Wednesday, October 5, 2016

okaeri おかえり - Meaning in Japanese

In Japanese, okaeri おかえり, meaning literally "return," is an expression used when welcoming someone back home from school, work, etc., specially after the person coming back home says tadaima ただいま. Longer variants include okaerinasai おかえりなさい, okaerinasaimase おかえりなさいませ, okaerinasaimashi おかえりなさいまし. They're also spelled お帰り, お帰りなさい, お帰りなさいませ, お帰りなさいまし.

When leaving home, ittekimasu 行ってきます and itterashai 行ってらっしゃい are used instead.

パパ おかえりー
Manga: Fullmetal Alchemist, Hagane no Renkinjutsushi 鋼の錬金術師 (Chapter 14, ひとりっ子の気持ち)


The full version of okaeri, okaerinasai, would be:

The word youkoso ようこそ is often used when welcoming people to places in general. It comes from yoku zo よくぞ, which commends someone for doing something, e.g.: "well done" coming here.

The phrase okaeri nasaimashita is a bit complicated.

The important verb is kaeru 帰る, "to return home."

The phrase kaerinasai 帰りなさい is a ~nasai ~なさい imperative, and would be ordering someone to "go home," but this is irrelevant here.

The verb nasaru なさる means "to do." Its polite ~masu ~ます form isn't nasarimasu but nasaimasu なさます, due to i-onbin イ音便. The ~mashita ~ました morpheme is the past form of ~masu.

Together with the honorific prefix o~ お~, the pattern o-verb in renkyoukei 連用形 form-nasaimasu would refer to the fact that someone has done an action.:

  • okaeri nasaimashita
    [He] did the returning. (literally.)
  • kaetta
    [He] returned.


For reference, some examples:

パパ おかえりー
Manga: Fullmetal Alchemist, Hagane no Renkinjutsushi 鋼の錬金術師 (Chapter 14, ひとりっ子の気持ち)
  • Context: a father comes back home, is greeted by wife and daighter.
  • papa, okaerii
    パパ おかえり
    Daddy, welcome back home.

ただいま おかえり っていうかアレだな おまえは早く帰って私の遊び相手をするべきだ こんな時間までどこほっつき歩いてたんだこの野郎
Manga: Minami-ke みなみけ (Chapter 1, ホットケーキにしましょう)
  • Context: Minami Kana 南夏奈 welcomes home her younger sister, Minami Chiaki 南千秋.
  • tadaima
    [I'm back].
  • okaeri
    [Welcome back].
  • tteiuka, are da na
    [Or rather], [it] is that.
    • are da - "[it] is that," as in "you know, it's that thing when, which, etc.," used like this to refer to an idea the speaker assumes to be known already, and will remind the listener of next.
  • omae wa hayaku kaette watashi no asobi-aite wo suru beki da
    You should return home quickly and be my play-partner.
    You should come home quickly to play with me.
    • Kana reminds Chiaki of what she should do.
  • konna jikan made doko hottsuki-aruiteta-n-da, kono yarou
    Where were [you] loitering around until this [late], you bastard?
    • konna jikan made - until this hour, until this late.
    • ~teta-n-da - contraction of ~te-ita no da ~ていたのだ.
おかえりなさいあなた♡ お風呂にする? ご飯にする? それとも・・・わ♡た♡し♡?
Manga: Sunohara-sou no Kanrinin-san すのはら荘の管理人さん (Volume 1, Chapter 9, Page 80)
  • Context: Yukimoto Yuzu 雪本柚子 imagines herself as a bride who would support her future husband.
  • okaerinasai anata ♡
    [Welcome home, dear.]
  • ofuro ni suru?
    gohan ni suru?
    soretomo... wa... ta... shi...?

    [What do you want to do]?
    [Eat]? [Take a] bath? Or... me?
    • This is a meme called shinkon santaku 新婚三択, "newly-wed three choices."
    • soretomo watashi
      Or me. (often pronounced with a suggestive pause.)
    • gohan means a "meal," and can be "lunch" or "dinner." It's normally dinner since the scenario is usually about a husband coming home from work.
    • ni suru にする, in this case, means to settle on doing something, to choose a choice, to decide on plans.
遅かったですね おかえりなさいまし、真尋さん 私にしますか? それとも先に私にします? それとも わ・た・し?
Manga: Haiyore! Nyaruko-san 這いよれ!ニャル子さん (Chapter 6, さよならです)
  • Context: Nyaruko ニャル子 welcomes Yasaka Mahiro 八坂真尋.
  • osokatta desu ne
    [It took you a while, huh].
  • okaerinasaimashi, Mahiro-san
    Welcome back home, Mahiro-san.
  • watashi ni shimasu ka?
    soretomo saki ni watashi ni shimasu?
    soretomo wa... ta... shi?

    それとも わ・た・し?
    [What do you want to do?]
    Me? Or, before that, me? Or... me?

Used by Maids

In manga and anime, sometimes you have a "maid," meido メイド, and they'll greet their "master," goshujinsama ご主人さま, with okaerinasaimase.

In particular, there are maid cafés where the staff cosplays as maids and the customers are greeted in this manner as if they were the "master" of a mansion with maids.

お帰りなさいませ♡ ご主人様~~🎵 にっこーー♡ どうぞご主人さまこちらの席へ♡
Manga: "Welcome to the N.H.K.," NHK ni Youkoso! NHKにようこそ! (Chapter 3, 新世界にようこそ!)
  • Context: characters enter a maid café.
  • okaerinasaimase
    Welcome back.♡
  • goshujinsama~~🎵
    • In a maid café, customers are greeted this way, as if they were the maids' masters.
  • nikko~~♡
    (phenomimetic word.)
  • douzo goshujinsama kochira no seki e♡
    [Please come] to this seat, master.♡
    • douzo - polite way to say that someone may do or take something, help themselves at something.
おかえりなさいませご主人様~~! おー &お嬢様~ おー トール様みたいな人いっぱい!
Manga: Kobayashi-san Chi no Meidoragon 小林さんちのメイドラゴン (Chapter 47, トールとメイド喫茶)
  • Context: Kobayashi 小林 and Kanna カンナ visit a maid café.
  • okaerinasaimase goshujinsama~~!
    Welcome home, master~~!
  • o~~
  • ando ojousama~~
    And young lady~~
  • o~~
  • {Tooru-sama mitai na} hito ippai!
    [There are] a lot of people {like Tohru-sama}.
    • Tohru is a maid in this series.

Used by Butlers

Similarly, sometimes you have a "butler," shitsuji 執事, instead.

お帰りなさいませお嬢様 執事喫茶で働いていること
Manga: Kaichou wa Maid-sama!, 会長はメイド様! (Volume 11, 番外編 会長は執事様)
  • Context: a guy has a secret.
  • okaerinasaimase ojousama
    Welcome home, young lady.
  • {shitsuji-kissa de hataraite-iru} koto
    [The secret is that] {I work in a butler café.}
    • This series is about a girl who secretly works in a maid café, but this chapter is a spin-off with genders swapped, so she became a guy who works in a butler café instead.


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