Essential Japanese Office Vocabulary to fit right in

Essential Japanese Office Vocabulary to fit right in

Want to get a jump-start at your new job in Japan? Knowing the right vocabulary can make the difference between getting lost at work or fitting right in.

Especially during the first month it can seem like your coworkers speak a completely different language from the Japanese you studied.
While basic words like “stapler” and “printer” are picked up early on, many other words, more specific terminology, you may have never heard before.

This article is introducing some of the lesser known words, your Japanese coworkers are using on a daily basis.

The company

  1. 会社 (kaisha) – company
  2. 株式会社 (kabushiki gaisha) – public company
  3. 有限会社 (yuugen gaisha) – limited company
  4. 企業 (kigyou) – enterprise; company
  5. 大手企業 (oote kigyou) – big company
  6. 中小企業 (chuushou kigyou) – small to medium company
  7. 他社 (tasha) – other company
  8. 競合 (kyougou) – competitor
  9. 事務所 (jimusho) – office (also オフイス)
  10. 営業部 (eigyobu) – sales department
  11. 開発部 (kaihatsubu) – development department
  12. 人事部 (jinjibu) – human resources
  13. 総務部 (soumubu) – general affairs
  14. 経理部 (keiribu) – accounting department
  15. 法務部 (houmubu) – legal department
  16. 支店 (shiten) – branch store, branch office
  17. 支社 (shisha) – branch office

Talking about people

  1. 上司 (joushi) – boss
  2. 上長 (jouchou) – one’s superior
  3. 同僚 (douryou) – colleague
  4. 部下 (buka) – subordinate
  5. お客様 (o kyaku sama) – customer (respectful expression)
  6. クライアント (kuraianto) – client
  7. 弊社 (heisha) – my company
  8. 御社 (onsha) – your company
  9. 御中 (onchuu) – (addressing other company at beginning of letter)
  10. 敬具 (keigu) – sincerely (used at the end of a letter)

At the desk

  1. 書類 (shorui) – document, official paper
  2. 資料 (shiryou) – materials; data; document
  3. 社員証 (shainsho) – employee ID
  4. 私物 (shibutsu) – personal items
  5. 印刷する (insatsu) – to print (but コピーする works just as well)
  6. 架電 (kaden) – (to make a) telephone call
  7. 内線 (naisen) – extension number (internal calls)
  8. 折り返し (orikaeshi) – to return a call
  9. 保留 (horyuu) – putting on hold (a caller, a project, etc.)
  10. メール (me-ru) – e-mail
  11. 添付する (tenpu) – to attach
  12. 送信する (soushin) – to send (a message)
  13. 共有する (kyouyuu) – to share (files etc., one of the heavily used words in the office)
  14. 格納する (kakunou) – to store

Working on projects

  1. 提案 (teian) – proposal (can also be used as a verb, to propose)
  2. 契約 (keiyaku) – contract
  3. 企画書 (kikakusho) – project proposal
  4. 見積もり (mitsumori) – estimate
  5. 目標 (mokuhyou) – goal; objective
  6. 達成する (tassei) – to achieve; to realize sthg. (as in 目標達成)
  7. 進捗 (shinchoku) – progress
  8. 売上 (uriage) – sales; proceeds
  9. 利益 (rieki) – profits; gains
  10. 粗利 (arari) – gross profits
  11. 稟議書 (ringisho) – approval documents (typically used to get money for a project)
  12. 決裁 (kessai) – approval
  13. 落とし込む (ochikomu) – to take down notes; to apply concepts or ideas
  14. 解決する (kaiketsu) – to solve
  15. 締め切り (shimekiri) – deadline
  16. 納品 (nouhin) – delivery of goods (final deadline)
  17. 納期 (nouki) – appointed day of delivery; time for payment

Meeting vocab

  1. 会議 (kaigi) – meeting; conference
  2. 会議室 (kaigishitsu) – meeting room
  3. 打ち合わせ (uchiawase) – meeting (more casual than 会議)
  4. 約束 (yakusoku) – appointment
  5. 予定 (yotei) – plans, schedule
  6. 出席 (shusseki) – to attend (a meeting etc.)
  7. 面接 (mensetsu) – interview
  8. 面談 (mendan) – interview (often a casual talk, like a counselling session)
  9. 朝礼 (chourei) – morning meeting
  10. 名刺 (meishi) – business card
  11. 話し合う (hanashiau) – to discuss
  12. 議事録 (gijiroku) – (meeting) minutes; record of proceedings
  13. 書記 (shoki) – putting on record, writing down, secretary

In and out of the office

  1. 出社 (shussha) – arriving at work (in the morning)
  2. 外出 (gaishutsu) – leaving the office; going out
  3. 外勤 (gaikin) – working away from the office
  4. 出張 (shucchou) – business trip
  5. 欠勤 (kekkin) – absence from work
  6. 遅刻 (chikoku) – lateness, being late
  7. 直行/直帰 (chokko/ chokki) – going to work/ returning home directly (without stopping by at the office)
  8. 退社 (taisha) – leaving work (in the evening); resignation
  9. 早退 (soutai) – leaving early
  10. 定時 (teiji) – regular time; or the official end of work time

Some of these words might take some getting used to (remembering 格納する took me forever) but it will allow you to join office conversations on eye level, instead of having to describe what you want to say like an elementary schooler.

No list could ever be complete, so if there are other things you would like to see covered, share your ideas in the comments.

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