Onegai shimasu

    Keywords: Culture & History

Onegai shimasu (お願いします or おねがいします) is a formal Japanese greeting used in the game of Go before a game starts.

Literally, onegai shimasu means "do me this favour". In the context of Go, it means "please do your best", "please have a good game", "if you please", or "I pray you...".

A variant of this greeting is yoroshiku onegai shimasu (宜しくお願いします or よろしくおねがいします). It has the same overall meaning as onegai shimasu.

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Onegai shimasu or yoroshiku onegai shimasu is said after nigiri, before making the first move. A proper response is to say onegai shimasu or yoroshiku onegai shimasu back.

Some people may shorten yoroshiku onegai shimasu to simply yoroshiku, which is more casual.


Onegai (お願い) is the honorific form of the noun negai ([ext] 願い) which means "wish". Shimasu (します) is the formal form of the verb suru ([ext] する) which means "to do".

Therefore, onegai shimasu is like saying "do me this favor". It's a common phrase in Japanese, and is what you generally will say to someone when that person is about to do something for you or when you're asking them to do something for you. In greetings it's kind of like saying "please favor me with your attention" or something.

Yoroshiku ([ext] 宜しく) means "kindly". The addition of yoroshiku to onegai shimasu adds emphasis and does not change the overall meaning, so yoroshiku onegai shimasu means "kindly do this favour".

In casual contexts, some people may simply say yoroshiku instead of yoroshiku onegai shimasu.

Additional explanation can be found at [ext]

Language Notes

The plain form negai (願い) can also be used in the negative, as "please don't ...".

As a response to the greeting onegai shimasu, some players may prepend the term kochira koso (こちらこそ), which means "it's me who should say that" and may also be translated as "likewise" or "same here". Therefore, the response kochira koso yoroshiku or kochira koso yoroshiku onegai shimasu can be translated to "likewise, have a good game".

Dickie: In a game on DGS recently someone greeted me with "Onegaishimasu (may we act with honor)". Should I take it from this page that this translation is incorrect (it seems so, but I know Japanese can be layered with some multiple meanings)? If that is the case, is there some other go phrase in Japanese with this meaning? The phrase "may we act with honor" just sounds very... Japanese. And I think it's a very good embodiment of good attitude towards the game!

IS?: This is a good translation for the intent of the phrase, but not the literal translation.

Popular Culture

The English-language version of Hikaru no Go retains the words onegai shimasu and yoroshiku onegai shimasu in the translation and adaptation.

OneWeirdDude: Oh? I thought it was always, "Please," in the English version.

Other Contexts

Onegai shimasu is also used in other games such as shogi. At a martial-arts dojo, it is also part of a deeper tradition using the same phrase with sensei.

Onegai shimasu or yoroshiku onegai shimasu is a vague expression, which as noted above, can be used in a very wide variety of situations. For example, in [ext] business contexts, yoroshiku onegai shimasu can be used for:

  • First time meeting someone. In this case, it can mean "nice to meet you".
  • Before starting a meeting or group work. In this case, it can mean "hope to do a good job together".
  • Making a request. In this case, it can mean "thank you in advance".
  • New Year’s greeting. In this case, it can mean "looking forward to working with you".

Other Languages

A Chinese phrase that is similar to onegai shimasu is qǐng duōduō zhǐjiāo (请多多指教), which literally means "please instruct me".

A Korean version is 한수 잘 부탁드립니다 (han-su jal bu-tak-de-lib-ni-da), its indirect translation being "I ask for a good game", and directly, 한수 means "a hand", 잘 부탁드립니다 means "ask nicely", hence full sentence forming, "(I) ask nicely for a hand" (a hand in Korean also can mean "a move" in Korean Go terminology).

Onegai shimasu last edited by Unkx80 on February 4, 2024 - 10:37
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