Konnichiwa – Meaning, Origin and Usage

Are you looking for a quirky way to say goodbye to someone? You could say ‘konnichiwa’ as an alternate farewell.

This post unpacks the meaning and origin of this expression.

Meaning

The expression ‘konnichiwa’ is a Japanese greeting commonly used as ‘good morning’ or ‘good afternoon.’ However, most Japanese people use ‘konnichiwa’ as a way to say goodbye’ to each other. It has the same meaning when used in English conversations.

While it’s not an English word, it’s part of the common lexicon of familiar and well-known terms used by English-speaking people.

The full version of ‘konnichiwa’ is the beginning of the sentence, ‘konnichi wa gokiken ikaga desu ka?,’ meaning ‘How do you feel today?’ (今日はご機嫌いかがですか?).

Example Usage

“Konnichiwa, it’s good to meet you. Shall we proceed to the boardroom? The meeting is scheduled to begin in ten minutes. Please let me know if I can get you anything.”

“Please could you direct me to the train station? I have a train leaving at 3 pm, and I have no idea how long it will take me to get there. I appreciate your help, Konnichiwa.”

“I have an appointment with the minister at 6 pm. I only have ten minutes before leaving for my private jet. I must leave right away to make it on time. Konnichiwa.”

“I’ll see you around sometime. It was great hanging out with you again, just like old times. Take care and have a safe journey home. Konnichiwa.”

“I’ve got to hit the road. I have to be in Naples by 5 pm, and the traffic is brutal. I’ll catch up with you soon. Konnichiwa.”

“We must get home before our time with the babysitter runs out, and we have to give her overtime. Thanks for dinner; we appreciate it. Konnichiwa.”

Origin

The expression ‘Konnichiwa’ originates from the Japanese language. It’s one of three basic Japanese nomenclatures used in greetings between people. It’s similar to other Japanese pleasantries like ‘Ohayo’ (おはよう) or the more formal ‘Ohayo gozaimasu’ (おはようございます).

Most Japanese people use it to say ‘goodbye’ but it also refers to a farewell greeting or a welcome greeting. ‘Konnichiwa is written in kanji as ‘今日は.’

Phrases Similar to Konnichiwa

  • Good morning.
  • Good afternoon.

Phrases Opposite to Konnichiwa

  • Konbanw.

What is the Correct Saying?

  • Konnichiwa.

Ways People May Say Konnichiwa Incorrectly

‘Konnichiwa’ means ‘good morning’ or ‘good afternoon.’ Using it to say ‘good evening’ is incorrect. ‘Konbanwa’ (今晩はご機嫌いかがですか) is the correct word for ‘good night.’ Using ‘konnichiwa’ as a battle cry is erroneous. People will usually make a spelling mistake when typing the word. They leave out one of the ‘n’ characters in ‘Konnichiwa,’ spelling it as ‘Konichiwa.’

Acceptable Ways to Phrase Konnichiwa

You can use the term ‘konnichiwa’ as a greeting to say good afternoon, good morning, or just ‘hi.’ Konnichiwa is also a shortened format of a longer-form greeting in the Japanese language and culture. When using ‘konnichiwa’ and ‘wa’ as a participle, it’s written in hiragana as ‘ha.’ This structure results in konnichiwa being a fixed greeting.

‘Konnichiwa’ is a well-understood term across America, thanks to its adoption in American media and culture. Most people will understand what you mean, even if they don’t speak Japanese. You can use ‘konnichiwa’ in text communications, chats, message boards, and verbal exchanges.

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