Japanese people are used to give the family name first and then their given name.
Watashi nonamae ha bondo jieemuzu desu.
My name is James bond.
Bondo, jieemuzu desu.
I am James Bond.
Bondo, jieemuzu to iimasu.
My name is James Bond.
Bondo, jieemuzu to moushimasu.
I am James Bond.
… Where are you from?
Being a foreigner in Japan is always stimulating the imagination of Japanese. Whether you are from Spain, Germany or Australia, they will more likely give some exotic origins and be surprised to hear the truth. So the next step of your jikoshoukai is to introduce your country and eventually your city! Tips: if you are American and wish to precise your state, you will have to use shuu (州, しゅう).
Igirisu (no rondon) kara kimashita.
I came from London, England.
Amerika no karifuorunia shuu kara kimashita.
I came from California, in America.
You can also tell where you are from with the word for origins (出身, しゅっしん) or an even easier way would be to give your nationality by adding jin (人, じん) after a country’s name.
Madoriddo shusshin desu.
I am from Madrid.
Pari shusshin desu.
I am from Paris.
Doetsu jin desu.
I am German.
Indoneshia jin desu.
I am Indonesian.
Why do you study Japanese?
Obviously, this is the hot point of your introduction. Not only will Japanese be flattered, but they will be eager to know why you are studying their language. If you are confident enough, you can speak about for how long you have studied Japanese, how, where etc. .
Nihon no bunka ni kyoumi ga aru kara, nihongo wo benkyou shite imasu.
I am interested in the Japanese culture, that is why I study Japanese.
If you are in Japan… Why?
You could have closed earlier. But giving more details is the recipe for a good jikoshoukai, after which you will proudly answer the crowd’s questions. Many reasons might have led you to come to live in Kawagoe or in Sapporo. Whether you are in Japan for a short stay out of pure curiosity or for a longer commitment, you should say…
Nihongo wo benkyou suru tame ni nihon ni kimashita.
I came to Japan to study Japanese.
What do you do… ?
Whether you are a student or working, the “occupation” has an important place in Japanese culture. The Japanese you are introducing yourself to will not be surprised to hear you stating what you are doing. Students can say that they are studying at University or in a school or state that they are (university or not) students.
Daigaku /gakkou de benkyou shite imasu.
(dai) gakusei desu.
If you are working, the following examples should help you prepare your introduction:
Watashi no shigoto ha sensei desu.
I work as a teacher.
Eigo no sensei desu.
I am an English teacher.
Supeingo no sensei wo shite imasu.
I work as a Spanish teacher.
Depending on your level, you can always try to give a more rich jikoshoukai explaining in more details what you are studying or exactly doing at your workplace.
What do you like… ?
This part would be smart in a friendly context. If you are meeting new people, it is always enjoyable to share your passions in Japanese. You can speak about your hobbies and what you like in various ways but the two easiest ones are the expression to like (好き, suki) and the word hobby (趣味, shumi).
Ryouri suki desu.
I like cooking.
Shumi ha supottsu desu.
My hobby is sport.
Shumi ha manga wo yomu koto desu.
My hobby is to read manga.
The final step: yoroshiku!
We have spoken before of the wonders of the Japanese yoroshiku onegaishimasu an expression difficult to translate in other languages. A jikoushokai usually ends with this phrase, meaning in such context, that you look forward to the relationship with your new friends.
Kongo mo douzo yoroshiku onegai itashimasu
I look forward to our relationship from now on.
Douzo yoroshiku onegai shimasu.
I look forward to our relationship.
Now, you are ready for your very first jikoshoukai! Always remember that a self-introduction with a group of friends or with your new boss will be different. You can be casual with people of your age, but should always be formal in a business environment. Be even more prepared to give a strong and polite self-introduction for a job interview!
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How to introduce yourself in Japanese (Easy to detailed self introduction)
Whatever your reason for learning Japanese, you will probably end up in a lot of situations where you need to introduce yourself. Therefore, we have compiled a few sentence structures, some vocabulary and other important points you can use for your own self-introduction.
[How to start your self-introduction]
The very first word you will need to start your self-introduction with is “初めまして (Nice to meet you)”. Saying “初めまして” is considered polite upon meeting someone for the first time and will help you leave a good impression.
