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How to say ok in Japanese – complete guide with 30+ examples

Japanese girl saying ok in Japanese

The word “okay” is used pretty often as a loan word in Japanese. But they tend to use it in a different way. Or, at least, in only one of the very many ways we use it in English.

When Japanese people say “Ok”, it is almost always used as an answer to a question to mean “yes”. Or in the sense of  “all done” as in 

山を登ったらオッケーです yama o nobottara desu。

”Once we climb the mountain, that will be that.”

So, you have to be careful using the word as an English speaker talking in Japanese. 

“Ok” isn’t “OK”, ok?

Ahem.

What is the Japanese word for “ok”?

The words below are the simplest and easiest ways to say “okay” in Japanese.

The English word “ok” actually gets used in a few different meanings, so here are the best words for expressing the different senses of “ok” in Japanese:

Casual: 大丈夫 daijyoubu

Formal: 大丈夫です。 daijyoubu desu

In the sense of “I’m okay”, “I’m alright”, “I’m unharmed”, “Don’t worry”.

Casual: 分かった wakatta

Formal: 分かりました wakarimashita

In the sense of “got it”, “yes, I see”

Casual: いいです。iidesu.

Formal: 結構です。 kekko desu.

In the sense of “I’ve had enough” or “good enough for me”.

Casual: オッケー okke

In the sense of “yes” in answer to a question or “it’s okay to do something”.

Casualty and formality when saying “Okay” in Japanese

As always when speaking Japanese, you have various levels of formality when you want to say “okay” to someone. You need to take into account where someone sits in the social order when addressing them.

This can be confusing! I still struggle with this after learning Japanese for more than twenty years. Japanese struggle with this after speaking Japanese all their lives. 

Generally speaking, if someone is older than you, or clearly more highly ranked with you in terms of place within an organisation etc. you need to use more formal forms when speaking with them.

Of course, this happens within English too, but it is much clearer with Japanese.

So, for example, you can often use a word like “wakatta”, which literally is often translated as “understand” or “understood”, to tell someone “Ok, got it”.

But when speaking to someone that you need to show a level of respect towards, you would need to use the more formal “wakarimashita”. 

If you were talking to someone who was a long way above you up the social ladder, or within a customer service context, you would need to use an even more formal verb like “kashikomarimashita”.

It is usually safest to use the middle level of formality when speaking with someone you don’t know for the first time. I’m often amazed at how Japanese people who are good friends maintain these different levels of formality in their conversations with each other even after they have known each other for many years!

Okay then, is it okay if we move on? Okie dokie.

How to form sentences in Japanese that mean “ok”

Sentences with ok in Japanese

Alright, so now that we’ve given you all the basics up front, let’s dive down a little deeper into the nitty gritty of how the various concepts of okay are expressed in different sentences in Japanese.

Let’s start by dividing these into various usages of the word “Ok” in English.

1) How to Say Ok as in “alright”. “unharmed” or “good”

This is usually the first meaning we think of when we think of “okay”. It’s the positive meaning of “okay” as in “there’s nothing wrong, I’m alive and the crocodile swam away”.

How to say “are you ok” in Japanese?

Casual: 大丈夫か。daijōbu ka.

Formal: 大丈夫ですか。 daijōbu desu ka. 

Japanese people don’t usually say the words “you” in sentences the same way they do in English. They almost always just say “okay (daijobu)?” and assume that you will understand from context that they are talking about you.

Example:

顔色が悪いですね。大丈夫ですか? kaoiro ga warui desu ne. daijōbu desu ka? 

You look a little off color. Are you OK?

大丈夫?血が出てるよ!daijōbu? chi ga deteru yo!

Are you all right? You’re bleeding!

How to say “I’m ok” in Japanese

(私は)大丈夫です。(watashi wa) daijōbu desu.

疲れていないですか。 tsukareteinai desu ka.

You’re not tired?

大丈夫です。daijōbu desu.

I’m okay.

As with “are you ok”, people usually also drop the “I” from the sentence “I’m ok”.

So instead of saying watashi wa daijyobu desu they just say daijyobu desu.

They only add the “you” and “I” part to the sentence if they need to emphasize or make clear who they are talking about.

As in the example dialogue:

Are you okay?

大丈夫ですか。daijōbudesu ka .

I’m okay, are you okay?

私は大丈夫です。あなたは大丈夫ですか? watashi wa daijōbudesu . anata wa daijōbudesu ka ?

2) How to say “Ok” in Japanese as an acknowledgment of what someone has said

acknowledgment ok in Japanese

Often in English we say “ok” to just mean “yes”, or just to show someone that we have heard what they have said. In fact, when you think about it, we say “yep”, “yeah” & “okay”, usually anything but “yes”!

In these cases, in Japanese, you could use the following phrases:

How to say “ok, got it” in Japanese.

Short: はい。hai.

Casual: 分かった。wakatta.

Formal: 分かりました。wakarimashita.

Really formal: かしこまりました。kashikomarimashita.

