Japanese Word of the Week: いただきます

This week's 毎週日本語 / まいしゅう にほんご is:

Japanese 日本語




English 英語
to receive, to accept

I’ve seen いただきます translated as a number of things: “let’s eat”, “thanks for the food”, etc. This is because いただきます is something that is commonly said before a meal to express gratitude. This appears a lot in anime right before the character(s) start eating.

However, you can also hear it at other times, such as shouted before a character jumps in a pool. That’s because the term itself is a way of expressing gratitude for receiving something. It’s just more common for that something to be food. When I was in Japan I asked a Japanese friend about the use of いただきます when not referring to food and they looked at me as if I was crazy! Although the article linked to below states that it can be used in specific situations. So just be mindful with your use of いただきます.

If you want to learn more about いただきます I’d suggest checking out this article on Tofugu.

Whilst learning Japanese in class, we learnt いただきます together with ごちそうさまでした (gochisousamadeshita) which is to be said after a meal and means something like “Thanks for the delicious meal”.

Where I heard it:

Many anime feature いただきます, but I also learnt it in Japanese class. Also, surprisingly, I recently heard いただきます in Steven Universe.