I've seen お疲れさま and ご[苦労]{くろう}さま used to say "Thank you" after some had done work of some type. After reading the お疲れさま thread, I realize that the two are not interchangeable. So when do you use ご[苦労]{くろう}さま?

When is it appropriate to use otsukaresama?

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    It might be fun to also compare "お疲れ~!" and "ご苦労。" :D
    – user1016
    Commented Mar 23, 2012 at 5:05
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    @Chocolate true, true, that would be interesting; people my age always seem to end up using お疲れ〜 with me, and older people always seem to use ご苦労 with me, haha...
    – summea
    Commented Mar 23, 2012 at 15:15
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    @Chocolate: Feel free to. However, please make it an answer not a comment :)
    – dotnetN00b
    Commented Mar 23, 2012 at 15:20
  • @summea: See above :)
    – dotnetN00b
    Commented Mar 23, 2012 at 15:20
  • possible duplicate of When and to whom should I use the expression ご苦労様 (gokurousama)? Commented Mar 24, 2012 at 12:15

2 Answers 2


(First, a note: because there is a ご at the beginning of ごくろうさま, that お〜 is actually not there. :)

I've most often heard ご苦労様{くろうさま} used by people older than myself, when I have done something for the person (or in some way have helped the person,) using that phrase. (Besides age, this could also happen in a business situation, where a senior worker is speaking to a junior worker.)

For reference, more information can be found in the following article: 御苦労様.

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    The first link no longer works, but now connects to something spammy/inappropriate. Commented Nov 23, 2022 at 6:34
  • @JacobMaibach Thank you for letting me know, Jacob! I've removed that link from the answer.
    – summea
    Commented Dec 13, 2022 at 6:37

From how I understand it, it is sort of a subsection of when you might say お疲れ様でした, for when people are "just doing their job" so to speak. Like if a firefighter gets a cat from out of a tree, or you're leaving your job site and are talking to your co-workers. It seems to me that this is said to police officers a lot.

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    Can someone explain why I'm wrong/got downvoted please? Commented Mar 26, 2012 at 22:39

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