Proper Japanese Eating Etiquette [Itadaki-masu, Gochisosama]

2024-03-12 Proper Japanese Eating Etiquette [Itadaki-masu, Gochisosama]

Cultural Tips

Before meals in Japan, people say “Itadaki-masu”. Some English guidebooks may say that it means, “I will eat now!”, “Dig in!” or “Let’s eat!”, but the literal meaning is, “I will humbly receive lives!” It is a phrase used to show your appreciation for the blessings of nature and the lives of other creatures because you are taking the precious gift of life from something else in order for you to continue living.

After meals, people say “Gochisou-sama (deshita.)” This is used to show your thanks to the people who prepared the meal for you. Even if you cooked the meal by yourself, many people, such as farmers, fishermen, and craftsmen were involved to provide the ingredients and tools for you.

In Japan, it is considered good manners to show your appreciation to every person involved.

So, by saying “Itadaki-masu” before meals and “Gochisou-sama-(deshita)” after meals, you are showing good manners.