25 Business Japanese words you can remember instantly!

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 traps.

The perks:

  • ■ 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

5. シェア Share

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
  • 国際的(こくさいてき)international
  • ※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.

資源(しげん)resources

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.

収益化(しゅうえきか)monetization, monetizing

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
  • 想像的(そうぞうてき)creative

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 really 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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Madelaine

After traveling around for a while, I found my home in Tokyo. Now working in Shinjuku and discovering something new about Japan every day.