Words contain nuances and emotions that are intended by the sender. One of the most difficult aspects of communicating with others is how to express accurately or effectively convey their nuances and emotions. Even between people who share the same culture or speak the same language, it is difficult. If the cultures and languages are different, it will become even more difficult each other. There are not many words in any language of any culture that have only one definite meaning and do not contain other nuances or feelings, right? Therefore, in communication, the person who sends out the words must have the “will” or “passion” to communicate. And it will be also very important that the receiver must have the “will” or “passion” to understand. In other words, it is important for both sides to be “considerate” and “caring” in communication.

We would like to introduce the phrase “O-Tsukaresama desu” as a Japanese word that is filled with such “consideration” and “caring”. It is a word that is quite familiar in the Japanese business scene. If it’s between coworkers or close friends, it’s more likely to be used as “O-Tsukaresama~” or “O-Tsukare~”. (※When “desu” is added, the meaning becomes more polite.) When translating the word “O-Tsukaresama” into other foreign language, it becomes something completely different depending on the situation and the feelings and thoughts that are put into it. In a certain situation, it will be a word of telling the other person that you admire the way they have performed (or are performing) some task or assignment”. It means, “You did a good job” or “We are satisfied with the results”. In other situation, the meaning of the word might be to express gratitude for the other’s labor. Just like, “It was a lot of work”, or “Oh, you have a lot of effort”. And it can mean “Thank you for your hard work” or “Gratitude for carrying out the mission”. It can also be used as a light greeting, such as “Hello, how are you?” or “How are you doing?”. The word “O-Tsukaresama desu” has one or all of those meanings. It is never a word that’s used only in the same workplace or among people with who you have a business relationship. For example, it is often used by the general public to express their gratitude to police officers who patrol for public safety, or to those who clean public facilities. In other words, it will be a word of expressing gratitude and appreciation for the fact that what the person is doing is benefiting the world, and that it is in turn benefiting you. It’s very rare to find a word that includes these kinds of nuance in a comprehensive way.

Please try to use this phrase to someone else.