how do you say "Good luck"?

Asked 5 years ago

Know someone who might be able to answer this question?

2 Answers


The Japanese - to my knowledge - don't actually ever wish anyone 'good luck'!  At least, not literally.

What they will say however is any number of variations on 'gambatte', which means 'do your best' or 'try hard.'  Contextually it fulfils the same purpose.  Want to 'wish someone good luck' on an exam or at a sporting event, for example?  Use 'gambatte'.

Mind the variations though:

'Gambatte kudasai' if you don't know the person you're speaking to too well.

'Gambatte ne' if you know the person and are friendly with them.

'Gambare!' is what you shout at people participating in a sport to cheer them on.  Don't actually ever use this one to someone's face, it can come across as a bit rude.


Also when speaking with friends and they tell you of their intention to do something - i.e. 'I'm going to start a band!' or 'I'm going to start exercising every day!' it's good to respond with 'gambatte' to show your support.  In English it would be like saying 'good luck with that' but whereas that phrase usually comes off as quite throwaway or sarcastic at worst in Japanese saying 'gambatte' is quite meaningful and supportive. 


In short it's a good phrase to know. It's also quite interesting that as a culture the Japanese don't leave a positive result up to good fortune but rather hard work. 


As a bonus bit the literal translation of 'good fortune' is kou'un.  It uses the kanji 'happiness' for the kou and 'transport' for the 'un'.

Benkyou de gambatte ne!  (Best of luck with your studies!)


Answered 5 years ago

I think you are correct here in your assertiion.. However.. it's Ganbatte (がんばって / 頑張って).. with an n not an M :)

Commented 5 years ago

I think you are both correct. Written out, of course it's the "n". But when it's pronounced you might hear an "m". I'm pretty sure OP knows it's an "N" already, at least what I've gathered from his other answers.

Commented 5 years ago

Hi Dave - I was writing with pronunciation in mind. It is of course がんばって but there's the rule where the 'n' becomes an 'm' sound before a 'b' or 'p' sound.

Commented 5 years ago


There is another term used commonly in Japan which is きよつけて (kiyotsukete).

It means "be careful" when someone is going out on a journey, sailing out to sea, or trying something risky.

Answered 5 years ago

The "よ" there is supposed to be "を". 気を付けて/きをつけて. Now, I'm going purely from when I learned it from wanikani. If it's pronounced that way, I wouldn't know. x.x

Commented 5 years ago

it would be pronounced kiyotsukete not kiwotsukete, but it is written with the character for (w)o. Sorry for no hiragana, work keyboard has no Japanese typing.

Commented 5 years ago

I see I see

Commented 5 years ago