Introduce Yourself Essay Japanese Dictionary

When you start learning Japanese or are visiting Japan for the first time, there are few words to learn right away:

  1. konnichiwa
  2. arigatou
  3. sumimasen

Once you've mastered those three, you need to learn your jikoshoukai.


Jikoshoukai is the Japanese word for "self-introduction." In theory, this is similar to how you would introduce yourself in your own culture. Say hello, say your name, tell a little about yourself. But in practice, there are cultural differences and set procedures you should stick to. You only get one first impression, so it's important to learn how to do it right.

We'll start by teaching you the basic Japanese self-introduction, then cultural subtleties, and finally a ton of extra grammar and vocabulary you can use to talk about yourself with your new Japanese friends.

How to Jikoshoukai

Going to Japan, but don't know Japanese? Don't worry. You can jikoshoukai. The Japanese self-intro has a standard order and set phrases, so even beginners can meet and greet in Japanese.

Jikoshoukai Vocabulary

How do you do?

The set phrase hajimemashite either comes from the verb hajimeru, which means "to start," or it's a shortened form of おにかかりまして. Though etymologists aren't sure of the word's true origin, hajimemashite implies beginning or doing something for the first time. Most people think of it as saying "How do you do?" or "Nice to meet you."

to be called
  • は [name] と。
  • My name is [name].

The breakdown of this sentence is easier than it looks. It has three parts:

  1. - The first word 私 means "I" or "me." It's followed by the particle は which indicates the topic of the sentence. In this case, 私 is the topic.
  2. [name] - Your name.
  3. - One meaning of the verb 申す is "to be called." It's paired with the particle と and conjugated to 申します。 This is a polite phrase, so it's safe to use in almost any situation.

When you put them all together, you get something along the lines of "I am called [name]" or "My name is [name]."

Please be kind to me
  • よろしくおします。
  • Please be kind to me.

The final piece of the puzzle is よろしくおします. It doesn't translate well to English, which is why we wrote a whole article about it. In a self-intro situation, it means something like "Please be kind to me." It's often translated as "Nice to meet you." This isn't technically correct, though it carries a similar feeling.

Writing Your Jikoshoukai

Now that you've got the basic building blocks down, it's time to put it together. At its simplest, the jikoshoukai sequence is:

  • はじめまして。は (name) とします。よろしくおいします。
  • How do you do? My name is (name). Please be kind to me.

See? Not so hard. When you're getting ready to meet Japanese people for the first time, write this out and practice until it flows. If you're a beginner at Japanese, you don't need any more than this.

Jikoshoukai Etiquette

It's great to know the words to say when introducing yourself in Japanese, but how you say those words will make or break your jikoshoukai.

There are cultural differences to be aware of. They're subtle, so if you miss them it probably won't be counted against you. But paying attention to details like these can give you an extra social edge when you first meet a new Japanese friend.

1. First Name and Family Name

In English, people usually introduce themselves by their first names or full names. When you give your full name, the first name comes first and the family name afterward.

In Japanese, people usually introduce themselves by their family names or full names. When they introduce their full name, the family name comes first and the first name comes second.

2. Occupation

Revealing one or two of your strengths is fine, but listing all your amazing abilities will annoy others and make you seem over-confident.

In English, when you asked what you do for work, you give a brief summary of your job, or the name of your profession.

In Japan, it's common to answer only, "です。" (I'm an office worker./I work for a company./I'm a salaryman.)

However, if you introduce yourself to someone in a business setting, mention your company in your self-intro. For example:

  • Tofuguのコウイチと。
  • I'm Koichi from Tofugu.

This concept goes along with our next point…

3. Don't Talk About Yourself Too Much

Japanese people sometimes say lightly self-deprecating things as a form of humility, but it's usually followed by something positive (or the positivity is implied). For example:

  • 至らない点が多いかもしれませんが、頑張りますので、よろしくおします
  • I might have many flaws, but I'll do my best so please be kind to me.

You don't have to say anything like this (in fact, we advise you don't), but the point is this: Japanese people usually keep their strengths on the down-low.

So try not to show off too much. Revealing one or two of your strengths is fine, but listing all your amazing abilities will annoy others and make you seem over-confident.

4. Bowing vs. Handshake

In the West, if you're meeting someone one-on-one, you shake hands.

In Japan, don't move in for the handshake, especially if your status is the same or lower than the person you're meeting. In Japan, handshakes are for equals, so if you try to shake hands with the Emperor, it would be considered rude. Bow instead, and do so at the beginning and end of your jikoshoukai.

5. Holding Your Hands Behind Your Back

In Japan, holding your hands behind your back signals importance, so it may make you look full of yourself. Put your hands in front of you (the left hand on top of the right), or put your hands beside you.

6. Don't Bow While Talking

This is a no-no from our Japanese bowing guide. Do your bowing after giving your self-introduction. Make sure to finish saying "yoroshiku onegaishimasu" and then bow.

Business Cards

Business cards in Japan are called meishi, and are an important part of Japanese culture. Even outside of the business world, Japanese people sometimes have personal meishi made (meishi means "name card" after all).

We covered meishi etiquette in our article about Japanese work customs, but here are the rules again in a jikoshoukai context.

Orient your card toward the recipient. Give and receive meishi with two hands.

  1. Put meishi in a carrying case: You can buy business card carrying cases online or at any department store in Japan. If you don't have a case, you can carefully put the meishi in your purse or wallet after you've received it. Just don't put it in your pocket.

  2. Use two hands: Orient your card toward the recipient when presenting. Hold the top edge with both hands. When they offer their card, accept it with two hands. Try not to cover any words with your fingers either. Some Japanese people are taught that a meishi is the "face" of the person giving it, so you don't want to cover theirs or your own.

  3. When you and your new friend offer each other meishi at the same time: Present your card with your right hand, while simultaneously receiving theirs with your left.

  4. Read meishi you receive: Read the person's name and title on the card before you put it away. Make sure to show interest in what they do. Act at least a little bit impressed with their job title.

  5. When exchanging meishi in a group, give to the most senior person first: Start by giving your business card to the shachou, then fukushachou, and so on down the chain of command.

  6. Treat meishi with respect: Use common sense and treat meishi like you would a gift. Don't toss or write on them.

Expanding the Basic Jikoshoukai

Maybe you've been doing your Japanese self-intro for years, repeating the same three set phrases over and over. Maybe you've read this guide before and have the basics down pat. You're ready to level up!

Below are example sentences you can mix into your standard jikoshoukai to give it more flavor, and make your self-intro a memorable one.

"Nice to Meet You"

Earlier we learned how to use はじめまして (nice to meet you, how do you do). Here's a few ways to add to this set phrase.

  • こんにちは。はじめまして。
  • Hello. Nice to meet you.
  • みなさん、はじめまして。
  • Nice to meet you, everyone.
  • みなさん、こんにちは。はじめまして。
  • Hello everyone. Nice to meet you.


For a formal situation, you should say both your first and last names. In a casual situation, it's common to say only your family name for Japanese people.

If you're an English teacher on something like the JET Program, your school might want you to give your first name when you introduce yourself to the students. Ask your supervisor what's appropriate for the situation.

Below are several ways to introduce your name, organized by politeness in ascending order.


  • のはマイケルですが、みんなにはマイクっています。
  • My name is Michael, but most people call me Mike.



Very Formal:

  • マイケルと。
  • I'm Michael.

Very Formal/Business:

  • Tofuguのマイケルと。
  • I'm Michael from Tofugu.

"Please Be Kind to Me"

When you end your jikoshoukai, you'll use a phrase that means "Please be kind to me" or "Remember me favorably." But once you've got a handle on the standard "yoroshiku onegaishimasu," you can move on to more casual or more formal variations. Below we've organized them by politeness level in ascending order.


  • よろしく。
  • Please be kind to me.


  • どうぞよろしく。
  • Please be kind to me.


  • よろしくおします。
  • Please be kind to me.


  • どうぞ、よろしくおします。
  • Please be kind to me.


  • よろしくお。
  • Please be kind to me.

Very Polite/Business:

  • どうぞ、よろしくお。
  • Please be kind to me.


  • よろしくお。
  • Please be kind to me.

Very Formal/Business:

  • どうぞ、よろしくお。
  • Please be kind to me.

Custom Jikoshoukai Modification

From here we get into the fun stuff. After expanding on the initial three pieces of the Japanese self-introduction, you can start adding information about yourself, short sentences that explain where you're from, what you like to do, and so on.

These jikoshoukai modifications will help people get to know you faster when you first introduce yourself. This is especially important as you start to make more Japanese friends, go on dates, or have job interviews.

Where You Are From

person's origin

Telling where you're from is always a good addition to a self-intro. Even if you don't use it during the initial jikoshoukai, your new Japanese friend will probably ask you anyway, so memorizing a few of these phrases is extra useful.

Two quick vocabulary usage notes: First, the word shusshin mean's "person's origin," and refers more to the place you were born or grew up than where you currently live. It's often used for specific places like a city, state, or prefecture, rather than a country. For example, Mami was born in Osaka, and now lives in Canada. But she spent most of her life in Nara, so she says "のです。" or "はです。"

Second, the verb mairu is a more humble form of kuru or iku. So when is used to talk about where you came from in "アメリカから," it's much more humble, so use it in appropriate situations.

