Hello, this is TORA.

“Arigato”. It’s a word that people say casually everyday.
But do you know what it really means?
The origin of “Arigato”.
The expression, “Arigato”, seems to have originated from “Arigataku”, the predicative form of the adjective, “Arigatai (difficult)”.

“Arigatashi” means “Aru-koto (something)” is “Gatai (difficult)”.

Originally, it meant “uncommon”, or “very rare and valuable”.
In Japanese classical literature “The Pillow Book (Makura no Soshi by Sei Shonagon)”, “Arigataki-mono”means“something that is hard to be found in this world”.

In other words, it is also used to mean, “hard to go unnoticed or forget”.

During the Middle Ages, from appreciating the incredibly valuable mercy of Buddha, the expression came to have a religious implication. In the early modern era, the expression spread to the general public to have a meaning of appreciation.

There is also a theory that the expression, “Arigato” came from the Portuguese word, “Obrigado”. However, “Arigato” was used long before the Portuguese arrived in Japan.

It is therefore a baseless claim that sprung only because the two expressions sound similar.

The levels of Arigato

When so many people are using “Arigato” so frequently, it may sometimes sound like a light expression of gratitude.

Of course, there are many ways to say thank you.
Personally, I think there are three levels in expressing gratitude.

(Level1) When you are thankful

When you say “Arigato” to someone to express gratitude.

(Level2) When you are even more thankful

When saying “thank you” to something that is rare (literally, “there is a difficulty”).
Or when expressing gratitude to someone who solves something difficult for you (someone who solves your problem, etc.).

(Level3) When you are thankful for your daily life

Until the Muromachi Period, “Arigato” was a saying directed to the gods.
Today, it can be said to mean that our existence is a miracle in itself.
Precisely, “hard to come by”.

We were born to this world thanks to our gods, and our ancestors.
Not as dogs, or cats, but we were born as humans. Our existence is nothing less than a miracle in itself.

There is no doubt that our normal, daily lives are miracles that are “hard to come by”.


So how was it? It turned out to be a slightly difficult topic.

Some days you just feel happy noticing the care and kindness of other people.
That is exactly, “Arigato”.

It is an expression that cheers not only other people, and also yourself.
It is important to be thankful of everything in our lives, day by day.

Thank you for reading this article.

That’s all for today.
Otsukaresama deshita.