How to Say “My Birthday” in Japanese: Formal and Informal Ways

Greeting someone on their birthday is a special way to show your care and appreciation. If you want to celebrate your own birthday with friends or acquaintances who speak Japanese, it would be helpful to know how to express the phrase “my birthday” in both formal and informal settings. In this guide, we’ll explore various ways to say “my birthday” in Japanese, providing examples and tips along the way.

Formal Ways to Say “My Birthday”

When speaking politely in a formal context, you can use the phrase “my birthday” by saying:

わたしの たんじょうび (Watashi no tanjoubi)

In the given phrase, “watashi” means “I” and “tanjoubi” means “birthday.” Combining them results in “watashi no tanjoubi,” which literally means “my birthday.” If you prefer a more gender-specific term, you can replace “watashi” with “boku” (used by males) or “atashi” (used by females) accordingly:

ぼくの たんじょうび (Boku no tanjoubi) – for males

あたしの たんじょうび (Atashi no tanjoubi) – for females

These formal expressions are appropriate to use when speaking to people of higher authority, strangers, or during formal events.

Informal Ways to Say “My Birthday”

In a more casual setting among friends or people of similar age, you can choose to use the informal version of “my birthday.” Here are a few options:

Option 1: “Tanjobi”

A widely used casual expression for “my birthday” in Japanese is simply “tanjobi.” It’s derived from the word “tanjoubi,” but the possessive particle “no” is omitted to make it sound more relaxed. This option can be used by both males and females:

たんじょうび (Tanjobi)

For example, you can say:

“明日はたんじょうびだよ!” (Ashita wa tanjobi da yo!) – “Tomorrow is my birthday!”

Option 2: “Ore no Tanjoubi” or “Atashi no Tanjoubi”

If you prefer a more masculine or feminine way to express “my birthday” casually, you can use “ore no tanjoubi” or “atashi no tanjoubi” respectively:

おれの たんじょうび (Ore no tanjoubi) – for males

あたしの たんじょうび (Atashi no tanjoubi) – for females

These options add a personal touch and can convey a sense of familiarity or friendliness when speaking to close friends or peers.

Tips for Conversations about Birthdays

Here are some tips to enhance your conversations about birthdays:

1. Be Mindful of Customs and Age Hierarchy

In Japanese culture, it’s common to avoid explicitly stating your own age or asking someone about their age directly. Instead, a safer approach is to focus on celebrating the occasion itself rather than individual ages.

2. Use the Word “omedetou” to Congratulate

When someone wishes you a happy birthday, you can respond with “arigatou” (thank you) or “arigatou gozaimasu” (thank you very much). To return the sentiment, you can also say “omedetou” (congratulations) to acknowledge their birthday when the time comes.

3. Consider Regional Variations

While the phrases mentioned above are commonly used throughout Japan, there might be slight variations depending on the region or dialect. If you’re in a specific area, it’s always helpful to learn or ask about the local way of expressing “my birthday” to ensure better communication.

Conclusion

Now that you know how to say “my birthday” in both formal and informal Japanese, you’ll be able to celebrate your special day with Japanese-speaking friends and acquaintances. Remember to choose the appropriate expression based on the context and level of formality. It’s also important to be aware of cultural customs and adapt your conversation accordingly. Use these phrases as a basis for learning and continue exploring the rich and fascinating Japanese language!

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