My parents have acted as host parents for many years to Japanese overseas students who came to study at our local universities.

When my father passed away, a few of these former overseas students whom he had previously hosted actually came all the way from Japan for his funeral. I was very touched by their kind gesture.

I cannot speak any Japanese, but I want to say “Thank you for coming” in a thank-you letter. What should I say?


Answer by Professional Japanese Teacher
Kitekurete arigatoo(gozaimashita).

I am very sorry for your loss. Your father must be a wonderful man to have many former overseas students coming for his funeral.

“Thank you” is “arigatoo” or “arigatoogozaimasu” in Japanese. In Japanese language, the level of politeness differs according to the relationship with the target audience.

For people who are close to us, we use “arigatoo”. For business associates or older people, we use the more polite version “arigatoogozaimasu”.

However, even for people who are close to us, we use “arigatoogozaimasu” especially in formal situations or situations where we wish to reassert ourselves.

This makes the language more refined or sophisticated. The person(s) you are writing to is your former host family. If you wish to show a sense of familiarity, you can say “kitekurete arigatoo”.

If you wish to express your thanks again formally even for close friends, you can say “kitekurete arigatoogozaimashita”.

“Gozaimashita” means past tense. We use “gozaimashita” to show thanks for past actions.

There are other ways to say “thank you” as well. For more information about how to say Thank you in Japanese, check out this link: