How to Say Your Age in Japanese

How to Say Your Age in Japanese: A Comprehensive Guide

Learning how to say your age in Japanese is an essential skill for anyone interested in the Japanese language and culture. Being able to express your age correctly not only helps in conversations but also shows respect towards the Japanese people. In this article, we will guide you through the different ways to say your age in Japanese and address some frequently asked questions related to this topic.

1. How are ages counted in Japanese?
In Japan, ages are typically counted differently than in Western countries. Instead of being based on the year you were born, Japanese age is determined the year in the Japanese calendar. The age increases one on New Year’s Day, regardless of the actual birthdate.

2. How do you ask someone’s age in Japanese?
To ask someone’s age, you can use the phrase: “Nan sai desu ka?” (なんさいですか?) which translates to “How old are you?” in English. It is a polite way to inquire about someone’s age.

3. How do you say your age in Japanese?
To say your age, you need to use the counter word “sai” (歳) after the number. For example, if you are 20 years old, you would say “hatachi desu” (はたちです). Here, “hatachi” means 20, and “desu” is a polite copula.

4. How do you say “I am [age] years old” in Japanese?
To say “I am [age] years old,” you can use the phrase: “Watashi wa [age] sai desu” (私は[age]歳です). For instance, if you are 25 years old, you would say “Watashi wa nijūgo sai desu” (私は25歳です).

See also  What to Say When Someone Says or What

5. Are there any special ways to say certain ages in Japanese?
Yes, there are a few special ways to say specific ages in Japanese. For example, when referring to one’s age of 20, it is common to use the word “hatachi” (はたち) instead of “ni ju sai” (20歳). Similarly, turning 60 is considered a milestone, and the word “rokujū” (ろくじゅう) is often used instead of “roku ju sai” (60歳).

6. Can you use the Western system to express your age in Japanese?
Yes, you can use the Western system to express your age in Japanese. However, it is more common and respectful to use the Japanese system when interacting with Japanese people. If you choose to use the Western system, you can say your age followed the word “sai” (歳), such as “25-sai” (25歳).

7. Are there any cultural considerations when discussing age in Japan?
In Japan, age is a significant factor in social interactions. It is essential to be mindful of the age hierarchy and show respect to older individuals. When speaking to someone older than you, it is customary to address them with honorifics like “san” (さん) after their name. Using polite language and manners is also appreciated.


1. Q: How do I ask someone’s age politely?
A: You can ask someone’s age politely using the phrase “Nan sai desu ka?” (なんさいですか?).

2. Q: Is it rude to ask someone’s age in Japan?
A: While it is not necessarily rude, it is important to ask someone’s age in a respectful manner and be aware of the cultural context.

See also  What Does Sapa Say Mean

3. Q: How do I respond when someone asks my age in Japanese?
A: You can respond saying “Watashi wa [age] sai desu” (私は[age]歳です), which means “I am [age] years old.”

4. Q: Can I use the Western system to say my age in Japan?
A: Yes, you can use the Western system, but it is more respectful to use the Japanese system when speaking with Japanese people.

5. Q: Are there any special ways to say “happy birthday” in Japanese?
A: Yes, the phrase “お誕生日おめでとうございます” (otanjoubi omedetou gozaimasu) is commonly used to say “happy birthday” in Japanese.

6. Q: How do I address someone older than me?
A: You can address someone older than you adding the honorific “san” (さん) after their name, such as “Tanaka-san”.

7. Q: Is age considered important in Japanese society?
A: Yes, age is considered important in Japanese society, and it plays a significant role in social interactions and hierarchies.

In conclusion, learning how to express your age in Japanese is a valuable skill that shows respect and understanding of Japanese culture. By using the appropriate phrases and understanding the cultural nuances, you can navigate conversations with ease while building meaningful connections with Japanese speakers.

Scroll to Top