I recently saw a video on greetings in Japan and the guy said something that I've never heard before: "you cannot use こんにちは more then once per day to the same person". He proceeded to explain that if you meet the same person again later in the same time-frame you have to say something else - you cannot use again こんにちは.

I tried to confirm this from other sources on the net, but simply can't find anything else.

I apologize for the noob question - sometimes it is hard to tell the difference between joke and serious.

So, is he just joking (did not look like that and the rest of what he said seems to check out), or is this true?

  • 2
    I reckon he's saying that because こんにちは・こんばんは are often introduced as translations of 'hello' instead of the 'good day' and 'good evening' they actually are. ('Hello' is often repeated throughout the day by English speakers, while the latter two wouldn't be.)
    – oals
    Commented May 6, 2015 at 11:21
  • 1
    Also, the guy in the video is correct. I had dialogue in my textbook where the character was corrected because he used those greetings twice to the same person during the same day; he was instructed to instead just nod his head after the first time.
    – oals
    Commented May 6, 2015 at 11:26

1 Answer 1


It is no joke.

Among us native speakers, we generally do not say the same time-of-the-day greeting more than once to the same person per day.

Sometimes we do it twice by mistake and when that happens, a fairly awkward moment could pass even though most people would just laugh it off in a friendly way. We actually would sometimes apologize briefly for doing it a second time by saying something like:

「あっ、すいません、さっきお[会]{あ}いしましたね。」 = "Oops, excuse me! We just greeted a while ago."

  • 1
    I sometimes go like "またまたこんにちは〜" or something to somebody familiar, humorously.
    – Yosh
    Commented May 7, 2015 at 15:22

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