  • アメリカのです。
  • I'm from America.
  • アメリカから。
  • I'm from America.
  • アメリカから。
  • I'm from America.
  • オレゴンのポートランドから。ももポートランドです。
  • I'm from Portland, Oregon. Born and raised.
  • はですが、はです。
  • I was born in Osaka, but grew up in Tokyo.
  • はニューヨークです。
  • I grew up in New York.
  • で。
  • I grew up in the countryside.
  • はですが、のにに。そして、にに、に。
  • I was born in Tokyo, but moved to Osaka when I was ten, and lived there until I entered university, which is when I came to Nagoya.
  • 、がので、にはというのはないんです。
  • My family moved a lot when I was little, so I'm not really from anywhere.

Your School

university, college

School, from elementary up through university, is a big part of Japanese life. Be prepared to have people ask alma mater and what you studied. Or cut them off at the pass by including the information in your jikoshoukai.

  • ⒶⒷⒸのです。
  • I graduated from the Ⓒ department of the faculty of Ⓑ of Ⓐ University.
  • ⒶⒷⒸのです。
  • I'm a student of the Ⓒ department of the faculty of Ⓑ of Ⓐ University.
  • ⒶⒷⒸのです。
  • I'm a second year student of the Ⓒ department of the faculty of Ⓑ of Ⓐ University.
  • オレゴンで、アジアのをしていました。
  • I studied East Asian history at Oregon university for two years.

Your Work

company employee

Occupation is a common conversation topic when meeting someone new. If you're doing business in Japan (or want to), you'd better learn at least one of these phrases.

A quick grammar usage note: some of these jikoshoukai example sentences use the continuous state conjugation of suru which is shiteimasu. If you want to get extra polite with any of these sentences, swap out しています with shiteorimasu. One easy switch and you're ready to tell CEOs and presidents about your work situation.

  • Tofuguでをしています。
  • I'm the chief editor of Tofugu.
  • トヨタでをしています。
  • I'm working in sales at Toyota.
  • にになりました、です。
  • I'm Satou, assigned to the accounts department.
  • はです。
  • I'm an office worker.
  • はのです。
  • I'm an English teacher.
  • はを。
  • I teach English.
  • はこのでを。
  • I'm going to teach English at this school.
  • はフグでいます。
  • I'm working at East Fugu Elementary School.
  • はフグにいます。
  • I'm working for East Fugu Elementary School.

Where You Live

to live, to inhabit

"You live around here?" is a common question no matter the culture. Be ready to answer questions about your living situation with these sentences.

  • にいます。
  • I live in Tokyo.
  • のにいます。
  • I live near Tokyo station.
  • ののマンションにいます。
  • I live in an apartment near Tokyo station.

Hobbies and Proficiencies

hobby, pastime

Hobbies are super important part of life in Japan. Japanese junior high and high school students take school club activities seriously (sometimes more than academics) and this passion often continues into adult life. If you have a hobby, that is your "thing." Even if you don't think of your interests as "hobbies," describe them as such anyway. It will help people understand you better. Alternatively, you can say what you like and don't like.

  • は[____]です。
  • My hobby is [____].
  • は[____]することです。
  • My hobby is to do [____]
  • [____]がです。
  • My hobby is [____].
  • [____]することがです。
  • My hobby is to do [____]
  • は[____]がです。
  • I like [____]
  • [____]もです。
  • I also like [____]
  • [____]はではありません。
  • I don't like [____]
  • は[____]することがです。
  • I like to do [____]
  • は[____]がです。
  • I'm good at [____].
  • は[____]することがです。
  • I'm good at doing [____].
  • は[____]がです。
  • I'm not good at/I don't like [____](noun)
  • は[____]することがです。
  • I'm not good at doing [____].

Plans for the Future

intention, plan

What do you want to be when you grow up? What new skills are you trying to develop? What are you going to eat for lunch tomorrow? Answer these questions and more with the example sentences below.

Grammar usage note: the noun tsumori is used to tell what you plan to do. It's most commonly used in situations where you've already made up your mind. It's definite. Don't use it for instances where you're kind of maybe thinking about something, but you're not sure yet.

  • [____]ようといます。
  • I'm thinking about doing [____].
  • [____]したいといます。
  • I'd like to do [____].
  • [____]つもりです。
  • I'm thinking about doing [____].
  • のは[____]です。
  • My object is [____].
  • [____]にしたいといます。
  • I'd like to challenge [____].

Only the Beginning

Now you know what it takes to put together a stellar jikoshoukai in Japanese. Put the pieces together, mind the cultural differences, and practice till its second nature.

With a solid self-intro on your side, you're poised to start your relationships right. Just don't forget your business cards.

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.

Easy mode:
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.

Nice to meet you!

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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Credits (CC BY 4.0) : Kevin Dooley Title: Tokyo Tower POV source: Flickr

Coto Academy is a unique Japanese Language School in Iidabashi Tokyo, we offer relaxed and fun conversational lessons for all levels of Japanese learner. Coto Japanese Academy prides itself on its community atmosphere and fun lessons that focus on creation of opportunities to speak and learn Japanese. If you are interested in studying Japanese in Tokyo – please visit our contact page here.



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