For all you Japanese language learning 生徒 out there, this isn’t your normal “found on a Q&A site ‘What does yoroshiku onegaishimasu mean'” kind of post. No. This is the ultimate ‘What does Yoroshiku Onegaishimasu mean?’ kind of post. And by “ultimate” I mean “holy crap, look at that kanji!”

Yoroshiku Onegaishimasu Meaning and Definition

The definition of “yoroshiku onegaishimasu” is really hard. It’s one of those words that isn’t really translatable. It’s a concept that’s hard to grasp and hard to define in the English language (not to mention plenty of other languages as well). I’m sure that many of you will have “correct” definitions of yoroshiku onegaishimasu as well (put them in the comments / read the comments, they’re useful!). There are different ways that yoroshiku onegaishimasu is used, as well, depending on the situation. We’ll also take a look at the shorter, more casual yoroshiku, just in case you weren’t sure of the difference.

Let’s take a look at some attempts at “definitions.” Keep in mind, these definitions are clunky at best. We’ll take these and put them into “example situations” as well, so you can get a better understanding of these definitions a little later.

Yoroshiku onegaishimasu:

In general, you’ll want to use this one in more formal situations, with people that have a higher status than you, and basically anytime you’re not sure which one to use. It’s more formal that yoroshiku on its own, but it’s also safer, too.

“Be Kind to me”

“I am in your debt”

“I’m counting on you”

“Please help me”

“Please take care of me”

“Nice to meet you”


This is pretty much the same thing as yoroshiku onegaishimasu, but it’s not as formal. If you’re not sure whether or not it’s okay to use yoroshiku on its own, you should probably just use yoroshiku onegaishimasu. It means the same things as what’s above.

The problem is that you can (kind of) define these words, but they still don’t really mean anything. How do you use these things? When do you use them? Why do you use them? All that’s important.

I think you probably have to experience using / seeing these things used quite a bit before the definitions start making sense. Why? Because the definitions don’t quite fit… at least not 100%. The English definitions just don’t define the feeling behind the words. Really, they are indescribable. You have to experience them first hand… or, at the very least, see a lot of examples.

Examples Of Yoroshiku Being Used

I’m not saying you’ll become a pro at using this undefinable word just by looking at examples, but it will definitely help. This is a very “situational” kind of word, and the more situations you see, the more you’ll come to understand the feelings behind them (and then come to understand the word yoroshiku as well). To understand these, you’ll have to know at least a beginner’s amount of Japanese (or perhaps even lower intermediate). No matter who you are, though, you can read through the explanations and still get a sense of the word, even if you can’t read what’s being said (just use the translations).

I am Koichi. Nice to meet you / Please be kind to me

Of course, I’m not actually asking people to be kind because I think they’re mean. I’m saying that I’m happy they’re accepting my introduction, and accepting me. And I’m also saying I know that I’m not very high up, and I am just a small speck compared to everyone else. So, it’s not that I’m really asking them to be kind, at least not literally. I’m just saying that I’m sort of in their hands, and that they can do what they’d like with me. I’m just happy they allowed me to meet them and am hoping that future interactions are good.

Please send my regards to Bobby

I’m literally sending my “yoroshiku onegaishimasu” feelings to Bobby (ボッビーさんに). In this case, I’m just sending “my regards.” In this context, I’m not saying “nice to meet you” (I obviously know Bobby already), but I’m sending my regards to him. It’s kind of like saying “Say ‘hi’ to Bobby for me!”

You give something to a co-worker to do for you / a coworker is doing extra work for you

When you are heading out, you might say yoroshiku onegaishimasu to the co-worker, because he/she is helping you out with a project, or something. It’s like saying “thank you in advance” or “I’m counting on you.” This is more of the “I’m in your debt” kind of definition, though none of them really fit 100% perfectly, I’d say.

Please treat me well this year as well

It also has a feeling of “let’s do a good job again this year” or “let’s work well together again this year.” Really depends on the relationship, I suppose. It could also mean “please help me again this year” (in a very general sense).

If you’re joining a new group, school, company, etc

…saying yoroshiku onegaishimasu means something along the lines of “I’ll do my best through the future” or “I’m sorry, but please help me in future undecided times when you’ll have to help me” or “Please help me out.”

