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How do you respond to ありがとうございます and other ways of giving thanks? Are there any expressions similar to the English "You're welcome" or "No problem", or is it appropriate to not respond at all?

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4 Answers 4

up vote 9 down vote accepted

The simplest one is 「いいえ」, "not at all". The next one up is 「どういたしまして」, "would do the same". Another one you may come across is 「とんでもない」, "don't mention it", or one of its more polite variants (replacing 「ありません」 or 「ございません」 as appropriate). There are even more polite responses, but as a 外国人 you will not be expected to have to worry about them.

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I'd like to suggest that we avoid exceptionalism for being non-native-Japanese. If there are other responses available in the language, then let's learn them. –  Dave M G Jul 15 '11 at 13:27
I actually agree. My "don't worry" was meant to be more informative than final. –  Ignacio Vazquez-Abrams Jul 15 '11 at 13:45
Though not many Japanese know, it is grammatically incorrect to say とんでもありません or とんでもございません。 The correct way to say the polite form is either とんでもないことです or とんでもないことでございます. –  syockit Jul 15 '11 at 15:19
@Ignacio: Fair enough. It's just something I am extra sensitive to. ;) –  Dave M G Jul 15 '11 at 16:10
You know, maybe this is just me, but I rarely hear どういたしまして these days, despite the fact that it's always included in the Chapter 1: Greetings and Common Phrases portion of most courses. And when I do hear it, it's sometimes said sarcastically, as though the speaker doesn't really want to say it but is adding a veneer of politeness for the sake of politeness. I would personally rank とんでもない above どういたしまして simply because the former is much more common. –  Derek Schaab Jul 15 '11 at 20:18


It's the safe way to go but it' very long and can be viewed as a little too much for a simple "thank you" (this is still keigo)

いいえ いいえ

Often pronounced as: いぇいぇ or いやいや as it is shorter


Japanese like to make sounds like this often. Can be used for very small things, like someone dropped a paper and you help picking it up. 「ん」with a smile works as well.


No problem.

問題ない A.K.A 無問題 (もうまんたい)

No problem. (To use with いいえ for clarity?)


Often preceded by いいえ -> That's ok, no problem.


Often preceded by いいえ -> Lit. "That was an easy task". Very polite.


Lit. "I'll do the same next time" Very polite.


Often preceded by いいえ -> No, that's nothing.

うん, いいよ

Say that to a friend. "oh, it's OK". Simple and widely used.

こちらこそ (ありがとう)

If you need to say thank you also (thank you too)


Lit. "No need to be polite".


Often preceded by うん or おー. "Don't worry, don't mention it"

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I like the extensiveness of this list, so +1 for that, but the discussion on 問題ない elsewhere seems to indicate that this phrase isn't quite analogous to the English "No problem." –  Derek Schaab Jul 15 '11 at 20:22
@Derek Schaab: I think this requires more research. 問題ない is the modern form of 無問題(もうまんたい) which comes from the Chinese (没问题) which is very widely used nowadays with the exact same meaning as "No problem". –  repecmps Jul 16 '11 at 1:32

どう致しまして(どういたしまして) is one way. I tend to go with a simple nod and 'ん', myself. (I'm really bad at receiving 'thank yous' in both languages, though.)

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Also, "no problem" = 問題ない(し) - (I personally add the し to soften it).

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That is colloquial, and is used only among certain young generation, and is impolite if you use it in formal occasions. Actually, 問題ない will be a bit rude. The whole idea of responding to thanks is different between English and Japanese. In English, you acknowledge that you did a good thing. In Japanese, you have to deny it. –  sawa Jul 15 '11 at 14:37
To go in the same direction as @sawa: that "問題ない" (with or without し) quite possibly doesn't mean what you think it means. Although it literally means "no problem", that's not exactly the same sort of idiomatic "no problem" as what you'd use in reply to a thanks. You'd tend to use it when there really could be a problem and you are saying it's all OK. –  Dave Jul 15 '11 at 19:22
@sawa - [[In English, you acknowledge that you did a good thing. In Japanese, you have to deny it]] - good point; I wish I could +1 your comment again. @Dave - I would say that "no problem" is a cliche, not an idiom since it can/often-does take the literal meaning of the words; but I see what you meant. –  istrasci Jul 15 '11 at 19:39
Do Japanese people know the Spanish/Spanglish phrase "no problemo"? –  Andrew Grimm Jan 21 '12 at 10:43

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