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10 Ways to Say “Good Luck” in Japanese Language

Wishing someone “good luck” is a universal sentiment, conveying hope and encouragement for someone’s endeavors or challenges. In Japanese, these expressions are not only rich in cultural significance but also vary in nuance and usage. This article explores how to articulate good luck in Japanese, distinguishes between similar phrases, dives into various ways to express these sentiments, and highlights cultural symbols associated with good fortune.

Good luck in Japanese
Good luck in Japanese

How to Say Good Luck in Japanese

The most straightforward way to say “good luck” in Japanese is がんばって (Ganbatte), which is derived from the verb がんばる (Ganbaru). The original meaning of がんばる (Ganbaru) is to persevere or to do one’s best. In Japan, people usually use this expression to encourage someone to put forth their best effort and is appropriate in a wide range of situations.

Ganbatte vs Ganbare: What is the Difference?

While がんばって (Ganbatte) and がんばれ (Ganbare) might sound similar, they serve different grammatical purposes:

  • がんばって (Ganbatte) is the te-form of the verb がんばる (Ganbaru), which is often used as a general encouragement and can be roughly translated as “do your best” or “good luck.”
  • がんばれ (Ganbare) is the imperative form of the same verb, giving it a stronger, more urgent connotation like “Come on! You can do it!”

Both expressions are used to motivate or encourage someone, but Ganbare might be used in more intense contexts or when you want to strongly cheer someone on.

10 Ways to Say “Good Luck” in Japanese

  1. がんばって (Ganbatte) – A versatile and common way to wish someone good luck, suitable in most contexts from exams to sports.
  2. 頑張れ (Ganbare) – A more emphatic encouragement, often used in sports or before a challenging task.
  3. 幸運を祈ります (Kouun wo inorimasu) – Literally “I pray for your good luck,” used in formal or heartfelt wishes such as graduation or wedding ceremonies, not used with friends.
  4. 成功を祈る (Seikou wo inoru) – “I wish you success,” ideal for business and personal achievements.
  5. うまくいくよ (Umaku iku yo) – Informal and friendly, this phrase means “It will go well.”
  6. 気をつけて (Ki wo tsukete) – Although it means “take care,” it’s often used to express good luck in a caring manner.
  7. いってらっしゃい (Itterasshai) – Said to someone leaving the home, meaning “go and come back,” often implying good wishes.
  8. お大事に (Odaiji ni) – Typically used when someone is ill but can be extended as a wish for someone’s well-being.
  9. ファイト (Faito) – Borrowed from the English word “fight,” used similarly to “Ganbare” to cheer someone on energetically.
  10. しっかりね (Shikkari ne) – Means “be firm” or “steady,” encouraging someone to be resolute in their actions.

Incorporating these expressions into your vocabulary can be facilitated by tools like MochiKanji – Learn Japanese, an app designed to help users master Japanese phrases and vocabulary effectively. MochiKanji utilizes flashcards and a spaced repetition system to reinforce learning, making it easier to memorize phrases like “good luck” in different contexts. Whether you’re preparing for a language exam or wish to converse more fluently, MochiKanji offers structured lessons and practical exercises to enhance your Japanese language skills.

Symbols of Good Luck in Japanese Culture

Japanese culture is rich with symbols and objects that represent good luck:

  • Maneki-neko (招き猫): The beckoning cat is a common figurine believed to bring good luck and fortune.
  • Daruma (達磨): A traditional doll modeled after Bodhidharma, used as a talisman of perseverance and good luck, often in achieving goals.
  • Omamori (お守り): Amulets purchased from shrines, meant to provide protection and luck in specific areas like health, safety, or success in exams.
symbol of goodluck in Japan
Maneki Neko- a symbol of goodluck in Japan

Learn how to wish “good luck” in Japanese

  • Understand the Context: Japanese expressions often carry deeper cultural meanings. For example, “がんばって” (Ganbatte) not only means “good luck” but also “do your best” or “persevere.” Understanding the context in which these phrases are used will help you use them more naturally.
  • Practice Pronunciation: Proper pronunciation is key to being understood. Try listening to native speakers and mimicking their pronunciation. You can find many resources online, including language learning apps and YouTube videos.
  • Use Learning Apps: Incorporating technology into your learning process can be very effective. Apps like MochiKanji-Learn Japanese are excellent for mastering Japanese phrases and characters. MochiKanji uses spaced repetition to help you remember kanji and common phrases efficiently. With MochiKanji, you will easily grasp both basic and advanced principles of Japanese communication, helping you interact more confidently in a Japanese cultural environment. Whether you’re wishing someone well in a casual conversation or a significant life event, these phrases and symbols of good luck are invaluable in fostering positive interactions and showing genuine care and support.
MochiKanji Learn Japanese course
MochiKanji Learn Japanese course
MochiKanji Learn Japanese course
  • Engage with Native Speakers: Practice makes perfect. Try to engage in conversations with native Japanese speakers whenever possible. Language exchange partners, online forums, and language learning communities are great places to start.
  • Consistency is Key: Regular practice will lead to improvement. Set aside a few minutes each day to review and practice your Japanese phrases. Consistency will help you retain what you’ve learned and build your confidence in using the language.

By following these tips and using resources like MochiKanji, you’ll be well on your way to mastering Japanese conversation. Remember, learning a language is a journey, so be patient with yourself and enjoy the process.


Understanding how to express “good luck” in Japanese is more than learning phrases. It involves embracing the cultural nuances that make these expressions heartfelt and meaningful. From motivational phrases like “Ganbatte” and “Ganbare” to using tools like MochiKanji for effective learning, mastering these expressions can deepen your engagement with the Japanese language and culture.

Good luck – がんばって (Ganbatte)!

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