25 Business Japanese words you can remember instantly!
You want a shortcut to learning more Japanese business vocabulary? Then this list is for you – Katakana Japanese English.
When struggling with expressing my thoughts at work, I started replacing unknown words with English terms. Luckily, more often than not, my Japanese coworkers understood. A surprisingly large amount of English words is being used in Japanese offices on a daily basis.
Use that to your advantage! The shape of some words might look a little strange on occasion, but they are your typical English words – no “false friends” here.
- ■ easy to remember
- ■ using them correctly will give the impression of a wide vocabulary
1. ビジネス Business
Used to refer to everything work-related, from management to all other company matters. Words like ‘Marketing’ and other business fields are also popular in their Katakana version.
Equivalent words in Japanese:
- 業務（ぎょうむ）business, affairs, duties, work, operations
- 商業（しょうぎょう）commerce, trade, business
- 経済（けいざい）economics, business, finance
2. カスタマー customer
Used to refer to your customers, anyone who is in a position to buy a product or request service from your company.
- お客様（おきゃくさま）guest, visitor, customer, client
- 利用客 （りようきゃく）user, customer
- 取引先 （とりひきさき）customer, client, client company, business connection, trade partner
3. ユーザー user
Referring to users of a product or service. Especially common in IT and online business.
- 利用者（りようしゃ）user, end-user, consumer
- 使用者（しようしゃ）user, consumer
- 使い手（つかいて）user, consumer, employer, (using side)
4. タスク task
Not limited to work, this word can be used for any kind of duty, assignment, project or chore.
- 仕事（しごと）work, job, business, occupation, employment, task
- 任務（にんむ）duty, function, office, mission, task
- 業務（ぎょうむ）business, affairs, duties, work procedure, task
- 課題（かだい）subject, matter, assignment, task, problem
To share something with someone, whether real-life or Facebook. If you say ケーキをシェアする it might get you a weird look, but your message will be conveyed.
- 共有（きょうゆう）sharing, join ownership
- 配当（はいとう）allotment, share
- 分ける（わける）to divide, to separate, to share, to distribute, to differentiate
6. メリット Merit
Often used when discussing the benefits of a certain strategy or new project.
The antonym ‘demerit’ デメリット is also used frequently.
- 長所（ちょうしょ）strong point, merit, virtue, advantage
- 功績（こうせき）achievement, merit
- 良さ（よさ）merit, virtue, good quality
7. ナレッジ knowledge
Business knowledge, marketing knowledge – possibilities for combinations are limitless in Japanese.
- 知識（ちしき）knowledge, information
- 心得（こころえ）knowledge, understanding
- 能力（のうりょく）ability, faculty
8. グローバル global
With expressions like global markets or global users, this word gained a lot of popularity over the past years.
- 世界的（せかいてき）worldwide, global, international, universal
- ※地球市場（ちきゅうしじょう）global market
9. リソース resources
Human capital, money, sand – this word can be widely used to refer to anything that is needed to achieve a certain goal.
10. アセット asset
For unknown reasons, Japanese people seem to prefer the English word when talking about assets in a business setting.
- 文化財 (ぶんかざい) cultural asset
11. リスク risk
Often used together with other words to form Katakana beauties like risk hedge (リスクヘッジ), risk-management (リスクマネジメント・リスク管理).
危険 (きけん) danger, peril, hazard
12. エンゲージメント engagement
The meaning is more limited than in English. It is mainly used as IT term to refer to “engagement” of users on Facebook, and the like.
携わる（たずさわる）to engage in, to partake in, to be involved in
13. ビジョン vision
Not used to refer to your eyesight. Think of grand visions for a better future. When taking about company strategy for the future the word is sometimes used jointly with ミッション.
空想（くうそう）daydream, fantasy, vision
14. エビデンス evidence
I never heard it used outside of office settings so far. It is all about hard facts that support any claim you make at work.
- 証拠（しょうこ）evidence, proof
- 形跡（けいせき）traces, evidence
15. ソリューション solution
The answer to all your problems, or at least one of them. Not the liquid kind.
解決（かいけつ）settlement, solution, resolution
16. キャパシティー capacity
Usually used in the sense of “the capacity of the airplane or container” not used in when talking about skills or potential. キャッパオーバー is variation which can be used to say that someone has too much work on their plate.
- 体積（たいせき）capacity, volume
- 容積（ようせき）capacity, volume
17. マネタイズ monetize
This one means turning things into money or making something profitable.
18. パートナシップ partnership
Think more business, less romance. In the case of outsourcing, you have a partnership with the company who is doing the work for you.
- 協同組合 (きょうどうくみあい) cooperative, association, partnership
- タイアップ tie-up, collaboration, partnership, cooperation
19. コミットメント・コミットする commitment
This one doubles as noun and verb. As a verb, it means so much as to promise, or to see something through.
- 言質（げんち）commitment, pledge, promise
- 公約（こうやく）public commitment/promise, campaign pledge, official vow
20. アジェンダ agenda
You make an agenda when you set the talking points and goals for a meeting. That’s about it. Useless in your private life, unless you are a hardcore planner.
- 議題（ぎだい） agenda, cause, subject
- 行動予定表（こうどうよていひょう）program, schedule, timeline
21. クリエイティブ creative
Same meaning as in English, I cannot think of any limitations. Use 想像力（そうぞうりょく）if you want to talk about creativity.
- 独創的（どくそうてき）creative, original
22. クリティカル critical
Doesn’t carry the meaning of judgmental in Japanese. It is used when talking about risks or dangerous situations. In IT companies you might hear people talk about critical bugs, which if not fixed will ruin everything.
So, if you are in a critical phase of your life, go ahead and use it to your heart’s content.
- 危ない（あぶない）dangerous, risky, hazardous, uncertain, insecure
- 危機（きき）crisis, critical situation, emergency, pinch
23. リバイス revise
The noun revision is not common, but the verb is used frequently when talking about checking or correcting something. The Japanese word 修正 will be your friend in most cases, but ‘revise’ gives it a little more of an official air.
- 変える（かえる）change, alter, transform, revise, amend
- 改正する（かいせいする）revision, amendment
- 修正する（しゅうせいする）amendment, correction, revision, alteration
24. アサインする to assign
Used when deciding who will carry out a certain task (佐藤さんをプロジェクトリーダーにアサインしました).
- 任命する（にんめい）appoint, nominate, designate, commission
- 割り当て（わりあて）assignment, allocation, quota
25. フィードバックする to give feedback
As a noun, a verb in active and passive form – feedback is also among those words that found a strong hold in the Japanese business world. If you want to use a Japanese word instead look for opinion, advice etc.
Perfection: A Hint of Japanese
These are my top 25 useful katakana words, that will make your Japanese sound even better than it already is.
You want to explain something at work but you are unsure of the correct term? Give the English word a try, it might just work out. Just remember to pronounce the words in a Japanese way, otherwise, you might earn confused gazes instead of approving nods.
What katakana words do you frequently use at work? Do they mean the same as in English or do they come with a special Japanese flavor? Help expand this list with your favorite Katakana English in the comments!
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27 May 2021 - Japanese
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