Less common: 了解です。ryōkaidesu.

ryokai is one that is less common than the others, but you will definitely come across it pretty quickly if you spend any amount of time in Japan. The word itself in its written form is quite procedural, but people often use it in an upbeat, jovial way. It tends to get used in a similar way to how a word like “ten-four”, or “gotcha” or perhaps “leave it with me” gets used in English.

  • Example

Could you take out the garbage?

ゴミ捨てをしておいてくれない?gomi sute o shiteoitekurenai?

OK.

わかった。wakatta.

3) How to say Ok to mean “that’s fine” in Japanese 

that's fine ok in Japanese

Sometimes we say Okay to mean “yes, that’s allowed, you have my permission”. Of course, if you said that to someone they might suspect you were actually an undercover police officer…

How to say “it’s ok” in Japanese

Casual: いいよ。īyo.

Really formal: よろしいですよ。yoroshīdesuyo.

  • Example

Can I put my bag here?

ここにカバンを置いていい?koko ni kaban o oite ī?

OK

いいよ。īyo.

How to say yeah, ok in Japanese (in the sense of “I don’t mind”)

構いません。kamaimasen.

大丈夫です。daijōbudesu.

  • Example

最後のチョコレートを食べてもいいですか。saigo no chokorēto o tabete mo īdesu ka?

Can I eat the last chocolate?

いいですよ、構いません。īdesuyo , kamaimasen.

That’s okay, I don’t mind.

How to say I’m okay as “no” (as in, I’ve had enough).

結構です。kekkōdesu.

もういいです。mō īdesu.

大丈夫です。daijōbudesu.

  • Example

Would you like another cup of coffee?

もう一杯珈琲はいかがですか mō ichi hai kōhī wa ikagadesu ka.

I’m okay, thanks.

結構です、ありがとう。kekkōdesu , arigatō.

Would you like to try it on? 

試着してみられますか?shichaku shitemiraremasu ka?

I’m okay at the moment..

今のところ大丈夫です ima no tokoro daijōbudesu

How to say “is this ok with you” in Japanese

これでいいですか。korede īdesu ka .

  • Example

Is this apartment okay with you?

このアパートでいいか。kono apātode ī ka.

I’m happy with it.

いいよ。īyo.

4) How to say ok to mean “just average” in Japanese

so-so ok in Japanese

Often in English, we say okay to mean “good, but not great” or kind of average. Japanese don’t use words like daijobu to express this. They have the easy to remember word ma-ma-.

まあまあ mā mā

  • Example

How was your lunch?

お昼はどうだった?ohiru wa dōdatta?

It was okay, I guess.

まあまあかな。mā mā kana .

5) How to say “ok?” in an annoyed way in Japanese

annoyed ok in Japanese

Sometimes, we put the word “ok” on the end of sentences in English to emphasise something we are saying. Even negative things. For example

Don’t call me stupid, ok?

バカって言わないでよ。baka tte iwanai deyo.

One way to do this in Japanese is to put よ “yo” on the end of the sentence. This provides a sort of exclamation similar to what saying putting “ok” on the end of a sentence as a question can do.

Other annoyed uses of the word “ok” can be covered by saying any of the following in an appropriately miffed tone!

もう、結構です。mō , kekkōdesu.

いいです。īdesu.

いらないです。iranai desu.

6) Other phrases that use “okay”

how to say “but it’s ok” in Japanese

でも、大丈夫です。demo, daijōbudesu.

how to say “ok that’s good” in Japanese

よし、その調子で。yoshi, sono chōshi de.

how to say “ok cool” in Japanese

よし、いいぞ。yoshi, īzo.

How to say “I think it’s okay” in Japanese

大丈夫だと思う。daijoubu da to omou.

I think it’s okay.

多分いける。tabun ikeru.

It shouldn’t be a problem.

Note that the word “ikeru”, literally meaning “able to go” can be used as “ok” in the word’s sense of “being able to do something”.

how to say “is it ok to speak english” in Japanese

Casual: 英語で話しても大丈夫? eigo de hanashite mo daijōbu?

Formal: 英語で話しても大丈夫ですか。eigo de hanashite mo daijōbudesu ka.

Really formal: 英語で話してもよろしいですか。eigo de hanashite mo yoroshīdesu ka.

How to say “if it’s ok with you” in Japanese

あなたでもよろしければ…anata demo yoroshikereba…

How to to say “it is not ok” in Japanese

それはだめです。sore wa damedesu.

“That’s no good”

いけないです。ikenaidesu.

“You can’t say that”

How to say “are you okay for time”?

時間は大丈夫?jikan wa daijōbu?

You hear this phrase in Japanese a lot more than you do in English.

Okay, we’re done!

Okay, that is about enough words to express “okay” in Japanese. 

Who would have thought we have so many uses for such a small word, right? 

Well, I reckon you’ll be ok if you don’t learn them all by the time you get to Japan. Or, you might be ok, but you won’t be daijobu or iiyo. Or maybe you’ll be those, but not ok.

Ok, I’m really getting myself confused now. 

Ok, ok, I’ll finish up already. 

Would it be okay if I just added one more line?

Japanese rules, ok.

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