What Does よろしくお願いします (Yoroshiku Onegai Shimasu) Mean?

One of the most famous phrases in Japanese is the greeting よろしくお願いします (yoroshiku onegai shimasu). よろしくお願いします is commonly used in a variety of situations and can be translated into many different English phrases depending on the context. よろしくお願いします means “I ask for your favor,” but in reality, it’s a far more versatile phrase than that single meaning implies. In this article, we’ll discuss what よろしくお願いします means in context, and how to use it in different conversations.

よろしくお願いします (Yoroshiku Onegai Shimasu): Please

One of the easiest ways to use よろしくお願いします is as “please” in a request. This is a very polite way of asking for something and is usually for formal requests or when talking to a person of higher social standing. 

For example, take a look at this example sentence, which could be used in a business situation.

Examples:

1. プロジェクトにご協力いただけますよう、ご検討をよろしくお願いします。
(purojekuto ni gokyōryoku itadakemasuyō, gokentō o yoroshiku onegai shimasu.)
We sincerely ask for your consideration of cooperating with us on this project.

In the above example, the よろしくお願いします means “we sincerely ask,” or in other words, “please.” It’s easy to imagine that this is being asked of the representative of a different company because the language used is so polite.

2. 急ですが、午後の会議には部長もご出席をよろしくお願いします。
(kyū desu ga, gogo no kaigi ni wa buchō mo goshusseki o yoroshiku onegai shimasu.)
I know it’s such short notice, but we sincerely ask you (department/section head) to attend the meeting this afternoon.

Note:  If you read our article on how to say please in Japanese, you may be wondering about the difference between よろしくお願いします (yoroshiku onegai shimasu) and お願いします (onegai shimasu), which was discussed in that article. While both are polite ways of saying please, お願いします is more casual and is often used when talking to people of equal social status.

よろしくお願いします: During First Meetings

Another context in which よろしくお願いします is used is when meeting someone for the first time. The introduction most commonly used in Japanese follows this pattern:

はじめまして。[name] と言います。(hajimemashite. [name] to iimasu.)
よろしくお願いします。(yoroshiku onegai shimasu.) 
It’s nice to meet you. My name is [name]. I look forward to interacting with you. 

Because this is a general introduction, the meaning of よろしくお願いします changes depending on the situation. For example, if you are introducing yourself at a new job, よろしくお願いします can mean “I look forward to working with everyone,” or “I hope for good experiences while working here.” In general, you can think of よろしくお願いします as asking for someone’s good graces when meeting them for the first time.

Example:

今日から一緒に働かせていただきます鈴木です。よろしくお願いします。
(kyōkara issho ni hatarakasete itadakimasu Suzuki desu. Yoroshiku onegai shimasu.)
I’m starting today today.  My name is Suzuki.  I look forward to interacting with you. 

よろしくお願いします: As A Statement Of Deference

As one final example of using よろしくお願いします, it is also common as a response of acceptance or compliance. You can think of this as similar to the よろしくお願いします used when you first meet someone. The difference is you are asking for the good graces of another person who is in a position of action. This meaning of よろしくお願いします is the most flexible, but this also means that it has the broadest range of possible meanings.

Take a look at the following dialogue to get a better idea of how よろしくお願いします is used in this kind of context.

Examples:

この人は田中というんだ。これからは彼女があなたの研修を続ける。
(kono hito wa tanaka toiun da. Kore kara wa kanojo ga anata no kenshū o tsuzukeru.)
This is Tanaka. She’ll continue your training from here on.

はい、田中さん、よろしくお願いします。
(hai, tanaka-san, yoroshiku onegai shimasu.)
Thank you, Ms. Tanaka. I hope to learn a lot from you.

As you can see above, the use of よろしくお願いします in this case shows that the trainee is expressing their acknowledgment of Tanaka’s role, and their willingness to learn. This kind of situation is very common in Japanese, which means that you can use this phrase any time you want to express such sentiments to someone.

医者:手術は来週の月曜日に決まりましたよ。
(Isha: shujutsu wa raishū no getsuyōbi ni kimarimashita yo.)
Doctor: Your surgery has been scheduled for next Monday.

患者:そうですか。先生、どうぞよろしくお願いします。
(kanja: sō desu ka. Sensei, dōzo yoroshiku onegai shimasu.)
Patient: I see.  Thank you. (nuance: please take care of me/my surgery)

While よろしくお願いします is a commonly known phrase in Japanese, hopefully, this article has helped you better understand when and how it is used. Politeness is an essential aspect of Japanese communication. With this phrase in your vocabulary, you will have a much easier time conveying a polite tone to anyone you interact with.

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