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When sending emails, I've noticed that Japanese colleagues use all sorts of kanji/kana combinations for the simple phrases ありがとうございました and よろしくおねがいいたします.

For example:

  1. ありがとうございました
  2. 有難うございました
  3. 有難う御座いました
  4. ありがとう御座いました

and

  1. 宜しくお願いいたします
  2. よろしくお願いいたします
  3. よろしくお願い致します

Are there hidden nuances to using more or fewer kanji? Do you sound like a try hard if you use all kanji, or do you sound more polite?

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I do believe that the proper kanji is 蟻が十 in case you were wondering. –  silvermaple Apr 12 '12 at 15:28
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For the record the above comment is, for whatever reason, incorrect and potentially misleading, as discussed here –  ジョン Apr 14 '12 at 12:36
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Yes, I'm very sorry if anyone actually thought that meant "Thank you". It means "10 ants"...it's a silly play on words, meant to make someone, at the very least, crack a grin. Please take it in the spirit it was meant. Ten ants. –  silvermaple Apr 14 '12 at 14:42
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@silvermaple I cracked a grin (after jishoing 蟻). I think sawa was concerned about misleading a new learner who might see this, but no harm done as far as I can see, especially now you've clarified. –  ジョン Apr 14 '12 at 15:11
    
What have seen doing business in Japan is that 有難う is very common. However 御座います is basically never used. Other than that all the possibilities are fine. –  Ian Apr 19 '12 at 0:21
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2 Answers

up vote 12 down vote accepted

Amongst all the business teachers I have studied with (and then worked with), the rules to remember were:

-The auxiliary verb should be written in hiragana:

お願い致します should be お願いいたします

宜しくお願いいたします is correct as well as よろしくお願いいたします

-Thank you should be written in hiragana:

ありがとうございました

-It's ok to use all kanji in literary work.

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I've seen a lot of people use お願い致します and 宜しくお願いいたします in official emails. –  Lưu Vĩnh Phúc Jun 28 at 14:58
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According to my wife (native Japanese), go with the simple rule of thumb:

hiragana for friends

ありがとうございました

lots of kanji for formal/work emails.

有難う御座いました

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5  
It is true that kanji looks more formal and hiragana looks more friendly as a general rule. But in ありがとうございました, I always use hiragana because use of kanji in 有難う and 御座いました look a little old-fashioned to me. –  Tsuyoshi Ito Jun 4 '11 at 13:11
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Well I'm not Japanese anyway but I like kanji very much "per se". 有難う makes clear the original meaning, "difficult to exist/almost impossible" which is a very nice way to thanks someone IMHO. –  Uberto Jun 4 '11 at 18:28
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Keep in mind that native speakers don't generally give a damn about etymology, whereas learners are very interested in grasping at straws to make the modern language make sense to them. Using kanji for the sake of "showing etymology" can mark you as a nonnative speaker :) Native speakers are not thinking "difficult to exist/almost impossible" to themselves when they say ありがとう. –  flamingspinach Jun 4 '11 at 23:27
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By the way, I agree with Tsuyoshi Ito. I would always use hiragana for set phrases like ありがとうございました. –  flamingspinach Jun 4 '11 at 23:28
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I guess its one of these cases where you could use either kanji or hiragana and it wouldn't kill you. There are all kinds of usage books that try to dictate when to use kanji and when kana should be preferred, it's really all just nitpickery. In real usage you'll see both forms used widely enough, though it really seems like the hiragana form is getting much more common. Like everyone else here, I'd use hiragana, since it seems less heavy to my eyes, but using kanji wouldn't kill you either. –  Boaz Yaniv Jun 5 '11 at 3:16
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