Self-introduction in English is considered to be pretty straightforward. Depending on whether it is a formal or an informal introduction the choice of words is simple. For instance, if it’s an informal setting, you would say: “Hello there! I’m …”
Then, a handshake ensues and the small talk begins. If you have enrolled for Japanese language lessons in Singapore, introducing yourself is most likely your first lesson in class. You must have noticed that it isn’t very different in Japanese. Also, just like in English, the setting is an important consideration when crafting an appropriate way to introduce yourself.
Here’s a look at some of the most common ways of introducing yourself in Japanese.
Learn how to say your name in Japanese
You need to figure out how to pronounce your name in “Japanese” before you delve into self-introduction. There are certain sounds that exist in English but don’t exist in Japanese and the opposite applies. But it’s your name we are talking about. At least the English name. Therefore, know how to translate it and pronounce it in Japanese is critical.
For example, the name Jonathan is pronounced would be ジョナサン in Katakana. Or “Jonasan” in Romanji, and pronounced as such. The name Jessica is ジェシカ in Katakana and translates to “Jeshika” in Romanji, pronounced the same way.
What’s your English name? Practice saying it in katakana.
During Japanese classes, you will learn that in Japanese culture, what you do is very important. Therefore, all formal introductions must include your career, position, and title. For instance, if you were a writer, you must mention that you are a writer, include your employer and your rank (supervisor, manager, etc.)
So, if you are attending Japanese classes for business purposes, learn how to say your profession and title in Japanese aside from your name too.
If you are in an informal setup. Maybe you’ve met up with a group of youngsters for a drink you can greet them in different ways. For instance, you can use:
おす！— Hey! (if you are among young men)
よぉ！— Yo! (used mainly by teenagers)
Then, proceed to introduce yourself. Remember to pronounce your name in Japanese.
Saying Hello in the most appropriate way
Just like in English, greetings are governed by time and environment. Whether it is a formal or informal set-up, you’ll need to say hello in an appropriate way.
Here’s how you can say good morning and good evening in Japanese:
おはよう — Good morning
こんばんは — Good evening
Reach out to your counterpart
On some occasions, like semi-formal meetings, reaching out to your counterpart is an appropriate and proactive way of introducing yourself. A popular way of doing this in English is by reaching out and saying “Nice to meet you, I’m …”
An equivalent of this in Japanese would be はじめまして. It’s short, polite and not excessively formal.
In conclusion, the key to self-introduction in Japanese is to keep it short, concise and as relaxed as possible. Remember, the introduction rules if it’s a formal set up.