Sunday, May 31, 2015

Writing Email in Japanese: Some Styles

The style in writing letters/emails in Japanese maybe varies from one to another. I thought that this might be that some used it based on to whom and the email content. Feel free to add any additional information regarding the social customization of written material below.

For simple email, there will: salutation (宛先)、greeting (あいさつ), email content/information (詳しい情報), ending (むすび) and signature (署名). If you request a reply, don't forget to add the request for a reply (返事の要求). The full structure of Japanese email (example for invitation/誘いのメール) is as pictured below.
Structure of Japanese invitation email [1]

Here are some styles when writing an email in Japanese.

Style #1
The first thing you do in any letter is to state who you are addressing. In English it would look something like "Dear + Name," or "To + Name," in Japanese, it looks a lot like the second version "name + へ、” へ is the directional target marker so it could be translated as to, example:
    山田さんへ、 content....

The word yori (より)in the last line is optional.

Style #2
I never used this style but I found it in a book [1]. Start with the address name and 拝啓. 
After that, you have a few options as to what you do next. A formal letter (i.e., a letter to your boss, a company, or someone you don`t know) is best to be started with the information requested. Then don't forget to close with such a phrase as 敬具。 Here is an example.

    haikei (dear sir) content...

    keigu (sincerely)

Which is the English equivalent of sincerely. For a more personal letter, you can skip this step and move straight to the body of the letter, and/or give a greeting i.e. こんにちは、, etc. The first part of the main letter should always talk to address health (お元気ですか), the current weather, and inquire as to the health of friends and family. From there you can move on to your reason for writing. 

Style #3
In an informal style, although it is not advised, you can skip all the small talk by replacing 拝啓 with :
    zenryaku content.....


meaning "in a quick fashion". Well, that is a little about letters in Japan. 

Style #4
I used this fourth style during my graduate school, like the following.
    バグスです content...

The style above is the most common I used at University. 

Style #5
This is the common email template/style I received at work.

Address's Name 様


... email content ...


You also can change the closing sentence in the style above with simple "よろしくお願いします" for the last style.

  1. Akiko Yana, Rie Ooki, Yuka Komatsu, 日本語Eメールの書き方, Writing E-mails in Japanese. The Japan Times, 2005.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...