What Does “Arigato” Mean? A Beginner’s Guide to Japanese Culture


Japanese culture is rich and fascinating, and the Japanese language is no exception. One of the most common words you may have heard in Japanese is “arigato,” but what does it actually mean? In this article, we will explore the meaning of “arigato” and its significance in Japanese culture.

What Does “Arigato” Mean?

“Arigato” is a Japanese word that is commonly used to express gratitude or thanks. It is often translated to “thank you” in English, but the meaning of “arigato” goes beyond just a simple expression of gratitude. In Japanese culture, expressing gratitude is considered an important social custom, and “arigato” is the most common way of doing so.

Why is “Arigato” Important in Japanese Culture?

In Japan, expressing gratitude is not just a matter of good manners, but it is also deeply rooted in the cultural and religious beliefs of the Japanese people. The concept of “giri” (social obligation) is an essential part of Japanese culture, and expressing gratitude is seen as a way of fulfilling this obligation. In addition, the Japanese value humility and avoiding conflict, so expressing gratitude is also a way of showing respect and maintaining harmony.

Different Ways to Say “Arigato”

While “arigato” is the most common way of expressing gratitude in Japanese, there are different ways to say it depending on the level of formality and the situation. Here are some examples:

“Arigato gozaimasu” – This is the most polite and formal way of saying “thank you,” and it is commonly used in business settings or when speaking to someone of higher status.

“Arigato gozaimashita” – This is the past tense of “arigato gozaimasu,” and it is used to express gratitude for something that has already been done.

“Arigato ne” – This is a more casual way of saying “thank you,” and it is commonly used among friends or acquaintances.


In conclusion, “arigato” is a common word in Japanese culture that is used to express gratitude and fulfill social obligations. While it may seem like a simple word, the meaning and significance of “arigato” go beyond just a mere expression of thanks. Learning about the cultural and social context of “arigato” can give us a deeper understanding and appreciation of Japanese culture.



Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button