I’m going to stop there – as you can see, there are many different phrases and situations its used in. All of them have different definitions, based on the context. There are a few kind of “feelings” that yoroshiku onegaishimasu has, though.

Looking At Yoroshiku’s Kanji

The kanji for yoroshiku is actually pretty wild. In fact, I didn’t know a kanji for yoroshiku even existed until I saw it on the TextFugu forums (someone posted it up, and I was like… what the heck is that??). This word is almost always written in kana, not in kanji, which is why I thought it was weird. Here’s what it looks like:


Updates: However, as you folks point out in the comments, there’s a better way to do the kanji – we’ll do both now, for fun.

The better way is this:


This is just the adverb form of 宜しい, which means “good” or “alright.” Still don’t think this helps a ton in terms of figuring out a “better” definition for this word, but it helps a little. Couple this with onegaishimasu (お願いします) and we get a little more information, because お願いします means something more along the lines of “please help me” (and its meaning, while still also untranslatable, is a little more consistent… and I mean a little… than the whole phrase yoroshiku onegaishimasu).


“good please help me”

So, this does kind of covers some of the feelings present when you say yoroshiku onegaishimasu. There is the feeling of a good future, and of relying on someone else to help you in some way (even if that help is just future acceptance of your existence). The kanji itself for 宜 means “good” or “best regards,” too, which points us even closer towards more of the contexts of yoroshiku that exist (remember in one of the examples where you “send your best wishes” to someone?). In effect, looking at this particular kanji (not the next one, thank you commenters!) actually does help decipher the meaning of this word just a little bit. It doesn’t give us a “perfect” translation, but it does help to show the feelings behind the word just a little bit better. Yet another reason to learn kanji (and learn it better than me, apparently :)

That being said, there’s an “ateji” version of yoroshiku as well. Ateji basically are kanji that contain the correct sounds used to “spell out” Japanese words. This is mostly done with kana now (especially katakana), but you still see it lingering around a decent bit. Here’s the ateji version of yoroshiku, which you saw briefly earlier:


If you know a little bit of Japanese, you’ll know that yoroshiku is made up of four separate kana (よろしく). That means that this version consists of one kanji per kana. Wow. When I saw this kanji, I was (incorrectly) thinking… hmmm, I wonder if I can break these kanji apart, take their separate meanings, and come up with a slightly more accurate definition of yoroshiku (compared to all the other so-so definitions out there). I’m not sure if I came up with something better, but here’s a breakdown of the four kanji:

夜: Evening, Night

露: Dew

死: Death

苦: Hardship, Suffering

Usually when you break up jukugo words (combination kanji words), take their individual meanings, and put them together again, you come up with something that makes a good amount of sense. Unfortunately, when you break things up that consist of ateji kanji, they have almost no meaning or relation at all to the actual word itself. Only the sounds correlate, and that’s what happened here. Still though, I thought all these kanji just feel so… poetic… not to mention incredibly emo.

I feel like the first two go together (evening & dew) and the last two go together (death & hardship), but that’s about as far as you can take things. That’s the fun of kanji, I guess…

So, all that being said, I want to know what you think. You’ve learned the definition of yoroshiku. You’ve seen it in action to help you get a better idea of how it’s used and what it means, based on context. We’ve also looked at the kanji, which has helped a little. So, how would you define this word. Can you help come up with a “better” definition? The best answerers will get Tofugu Stickers (yes, they exist).

On top of all this, there are other good “yoroshiku” situations that exist out there… probably a ton more. If you’ve had experience with yoroshiku, share them in the comments below! The more examples people can see, the more they’ll understand the “feeling” behind よろしく, rather than the clunky definitions we try to make up for it.

P.S. Are you following Tofugu on Twitter? よろしくおねがいします!!

  • TigrouMeow

    I used Yoroshiku Onegaishimasu at the end of my Sayonara e-mail on the day I left my previous company (a very happy move). I didn’t know the exact meaning of the sentence but it was feeling right to have it there. Then I added a bowing lolcat just after that. Then left. It’s a really good memory for me, and actually the only one I have with that expression :)

  • Brent Miller

    I always thought it was written as 宜しく. Where does the jukugo come from?

  • Kelovar

    I can pretty much guess when to use it (well, most of the time), thanks to years of watching anime, but yeah, I’ve seen it mostly subtitled as “Please treat me well” or “Nice to meet you” (even though I know it’s not *exactly* what it means).

