free website hit counter

Do Japanese say Sayonara?


Sayonara is a Japanese word commonly used to say goodbye. It is widely believed that Japanese people use this word frequently while bidding farewell to someone. However, the question arises whether Japanese people actually use the term Sayonara or not. In this article, we will explore this topic in detail.

What does Sayonara mean?

Before discussing whether Japanese people say Sayonara, it is essential to understand what the term means. Sayonara means ‘goodbye’ in English. It is a formal and respectful way of bidding farewell to someone. The word is derived from the Japanese phrase ‘sayo naraba,’ which means ‘if it’s to be that way.’

Japanese Snack Box

Alternatives to Sayonara

While Sayonara is a commonly known term, there are other ways of saying goodbye in Japanese. These include words like ‘mata ne’ and ‘ja ne.’ ‘Mata ne’ means ‘see you later,’ and ‘ja ne’ is an informal way of saying goodbye.

Is Sayonara still used?

Despite being a widely known term, Japanese people do not use Sayonara frequently. It is more common to hear other phrases being used instead. In fact, using Sayonara can seem too formal and distant in some situations.

Situations in which Sayonara is used

Although not commonly used, there are specific situations where Sayonara is more appropriate. For instance, in formal settings such as business meetings or when saying goodbye to someone who is leaving for a long time.

The impact of Western culture on Japanese language

The influence of Western culture has led to the introduction of new phrases and expressions in Japanese. For instance, the word ‘bye-bye’ is becoming more prevalent in Japanese society, particularly among younger generations. This has contributed to the decline in the use of traditional phrases like Sayonara.

Regional variations

It is essential to note that the use of Sayonara can vary depending on the region in Japan. For example, people in the Kanto region tend to use ‘mata ne’ more often than Sayonara. In contrast, people in the Kansai region are more likely to use Sayonara.

Other cultural factors

In addition to regional differences, cultural factors can also play a role in how Japanese people say goodbye. For example, it is common for Japanese people to bow when saying goodbye, particularly in formal settings.

The importance of context

It is important to consider the context when discussing whether Japanese people use Sayonara. In informal social settings, people are more likely to use less formal phrases like ‘ja ne.’ However, in more formal settings or when addressing someone of higher status, using Sayonara may be more appropriate.

The role of age and gender

Age and gender can also influence how Japanese people say goodbye. Older generations tend to use more traditional phrases like Sayonara, while younger generations may opt for more modern expressions. Additionally, women tend to use softer and more polite language when saying goodbye.


In conclusion, while Sayonara is a commonly known term, it is not frequently used by Japanese people. Other phrases like ‘mata ne’ and ‘ja ne’ are more commonly used in informal social settings. However, there are specific situations where using Sayonara may be more appropriate, such as in formal settings or when addressing someone of higher status. Ultimately, the context, regional differences, age, and gender can all influence how Japanese people say goodbye.


1. “Sayonara.” Japan Talk, 2021, Accessed 26 August 2021.

2. “How to Say Goodbye in Japanese: 13 Greetings for Everyday Use.” FluentU Japanese, 2019, Accessed 26 August 2021.

3. “Sayonara Vs. Mata Ne: The Differences Between Goodbye Phrases.” Tokyo Creative, 2021, Accessed 26 August 2021.

4. “Japanese Culture: Saying Goodbye.” Japan Info, 2016, Accessed 26 August 2021.

Is it appropriate to say Sayonara?

Sayonara is a casual phrase used to bid farewell, similar to expressions like “so long” or “see ya.” It can be used to say goodbye to a traveling grandmother or to a job that was not enjoyable. The word originated in Japanese and has been used informally in English since the late 1800s.

What do Japanese people say when leaving?

When leaving or saying goodbye to someone who is leaving, it’s important to remember the appropriate phrase in Japanese. “Ittekimasu” means “I will go” and is also used to say “see you later” or “I’ll get going now”. This phrase is typically used when leaving home and implies that the person will return.

What is the difference between Sayonara and Sayōnara?

The word “sayonara” comes from the Japanese language and is a shorter version of the more traditional term “sayōnara”. It means “goodbye” and its literal translation is “if that’s the way it is”.

Why not use Sayonara?

Although many people translate “Sayonara” as “Goodbye,” there are actually various ways to say farewell in Japanese. Unlike English, “Sayonara” specifically implies a permanent farewell, indicating uncertainty in seeing the person again. Thus, Japanese individuals do not frequently use this term.

How do you say sorry in Japanese?

“Gomen” ごめん is a commonly used and casual word for apologizing. It can be made more formal by adding “nasai” なさい or made more friendly by adding “ne” ね. Another casual way to say sorry is “Warui warui” 悪い悪い or “my bad.”

How do you say yes in Japanese?

The easiest and most direct way to say “yes” in Japanese is “はい hai”. In more formal situations, “は! ha!” can also be used. If you are talking with someone you are close to, “ええ ee” is also appropriate. This information was shared on July 27, 2015.

The impact of technology on Japanese language

Another factor that has influenced the way Japanese people say goodbye is the rise of technology. With the increasing use of messaging apps and social media platforms, people are often using new expressions or emoticons to convey their farewell messages. For instance, the use of ‘byee’ or ‘ttyl’ (talk to you later) has become common among young people when saying goodbye online.

Etiquette when saying goodbye in Japan

It is important to note that Japanese culture places a significant emphasis on etiquette and politeness. When saying goodbye, it is customary to bow slightly as a sign of respect. The depth of the bow depends on the relationship between the two people and the formality of the situation. If you are saying goodbye to someone of higher status, it is important to bow deeper than they do.

The role of nonverbal communication

In addition to verbal phrases and bowing, nonverbal communication plays a crucial role in how Japanese people say goodbye. Eye contact is essential, and it is considered rude to break eye contact before the other person does. Additionally, a smile is always appreciated when saying goodbye, as it conveys warmth and friendliness.

The importance of understanding cultural norms

When interacting with Japanese people, it is crucial to understand and respect their cultural norms regarding saying goodbye. Making an effort to learn some basic phrases and bowing appropriately can go a long way in building positive relationships. Additionally, being aware of regional differences and age and gender expectations can help avoid potential misunderstandings.

Final thoughts

Saying goodbye in Japan involves more than just saying a word or phrase. It is a reflection of cultural norms, etiquette, and respect. While Sayonara may not be the most commonly used phrase, it still has its place in formal settings and when addressing someone of higher status. Understanding the nuances of saying goodbye in Japanese can help build stronger relationships and avoid potential misunderstandings.

Leave a Comment

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

Ads Blocker Image Powered by Code Help Pro

Ads Blocker Detected!!!

We have detected that you are using extensions to block ads. Please support us by disabling these ads blocker.