What is the meaning of Otsukaresama deshita?
Otsukaresama deshita (お疲れ様でした。おつかれさまでした。)
This expression means “Good job” or “Thank you for your work”.
- O: Honorary prefix. Its use shows the respect you feel for your interlocutor (for more information read this article).
- Tsukare: From the verb “Tsukareru” which means “to get tired”.
- Sama: Suffix that also marks respect.
- Deshita: A word that indicates that the action described in the sentence occurred in the past.
Therefore, we can literally translate this expression as “We are tired”. A phrase you would never dare to say in public at your workplace. Japanese people say this all the time! Contrary to what one might think, it does not imply anything negative. Japanese workers use this expression to cheer each other up and express their appreciation among colleagues.
But “Otsukaresama deshita” should be used after finishing the work. If the work is still being done, we should use the present tense: “Otsukaresama desu”.
When should you use “Otsukaresama desu”?
When you arrive at your place of work
Employees upon arrival, do not say (Hello) or (howdy) replace it with “Otsukaresama desu”.
During your work day
Usually, everyone will say “Otsukaresama desu” at the end of the meeting to thank everyone for attending. This method also works when one of your colleagues returns from an outside meeting. In this case, they should say “Otsukaresama desu” to each other. These two cases are just two of many examples.
At the end of work
You can also say “Otsukaresama desu” after work. In this case, you can also say “Osaki ni shitsurei shimasu”. In either case, your colleagues who stay in the office should respond “Otsukaresama deshita”.
You can also express your appreciation for the work done by your colleagues during Nomikai (this is the time spent with colleagues after leaving work).
OTHER SITUATIONS FOR OTSUKARESAMA
You can use “Otsukaresama” outside of work. For example, you can say this expression to a friend who joins you after their work day, they will appreciate it and take it as a sign of affection and respect. Even if you are not working for the same company.
In principle, you can tell everyone who just did a difficult job. Even if you don’t pay them for it. Like these everyday situations:
- Your mother mopping, scrubbing, picking up and doing all the housework “Otsukaresama”.
- Your father finishes his morning exercise for obesity “Otsukaresama”.
- Your little sister has done her homework and picked up her room “Otsukaresama”.
A Gokurosama deshita variant (ご苦労様でした。ごくろうでした。)
This expression has a similar meaning to “Otsukaresama deshita”. However, it is more used by hierarchical superiors towards their subordinates. “Gokurosama deshita” is a perfect example of the importance of hierarchy in the world of work, and more generally in society, in Japan.
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Don’t forget that if your boss says “Gokurosama desu” you will have to answer “Otsukaresama desu”, and not “Gokurosama desu”, otherwise …. you will pay dearly, either with reduction of pay, vacation, or special attention or honors that you had at that time. Remember that he is your superior at all times.
SI QUIERES SABER COMO USAR HIRAGANA, KATAKANA Y KANJI O SABER TU NOMBRE EN JAPONÉS, MIRA ESTE ENLACE
CONCLUSION OF OTSUKARESAMA DESHITA
Japanese workers attach so much importance to the word “Otsukaresama deshita”. If there are two things that are really emphasized in Japanese culture, it is work and community. These two concepts are honored by the expression “Otsukaresama”. It is for this reason that this phrase is so important in the world of Japanese work.
By pronouncing it, you value the work of each member of a well-defined community: your company. It also gives the impression that everyone plays an active role in the company.
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