    And that kanji is scary when you look at the individual kanji’s definitions o.o I’m curious to see if someone will come with an explanation about why it’s composed of those four… Now I understand why you wanted to blog about it lol

  • lastingdreams

    I never knew a kanji existed for “yoroshiku” either!
    Most of the time, I would define or describe it as, “Please keep me in positive regards.” But you have a lot of really great variations of how it’s used; thanks :)

  • Roddy McDougall

    I came here to post the same thing; isn’t よろしく just the adverbial form of よろしい?

    As for the ateji, I’ve only ever seem 夜露死苦 used in a tough guy/bousouzoku context so I’m fairly sure it’s just a badass way of saying ‘Yoroshiku’. Unless you were joking around with a colleague,I definitely wouldn’t use it in a business letter or email as it would be considered highly unprofessional.

    Maybe I’ve got it wrong all this time though…

  • Anonymous

    Exactly. よろしく (宜しく) is simply the adverbial form of 宜しい. It’s conjugated into an adverb because it’s modifying the verb 願う.

  • Cmrhorsley

    The most

  • Chris

    The most important meaning of “yoroshikuonegaishimasu” in an office is “do it!”. As in “I need this report by 5pm or else. Yoroshikuonegaishimasu”. Once you say that, the deal is sealed.

  • koichi

    omg, you guys are all totally right… Will have to update this post to reflect that… I’ve just never seen よろしく written in anything but hiragana, I guess. Thank you!

  • FunkyWyrm

    Hmmm… A poetic interpretation for Evening-Dew-Death-Hardship could be “To the dew cleansed evening, through hardship until death”.

    Maybe a bit like the English saying “Through hell and high water”, meaning surpassing all obstacles. This seems a reasonable (if extravagant) interpretation of よろしく in most examples presented here.

  • delphine

    Hi Koichi – longtime lurker, first time poster, just had to comment as Mandarin is my mother tongue!

    Fascinating as those characters are, as far as I know they don’t mean anything in Chinese either… that is to say there is no Chinese phrase “夜露死苦”.

    If someone told me those were Chinese words, I would interpret them as something like “night seeps out and bitterness dies”, as 露 in Chinese also has the meaning of to appear or to become revealed. Or they could mean “night seeps out and I die of bitterness”, “death is bitter when night comes”, anything along those lines. I am not the most fluent Mandarin speaker (I grew up with it but haven’t spoken/read it at length in ages) so anyone with alternative interpretations is welcome to suggest.

    It does look like a terribly emo set of characters, when you put them all together like that.

  • Meroigo

    I know I am equal to the hardship death in the evening dew results in, but see past that and pretty please, take care of me. ( `・∀・´)ノヨロシク

  • Huong Le

    Hi. Thank you for a very interesting post. I didn’t know such a kanji version existed either :) also, just to point out this trivia: よろしく is hiragana not katakana. Cheers.

  • Leah Hicks

    Even though that may not be the actual Kanji, I’m sure some people could easily use this to come up with a mnemonic that works for them. Though I have to say, it seems easier to just remember 宜しくお願いします in its Kanji form which seems to say: “I beg for your regards.”

  • UV

    When I saw your topic pic with those words – and understood all those words, I was wondering what it all meant in Japanese.
    Anyway, I’m chinese, and as mentioned from someone before before; it doesn’t seem like something used in conversation ~ unless some poetic phrase used poetic way.
    But after looking at it some more – I think I got it!
    In mandarin pin yin pronunciation: ‘ye lu si ku’ . If you say it bit improperly, I think it’s supposed to sound like ‘yoroshiku’
    Hmm, maybe it’s just a way to help mandarin speakers to get into pronouncing yoroshiku, as like cheat prompts. Like furigana, written above the hiragana.

  • Meroigo
  • Japan Alana

    My yosakoi soran dance team says yoroshiku onegaishimasu and bows to the audience before we perform at festivals. I guess in this instance it’s more like, “If you will” or “For your consideration” kind of feeling. Any thoughts on the use in this situation?

