How are… you? This is a very important question and is used every day in all conversations around the world. And more importantly, there are TONS of way to say it. Japanese is no different.
Here’s why you should learn the different ways to ask this question.
- You have a greater range of expression – sign of fluency.
- You sound more fluid and more natural.
- One version may be more applicable than another
So in this lesson you will learn the 22 Ways to ask How Are You in Japanese.
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Ready? Let’s go.
1. Asking about their “genki-ness” – How are you?
This is #1 most common way to way to ask how someone is in Japanese. You’ll read this in every textbook and hear this in every lesson. Genki simply means “lively” or “healthy.”
Here’s the polite version to use for strangers and older people.
- O Genki desu ka?
2. Here’s the casual way to use with friends. All you have to do is say this with a question tone.
3. Another variation is… Have you been well? The difference here is that this is in the past tense. You want to know how they’ve been.
- Genki datta?
4. How are you recently?
This is another way to ask about them. In this case, you want to know how they are recently. Note, if you noticed above, keep the “desu ka” and it’s polite. Remove the “desu ka” and it’s casual.
- Saikin wa dou desu ka?
5. And here’s the casual way. You can also say “sakin wa dou” but “wa” can get dropped. Casual is all about dropping words.
- Saikin dou?
Or even more casual, here are some other variants of “How are you” in Japanese.
6. How’s it going?
Super casual. Yo is added for extra enthusiasm.
- Dou yo?
7. How do you feel?
Kibun means mood or feeling. So this question literally asks how your mood or feelings are. This is more about health and well-being (physical or emotional), rather than just asking “how are things?”
- Kibun wa dou desu ka?
8. And more casually…
- Kibun dou?
9. How’s it going?
Choushi means condition. You can only ask this when there’s implied context or some understood situation. For example, if your friend is sick… and you ask him that, you’re referring to his sickness. If your friend is busy at work, this means you want to know about things going on with his work situation.
- Choushi wa dou desu ka?
10. And more casually…
- Choushi wa dou?
11. What’s wrong?
Yes, this should be used in negative situations when you think something is wrong.
- Dou shitan desu ka?
12. And more casually (you can even drop the “no”).
- Dou shita no?
13. What’s goin’ on?
Super casual. When you just want to find out what things have been going on.
- Nani koto da?
14. What are you up to right now?
Very common question among friends. Although it’s not an obvious “how are you,” it’s another variation of find out what’s going on with your friend.
- Ima nani shiteruno?
15. All I want is to know how you really feel.
Now this is a pretty serious way to ask “how are you.” Most people aren’t direct. Ask them directly how they feel.
- Watashi tada anata no hontou no kimochi ga shiritai dake dayo.
16. How have you been? (Long time no see!)
Technically, hisashiburi means “long time no see.” However, it can be interpreted as “how’ve you been?” Use it when you haven’t seen someone in a while!
17. Tell me how you really feel.
If translated literally, it’s “tell me your heart’s voice.” However, you should know that you can’t be literally translating stuff – you’re not capturing the intended meaning.
18. Anything interesting?
This is super casual. It’s like asking “what’s the good news” or “anything good happen lately? It’s a way to dig for positive news in Japanese.
- Nanka omoshiro koto atta?
19. How are things going recently? What are you doing recently?
Here, you’re simply asking what they’ve been doing (shite-imasu) recently (saikin). Just another variation of things you’ve learned before.
- Saikin nani shite-imasuka?
20. Hey, whats up? How are ya?
This is super colloquial and casual. You’ll see “kai” which is the colloquial for “desu ka.” Do NOT use it this outside of friends.
- Genki kai?
21. How’s things? How’s it going?
Again, super casual and worthy of it’s own entry. You know “dou” but “dai?” “Dai” is a colloquial version for “dayo.” Again, don’t use this outside of your friends.
- Dou dai?
22. Anything change/anything new recently?
Here, you’re asking if there’s any thing (koto) that has been changed (kawatta).
- Saikin nanka kawatta koto aru?
Yes, that’s right. This contains many varities of formality – from super casual to formal.
Do you know of any other ways to ask how are you in Japanese? Please leave a comment below. I read all comments and I will add your suggestions to this list! Let’s make it a big one.
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