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When on business in Japan last year, a Japanese colleague said よろしくおねがいします to me as the group were leaving after dinner.

I'm aware of its usage in initial greetings, as is usually taught in textbooks, but what is its English meaning in this context?

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よろしくおねがいします can mean many things in different contexts.

The phrase is often first learned as a component of introductions, and thus may be translated as "pleased to meet you" or "how do you do?" but its literal translation is "please [treat me] well/favorably."

Outside of introductions you'll often hear it:

  • When starting a new project with someone: "Please be a good teammate to me."
  • When you've agreed to help someone or do them a favor: "Thanks, and please help me like you promised."
  • When you're about to start playing a game with someone: "Please don't cheat." :)

Did you agree to help your colleague with something during dinner? That might account for it.

  • Always was fascinated by this kind of thing. One of the few cases where the correct translation can also be very confusing, since what they're really saying is something we just don't ever say in English. Pretty neat. :3 – William T Froggard Oct 16 '17 at 11:53
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In that context, I would interpret it as a wish for continuing good relations. It's particularly applicable if you had discussed working together on something.

In general, it's most often used as a wish for everything to go well, when doing something together or just being together, and very often when expecting some form of support from somebody (or the general public). "I wish you will treat me (us) well".

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Very roughly it translates I believe to 'treat me well please' but without the nuance those words carry in English.

I think in the context you're describing it conveyed a feeling of wanting to continue a good (working!) relationship in the future.

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