Nice to meet you, something you say upon meeting someone for the first time
[Stating your name]
After beginning with “初めまして”, the natural thing to do next is telling the other person your name. There are several ways to say your name:
|I am ＿＿＿.|
|I am called ＿＿＿.|
|My name is ＿＿＿.|
So, for example, you can say: “ (My name is Shiho)”. If you have a name other than your real name that you would like to be called, e.g. a nickname, you can follow up by saying the following:
|＿＿＿と||My name is ＿＿＿. Please call me ＿＿＿.|
So, for example you could say:
|クラーラと||My name is Shiho. Please call me Clara.|
[Stating where you are from]
The next thing to do is let everyone know where you are from. For the place, you can use your country or hometown, depending on the situation you are introducing yourself in. Usually, as a foreigner in Japan, it is most common to state your country.
|＿＿＿||I am from ＿＿＿.|
If where you were born/are from originally and where you currently live are two different places, you can follow up by specifically stating where you are residing at the moment:
|Currently I am living in ＿＿＿.|
So to give you an example, you could say:
|I am from Tokyo. Currently I am living in Osaka.|
[Stating your occupation]
Next up, you can let everyone know what your current occupation is. The hard thing about this might actually be knowing what your own occupation means in Japanese, so don’t forget to look it up beforehand! Also, see the different version for stating when you are a student and what you are studying:
|I work as a/an ＿＿＿.|
|I study ＿＿＿ at university.|
You can follow up on this and give more specifics by mentioning where exactly you work.
|I work as a/an ＿＿＿.|
So for example, you could say:
|はの||I work as a middle school teacher. My workplace is in Kyoto.|
|I study economics at university.|
You can also combine stating your work and workplace in one sentence. In that case, please try using the following sentence.
|I work as a/an ＿＿＿ and my workplace is near ＿＿＿.|
[Stating your hobbies]
The next part is really important. To have everyone know what kind of person you are, you can talk about your hobbies or other important things in your life. You can also line up several hobbies by using the particles “と” or “や”.
|My hobby is ＿＿＿.|
|My hobbies are ＿＿＿ and ＿＿＿.|
So for example, you could say:
|My hobbies are traveling and painting.|
If you have a lot of hobbies, it’s best not to say them all in one sentence. If you have a wide variety of interests and would like to introduce them all, say your most favorite ones first. Then you continue the sentence with “あとは (Furthermore)”. See the example below:
|ること、ることです。あとは、ショッピングをしたり、||My hobbies are watching movies, painting, and photography. Furthermore, I like shopping and traveling.|
If you would like to elaborate even further, you can explain why exactly you like these things. Since Japan values food very highly, something that can also be mentioned when introducing yourself is what kind of food you like or dislike.
|は＿＿＿です。||My favorite food is ＿＿＿.|
|いなは＿＿＿です。||Food I dislike is ＿＿＿.|
Furthermore, you could talk about what you like to do on your day off. That way, you can give people an idea as to what you are up to on weekends and try to let them know what kind of person you are.
|みのにはよく＿＿＿をします。||On my day off I like to ＿＿＿.|
|みのにはジムにって、をします。||On my day off I like to go to the gym and work out.|
Since most of you reading this article are probably Japanese learners, one final thing you can let everyone know is why you started learning Japanese. Mostly every Japanese person will be curious about this, so here is how it goes:
|をしめたきっかけは＿＿＿です。||The reason I started learning Japanese is ＿＿＿.|
|しめたきっかけは、のアニメがきだからです。||The reason I started learning Japanese is because I like Anime.|
Now, the final step of your self-introduction is wrapping everything up and giving it a natural sounding ending. There are several ways you can end your self-introduction naturally. Pick one of the following:
|よろしくおいします。||Rough translation: I look forward to working with you/Please treat me well.|
|です。||That’s all (very formal).|
“です” is a somewhat stiff, formal way of ending your self-introduction. It’s best used in very formal settings, e.g. at your workplace if it has a rather formal environment.
Lastly, why don’t you revise Shiho’s own self-introduction and see if you can come up with something similar?
If any of the grammar used in this article is unclear, head over to our full list of Japanese grammar reference.
|初めまして||Nice to meet you|
|A person’s origin, birthplace|
|みの||A day off|
|に||In practice, actually|