  • Michael

    Most likely ateji, but here’s an airy-fairy version:
    The dark “Evening” suggests an unknown quality to the relationship – you don’t know what lies ahead in regards to your interactions with them; could be terrible, could be favourable, which is why you’re letting them know that you *hope* future interactions with them are the latter.
    “Dew” gives a sense of freshness and peace – you may have just met them for the first time, so the freshness of the dew is like the freshness of your aquaintancy.
    I think “Death” and “Suffering” can be taken two ways (but with both meanings together):
    It could be that you’re REALLY trying to get across the message of hoping have a good relationship with them – “Even through times death and suffering, we shall remain in good favour with each other” (a la “Through thick and thin”, “through hell and high water”, etc.)
    It could mean something in the way of “Your help and positive interaction with me will put an end (death) to any suffering I may face or have faced prior to meeting you” – a bit melodramatic, yes, but it gets the message across and I guess it’s good to lay it on a bit to make you seem more humble haha.

  • Tomo

    It’s 100% ateji. There is another ateji for よろしく, 宜敷く. The only non-ateji version is 宜しく.

    I never really thought about defining it(why define it in some other language if it makes sense in Japanese?), but thinking about it, I’d say it’s like a phrase that signifies your dependance or (humble) expectation towards someone.

  • Tomo

    It’s 100% ateji. There is another ateji for よろしく, 宜敷く. The only non-ateji version is 宜しく.

    I never really thought about defining it(why define it in some other language if it makes sense in Japanese?), but thinking about it, I’d say it’s like a phrase that signifies your dependance or (humble) expectation towards someone.

  • Kelovar

    Wow… I didn’t know about ateji *still a beginner*. Just looked on wikipedia to get more information about it. Now that I read about it, I realized I knew about it without having a name for it: in anime I watched, I remember characters introducing themselves, writing/saying their names’ kanji, then saying stuff like “this one pronounced like wind, and this one like river” . I guess that’s pretty much the equivalent of writing ateji.

    Interesting note: rikaichan does mention when you find an ateji (yeah, it did on 夜露死苦, but I thought it was simply a type of word I had yet to learn). Well, now I know what’s an ateji thanks to this ^^

  • Elsa

    I tweeted about this kanji and the general consensus from my Japanese followers is that it was used by 昔のヤンキー (old delinquents).

    Someone once taught me 愛死天流: aishiteru (I love you).

  • ngoilan

    The first time I encountered this expression was watching SMAP concert extras. They say this to the staff who work behind the scenes before the concert. The subs usually translate it as – counting on you.

  • Anonymous

    OK, now a beginner question: i learnt – like you guys, i guess – to say よろしくおねがいします. But today, in a textbook, i read a formal conversation between 2 businessmen who said to each other: どうぞよろしく.
    Is there a difference of formality level between the two, or are they perfectly synonymous?

  • Carol

    Just for fun I pasted よろしくおねがいしますinto Google translate…the reply was “thank you.”

  • Michael

    I understand it as a formal version of what is usually indirect communication. You know the way that you don’t frown and glare at someone’s face if you want to convey respect for them? Similarly, looking down below another person’s gaze is kind of verbalized in “Yoroshiku Onegaishimasu.”

    Also, when someone else is doing you a solid or has some power over you, you want to encourage them a certain way. “I formally declare my submission to you” doesn’t really have the same ring to it as “I’m counting on you” or “to do good/make a better future.”

  • Jenny

    My experience with よろしくおねがいします is either meeting people for the first time and introducing ourselves or I’d help plan a lessons with a teacher and they’d say it to me before going into class to teach.

  • It’sAMe

    I’m in Japan right now, and here this on a more or less daily basis, so I bassically understand the meaning. The problem is how does one respond to this? I understand the feeling behind it, but I can not for the life of me figure out what to say back.

  • Japan Alana

    I agree! A teacher will say this to me after discussing what I will teach next class and I don’t know what to say back so I just bow and say “Hai~”. Lame? They aren’t doing any preparation or teaching so don’t think I should say it back.

  • Omegatoko

    i had heard yoroshiku onegaishimasu’s best translation was “please be nice to me” but when traslated from japanese to english say in a business environment during a trade for example it doesent really work so it becomes ” i look foward to working with you”

  • Jeremy

    I study bujutsu with a teacher in Japan and we always say 宜しくお願いします before entering the training space. In my own mind, this has always been translated as, “please don’t hurt me so bad that I can’t walk off the mat at the end of class.”

