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Dec 2, 2022 | Japanese Translation

Itadakimasu Meaning: The Japanese Art Of Gratitude-Filled Living

There is no direct translation into English of the itadakimasu meaning. But what does this strange tradition mean? It has been compared to saying grace before a meal or the French phrase “Bon appetit” by others. If you are familiar with Japanese cuisine, you may have heard the phrase “itadakimasu.” 

This is a significant aspect of the Japan’s eating culture, and diners frequently describe it as a ritual before starting a meal. Even though it’s sometimes interpreted as “I humbly welcome,” it’s more commonly used during mealtimes to mean “Let’s eat,” “Bon appétit,” or “Thanks for the food.” Some people even compare it to the religious custom of saying grace before meals.

Another tradition is to say “gochisousama deshita” when your meal is over. These greetings are used to show thanks to the person who made the meal and the ingredients manufacturers and suppliers.

What Does The Word Itadakimasu Mean?

What Does The Word Itadakimasu Mean?

Itadakimasu meaning in English, which translates to “before I eat,” is a common word uttered in Japanese at mealtimes. What exactly does itadakimasu kanji imply, then? The kanji character has many Japanese itadakimasu meaning that is connected to it.

Itadakimasu translates to “I humbly accept” since it is the polite and modest version of the word “to accept.” It resembles expressing grace in a secular way from an expressive one. Itadakimasu is a method to express gratitude, admiration, and respect for everyone who helped make your dinner, from the chef who made it to the farm worker who cultivated the ingredients.

Christians, for instance, may pray before meals or greet individuals who are about to eat by saying things like “eat your dinner,” “Bon Appétit,” or similar phrases in nations other than Japan. Regarding Itadakimasu food, people take the life of living organisms, prepare them, and consume them to sustain their own lives. 

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Where Does The Term “Itadakimasu” Come From?

Where Does The Term "Itadakimasu" Come From?

Itadaki is Greek for “mountain peak” or “higher than the head.” Its original meaning was to put something on someone’s head. It has altered to lift a present high in appreciation while accepting gifts from superiors. The word “itadaki” later became “itadaku.” Following that, “itadaku” became a phrase of modesty, meaning “get” and to eat with others in front of yourself or God.

There is a belief that once the phrase itadakimasu started appearing in some TV shows, Japanese people began reciting it before meals, which is believed to be the origins of itadakimasu. This idea is believed to be accurate about the itadakimasu Japanese saying before eating. 

It is believed that the custom of itadakimasu pronunciation before meals was adopted in Japan after the Showa period. Because there is no written evidence to support the idea that the ancient Japanese spoke “itadakimasu” to thank farmers and chefs. 

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Nowadays, numerous teenagers might need to become more familiar with the word’s origins because it is frequently used as a short welcome before dining. Still, Japanese people will say “itadakimasu” when they consume anything they have purchased, received, or prepared themselves.

How And When To Use Itadakimasu

How And When To Use Itadakimasu

Itadakimasu, which has Buddhist roots, puts the person receiving the meal in a position of gratitude where they accept a gift from a higher source or authority. It is a means of showing the benefactor your thanks. In Japan, saying the phrase itadakimasu before a meal is simple and considered polite in Japanese culture. 

Before a meal, itadakimasu is recited. Itadakimasu meaning reminds people to be thankful for food and express thanks to someone who has helped obtain it because the correct meaning is “I humbly receive.” Make the best bow you can; a tiny bow is also acceptable. Remember that you ought to be sitting as it’s often considered impolite to stand when eating. 

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Regarding when to pronounce itadakimasu, there are no guidelines. Before eating their inaugural bite, some individuals like to say it aloud; others would rather say it only once quietly or in their minds during the entire meal. Due to some parents’ concerns that the term has an excessive amount of religious connotation, several kids in Japan have recently ceased using Itadakimasu.

Also, explore 5 Types of Onomatopoeia In Japanese With Examples.

The Proper Way To Say Itadakimasu

The Proper Way To Say Itadakimasu

Unless you’re already there and intend to visit Japan sometime soon, one of the most frequently used words you should be familiar with is itadakimasu meaning. Since “Itadakimasu” will be used just as commonly as a greeting. 

Although saying “Itadakimasu” while consuming your food is not challenging, newly arrived visitors in Japan can be concerned about whether they are saying it right. Here, let’s go through how to say “Itadakimasu” correctly. 

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  • Combine Your Hands

If you choose to join your hands firmly, do it discreetly and without making a clapping noise. Not putting your palms together would be rarely regarded as disrespectful, though. Well before or as you say, “Itadakimasu,” if you clasp your hands jointly in front of your chest, it will create a more formal ambiance.

  • Invoke “Itadakimasu”

You are not required to shout it out loud, only loud enough so those nearby won’t be bothered. Say “Itadakimasu” as you join your hands. Use it whenever and wherever there is food. It is acceptable to say itadakimasu in public places, private residences, and even cafes. Go on as long as food has been prepared, and you can express gratitude for it. 

  • Bend Slightly

It’s recommended to bow slightly when saying Itadakimasu if you’d want to carry out the ceremony more respectfully. We advise you to consider the scenario you’re in first carefully, but when in doubt, choose the option of being more courteous to avoid upsetting people. 

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How Australian Translation Services Can Help You With Japanese Translation

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Frequently Asked Questions

1. How Do You Reply To Itadakimasu?

After eating your lunch, you can say “Gochisousama deshita” or just “Gochisousama,” which is Japanese for “It was a bit of effort (preparing the food).” In Japanese, it may be translated as “it was a feast” thank you for the meal in Japanese. It extends gratitude to everybody, much like “Itadakimasu.”

2. What Do Japanese Say Before Eating?

Itadakimasu is the greeting used in Japanese at mealtimes or just before eating anything, to put it simply. The standard form of the Japanese verb “moraimasu,” which means to receive, embrace, grasp, or gain, is “itadaku,” from which “itadakimasu” is derived. This immediately translates to “I humbly accept” because it is the modest version of the courteous verb in Japanese.

3. Does Itadakimasu Mean Let’s Eat?

Itadakimasu translates as eating with humility. When we utter Itadakimasu before a meal, we clasp our hands together in front of our chest. The guy who prepared the lunch has the most renowned concept. It may be the restaurant’s chef, your mother, etc. It is for the individuals who prepared your food. They put in the time and effort for you, and we sincerely appreciate everything they did for us.

4. Why Do People Say Itadakimasu?

Itadakimasu, spoken before a meal to show love for Mother Nature and demonstrate knowledge of the sacrifices made to make it possible, literally translates to “I am going to accept the lives of plants and animals for my own survival.”

David Lee

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