I am trying to conduct business with a company located in Japan. I am trying to buy a kimono to complete a set for someone dear to me...(who may or may not be on the site so I am keeping this part intentionally vague.)

Anyway on to what I am asking...

For years, I have been opening blind inquiries with "Sir or Madam:"

While お早うござします is fine for a friendly meeting or a second letter somehow this seems like it might be a bit of a put-off for an initial inquiry.

Would it be better to use 皆さん or 御中 皆さん?

Second: Is it preferable to use 私 or 僕 when addressing oneself in business correspondence?


  • Ahem... お早うござします is not fine, not even for a friendly meeting. And what's (a misspelled) おんちゅ doing there?
    – Earthliŋ
    Commented Mar 24, 2015 at 13:58
  • thank you for settting me straight. What would be the correct way to start this? 御中皆さん?
    – Chris
    Commented Mar 24, 2015 at 14:17
  • No, which is why I asked what it is doing at the start of your letter. I haven't seen your other questions, but your original question contained five Japanese words with already two spelling mistakes and two usage errors, so I'm sort of worried about the rest of the letter, even if somebody helps you nail the opening... =) Are you sure you are asking the right question? Why don't you edit in a short letter from start to finish in standard textbook Japanese (without trying to be fancy). After seeing the tone of the letter it will be much easier to suggest the right opening.
    – Earthliŋ
    Commented Mar 24, 2015 at 14:29
  • I am more concerned with etiquette. I am afraid this is only my second foray into the Japanese business world. The first was successful, but I think that was because I was dealing with a local artisan who was much more tolerant of my ignorance.
    – Chris
    Commented Mar 24, 2015 at 14:35

2 Answers 2


The below would be formal way to address somebody serving you. Company name followed by contact person (for lack of a better English term, if somebody has one please let me know)

Company Name


blah blah, your request


おはようございます is fine.

Do you think 皆さん and 御中 are the same? They are entirely different. 御中 is an honorific that's added to a company name with their address on an envelope. If you use 皆さん, みなさま is better instead in letters or so. みなさん is fine in conversation.

You should use 私 in public.

  • In a letter from a customer to a company like this, would you use 拝啓?
    – Avery
    Commented Mar 24, 2015 at 15:54
  • 1
    Either will do. 拝啓 heralds set phrases that pick up a season or climate, but you don't have to use it if you feel it wordy.
    – user4092
    Commented Mar 25, 2015 at 2:24
  • If you are writing something formal enough to require "Dear Sir or Madam" in English you need something more formal. (I put in an answer for what you would send to a company)
    – paullb
    Commented May 28, 2015 at 8:26

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