    One of the things I’ve always like about Japanese is the fact that you don’t have to use a subject or conjugate the verb so you can leave it completely open as to who is doing the action. However, this adds to the difficulty in translating to English which requires the subject to be specific and stated. 宜しくお願いします is so broadly useful because it leaves the idea of who is being “good” open to interpretation based on the situation. In that way, I think it speaks more to the relationship than to the specific circumstance or action. So I like to interpret it into English as, “Let’s be good to eachother.”

  • Alessa

    when i saw the ateji kanji in the first place i thought you were kidding. ^^

  • cyberscythe

    I consider it one of those stock phrases that Japanese seem to have in spades. It’s interesting to go in-depth an examine it though, much like examining the etymology of English idioms like “mad as a hatter”.

    My favourite (most memorable) translation for yoroshiku is “Thanks in advance.”

  • lovely..

    the first time i encountered written like that was in this akbingo thing i didn’t get it so i looked it up and then i went ooh.
    but anyways it’s not that rare to see it in kanji 宜しくお願い致します.

  • lovely..

    BUT even so surely you’ve heard yoroshii before… so like it’s an i-adjective and it conjugates to yoroshiku etc. but anyways thx for this informative post besides that little problem.

  • Leah Hicks

    I kind of feel that おねがいします is used in extremely formal contexts, maybe not so much for business contexts. But I suppose it depends on the context of the conversation ^^;

  • Jon

    夜露死苦 makes perfect sense now! “This evening, dew will cause great amount of death or suffering”. So by saying it to someone, it’s like when James Bond villains are weirdly polite. Thanks tofugu!

  • Mac @ JLPT Boot Camp

    I usually use よろしくお願いします to mean ‘I’m looking forward to working with you’. That’s usually how my students use it to, in the sense that they’ll soon be my students (coming from another teacher/class for example).
    I usually use just お願いします as ‘that would be great if you do that for me, thanks’. So maybe a really long translation would be – ‘That would be really great if you could be nice to me thanks.’ Sounds like something straight out of office speak anonymous, but that would be my best guess of the translation.

  • n_n

    He said it was kana.

    Kana means both hiragana and katakana.

  • Hilda

    if i may ask, can ‘yoroshiku’ be used when you meet someone again after a very long time (after a holiday to be exact)? and if yes, to which meaning does it refer?

  • koichi

    Probably not, but what would you be trying to say with this よろしく after
    meeting someone after a very long time?

  • Hilda

    Haha actually that’s why I thought it was confusing as well. A college friend of mine said that to me when we met again after winter holiday, so I was wondering to which meaning did he want to refer. :p TY for the answer though.

  • Tina

    Nice article!

    I kind of like the ateji kanji representation, actually…露 can mean exposed too, right? So maybe it could mean “on ‘nights’ when I’m feeling ‘exposed,’ please keep me from ‘death’ and ‘suffering.'”

  • kashiii

    If I understood this correctly, would yoroshiku onegaishimasu translate to something like “I ask for your favor” or “I ask for your support” ?

  • Perry Eubank

    Koichi, I’ve been living in Japan for 9 months now, and I feel like half the time I hear よろしくお願いします they are pronouncing the くas こ。The one time I said it that way I was immediately corrected. Am I imagining it or has anyone else noticed it?

  • Ken Seeroi

    It’s usually used after making a request, as a way of saying, “Don’t screw this up.”

    For example, “I need this report completed by tomorrow morning.  よろしくお願いします.”  Or, “I’ll introduce you to my sister, who’s unmarried.  よろしくお願いします.”

  • Aaa

    You should not use the kanji, because it have a bad mean. Yoroshiku (the kanjis) was used by generals when the soldiers was going to fight. The yoroshiku by itself (write in hiragana) have all the meanings said before, it can be used betwen friends..

  • Ken Seeroi

    This expression is really easy to understand. 

    It’s part of a set greeting, along the lines of “Nice to meet you.” 

    When it’s not used as a greeting, it usually means “Don’t screw this up.”  As in “Please bring a bottle of wine to the party.  よろしくおねがいします。” (i.e. “Don’t forget, okay?”)

    It’s either written in hiragana, or with kanji as 宜しくお願いします.  Written as such is carries no negative connotations.

    That’s all you need to know.  Done and done.

