You’re Welcome: How to Use Douitashimashite in Japanese 😀oing something nice for others is one of the many joys we get out of life. When we do something nice for someone else, they usually respond with the polite expression, “Thank you,” or “ありがとうございます (arigatou gozaimasu).”

It is then polite for us to respond with “You’re welcome,” or “どういたしまして (douitashimashite).” Today, we are going to learn all there is to know about douitashimashite and how to use it in Japanese.    

You’re Welcome: How to Use Douitashimashite in Japanese

The phrase douitashimashite combines two Japanese words, the pronoun “dou” and the verbitasu.” 

Dou (how) is most often written in hiragana. Itasu (a polite verb for “to do”) is conjugated to the politemasu form with the –te form added to the end. The phrase as a whole is usually written in hiragana, but sometimes itasu is written using kanji. When written in kanji, it looks like this:

どう致しまして

Let’s take a closer look at the meaning of this kanji in the next section.

(chi): Meaning

This kanji is pronounced “chi” when read by itself. When it is attached to a word, it takes on a different sound. In the word itasu, it makes up the “ita” part of the word, and the hiragana character “su” is then attached to the end to form the verbitasu.”

The character “chi” is formed by taking two simpler characters, called “radicals,” and writing them side-by-side. These two radicals are 至 (shi) on the left side and 攵 (hoku) on the right.

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至 + = 致

The first radical, shi, has a variety of meanings. 

  1. Climax
  2. To reach; to arrive
  3. To proceed
  4. To attain
  5. To result in

The second radical, hoku, means “strike.” 

When combined together, the two radicals form the kanjichi.”

The meaning of chi is derived from the combination of the definitions of shi and hoku. The five definitions of shi listed above convey a sense of action and movement. The meaning of hoku, “strike,” is the result of these actions coming together. Action and movement + strike! = a sense of something being accomplished, or a sense of doing. Therefore, we arrive at the meaning “to do” for the kanjichi.” 

Chi is then used to form itasu, which is a verb reserved for the most polite situations. This verb also means “to do.”

Now, let us take a look at the next section to learn more about our key phrase douitashimashite and how to use it.

どういたしまして (Douitashimashite):

According to wiktionary, the phrase is an amalgamation of this type of sentiment:

「何を、したというわけでもありませんよ(だから、気になさらないでください)。」
“Nani o, shita to iu wake demo arimasen yo (dakara, ki ni nasaranaide kudasai).” 
“But...I haven’t done anything to deserve this gratitude (therefore, pay no mind).”

Here are a few examples of common situations where we can use douitashimashite. Also, take note of what person A says, for they are common phrases to use when thanking someone.

A: Doumo arigatou gozaimashita! (Thank you very much!)

B: Iie, douitashimashite. (You’re welcome.)

A: Ban-gohan (hiru-gohan) o gochisou-sama deshita! (Thank you for treating me to dinner [lunch]!)

B: Iie, douitashimashite. (Oh, no, don’t mention it.)

A: Iro iro to arigatou gozaimashita! (Thank you for everything!)

B: Douitashimashite. (You’re welcome.)

A: Iro iro go-shinsetsu ni arigatou gozaimashita! (Thank you for all your kindness!)

B: Douitashimashite. (No problem.)

A: Tetsudatte kurete arigatou gozaimasu! (Thank you for all your help!)

B: Iie, douitashimashite. (No, no, the pleasure is mine.)

A: O-tesuu o kakete sumimasen. (I’m sorry to trouble you.)

B: Douitashimashite. (No trouble at all.)

As per today’s lesson, when someone has done a favor for you or has given you something as a gift, you may be inclined to express your gratitude by saying “Thank you,” or “Arigatou gozaimasu.” However, don’t feel slighted if the person does not respond with a douitashimashite. In many situations, it is perfectly common and acceptable for Japanese speakers to respond with a short, “Iie, iie,” (literally, “No”). This is because the “No, no,” is the person’s attempt to convey humbleness, and the translation is more akin to, “Oh, it’s nothing…” Rest assured, it still expresses the same sentiment as douitashimashite—just in fewer words.

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In conclusion

The world is full of kindness and kind people, so let’s keep the spirit alive by expressing gratitude every chance we get. If someone does something nice for you, be sure to show your appreciation by saying, “Arigatou gozaimasu.” And if someone says, “Arigatou gozaimasu” to you, be sure to let them know that you appreciate their gratitude by saying, “Douitashimashite.” 

Now, it’s time to get out there and use the phrases you’ve learned today. Try giving a small gift—a piece of candy, perhaps—to a Japanese speaker. When they say thank you, respond with “Douitashimashite,” and share in a moment of warm kindness. 

Remember, the only way to master a language is to practice. So get out there already and practice, practice, practice!  

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