  • Mita

    Is that the character for ‘death’ there? For the sound ‘shi’?

  • Kinga

    Hi, Koichi. Thank you for an interesting article. Also, thanks to all of you for your comments – they make the meaning of yoroshiku context much easier to understand. I’ve come across the teaching context (teacher saying this expression before starting the class). In your comments, however, was no clue as to how to reply to this. And that is worth knowing, I guess. Koichi, do you have any idea what to say as a reply in this context?

  • Perry Eubank

    usually they say in reply “yoroshiku” or “yoroshiku onegaishimasu” or just “onegaishimasu” or sometimes just “hai.” That’s what I hear around the office anyway… a million times a day :/

  • J

    For me the best mnemonic for よろしくお願いします has been simply “Please treat me well”. よろしい〜よろしく = “good〜well” and お願いします = “please (do for me)”. When you’re meeting someone for the first time or joining any kind of a new group, you hope to get along with them which usually stems from treating each other well. When you’re asking someone to do something for you, you’re sort of asking them to treat you well, too. Musicians and the like often stick it at the end of various announcements, in a “Hey guys, I have a new album coming out soon. よろしくお願いします!” kind of way – the English equivalent would be something like “Please support me (and buy my album)”.

    Anyway, thanks for the post!

  • sena

    These definitions are not very helpful, and talking about the ateji (phonetic) kanji is a complete distraction. What does the phrase *literally* mean? (“Please be kind to me” sounds especially awful.) I’m a total beginner but I think I can figure this one out.

    願う- verb (お願いします, formal/humble form)
    to desire; to wish; to hope;

    よろしく – adverb
    well; properly; suitably;

    So something like “(I/Let’s) sincerely hope that (this/it) goes well/agreeably/favorably.” That seems to pretty well fit just about every usage mentioned here. Literal translation is simple and helpful, please try to keep that in mind. Comments or corrections from the experts?

  • Mikey-desu <3

    I’m totally late-late with commenting this and I don’t know if anyone else has suggested this in previous comments (which they probably have since I’m too lazy to scroll down far enough), I’ve just recently taken up this language after years of wanting to and one of the first things I learned was this phrase.

    I think that you have to use this phrase within the context of a whole sentence and not just itself alone, because I think if a Japanese-speaking native saw this on plain white paper and back text they would not know what to think of it, specifically.

    So, if I used it like this: “Hejimemashite. Mikey-desu (Me <3), yoroshiku onegaishimatsu", then I think it is implied that I'm greeting someone, I'm introducing myself, and I would like them to look favorably upon me .

  • William White


  • Digitalsoju

    As soon as I read a few of the descriptions, I immediately knew that the word was going to have the same meaning as 잘 부탁합니다 in Korean. Interesting they share this same verb, which doesn’t exist in English.

  • Watashi Wa Menaiko Takaaki-Ota


  • Keith

    It depends, but if it’s in the context of an introduction, then “Kochira Koso” plus “Yoroshiku Onegaishiamsu” is a proper response.

  • Duck


  • Luke

    hi just came across this post having just begun studying Japanese. I wonder if in fact you’re mistaken about the Kanji for

    Yoroshiku. It stands out to me that if you were to pronounce “夜露死苦” in Mandarin Chinese it is “Ye-lu-si-ku” which makes me think that in fact it is just a Chinese-phonetic for pronouncing Yoroshiku.

  • Cornflake

    Konnichiwa! I ve created a group on facebook where its basic theme revolves around anime manga and games! If you wish to join and share your thoughts ideas and creations you are more than welcome.! :)
    Facebook group :
    Facebook Page :

    I hope you considere it and of course you re more than welcome : )

    Arigato gozaimachu :)

  • luscher

    from now on … wait, i mean *from today forward* i will use this for EVERYTHING ! this will even have to be the corporate slogan for my soon-to-be-opening “International House of Pancakes and Soba : よろしくおねがいします” !

    thanks, Koichi – よろしくおねがいします !

  • derpp

    I often find myself stumbling over awkward English phrasing to attempt to get across this exact emotion/feeling/thought. I don’t mean it in a self-depreciating way, I’m just genuinely thankful of people putting up with me when it’s more effort, and not above thinking I never need help.

  • MSHolmes

    Death and hardship are inevitably coming in life (like dew in the evening) but You can make the experience more endurable.