Hello, this is TORA.

It’s meal time, let’s eat!
Do you remember being reminded by your parents, “don’t you have something to say?”, and then saying, “Itadakimasu!”?
The phrase, “Itadakimasu,” that you are saying without much thought, is actually a phrase unique to Japanese.
Why do we say “Itadakimasu” anyway?

 

The meaning of “Itadakimasu.”

To thank the person, who prepared the meal.

Those who cooked the meal, and those who provided the ingredients.
Express gratitude toward many people including the fishermen, who caught the fish and the farmers, who grew the vegetables.

To thank the vegetables and animals that became the food.

The real purpose is through saying “I am eating life,” you are expressing gratitude toward the life you are about to consume, which was obtained by sacrificing a living thing and taking its “life.”
Additionally, “Itadakimasu” includes the sentiment of repentance for the life you are about to eat.

The origin of the word, “Itadaku.”

Generally, “Itadaku” is said to be a humble expression (Kenjo-go) of “eat” and “receive,” derived from the act of holding up the food, once offered to god, before eating it or the gift from someone, who is at higher rank than yourself, on top of your head.

In recent years, there are people who feel that it’s unnecessary to say “Itadakimasu,” at school or restaurants, because they are paying for the food.
They should learn the meaning of the phrase, rethink their actions, and then eat their meals.

The origin of the word, “Gochisousama.”

“Gochisousama” is written “御馳走様” in Kanji.
“Gochisousama” refers to “I have been treated.” Both “馳” and “走” mean “to run.” Therefore, the phrase is said to have originated as an expression of gratitude toward the people, who procured ingredients by traveling far away on horses, in order to treat important guests.
“Gochisousama” is not only an expression of gratitude toward the food itself, but also toward the people, who went through a great distance to prepare the meal.

The use of “Osomatsusamadeshita,” the response to “Gochisousama.”

The origin of the word, “Osomatsusama.” This word is used to express humbleness, when someone thanks you for what you have provided. It is said with a sense that, “I’m sorry for not offering an amazing meal.” You can incorporate variations of this phrase by the company you are serving. You may want to say “Osomatsusamadeshita” to your friends, and at a more formal situation, you could ask, “was it to your liking?”.

“Itadakimasu” abroad.
In the United States, people say .“Amen”. to express gratitude toward god.
It’s like saying, .“I thank god’.s blessings.”

In Germany and Spain:
.“Guten Appetit (have a good meal)”. in German.
.“Buen Provecho! (please, eat!)”. in Spanish.

Supposedly, both phrases contain .“gratitude toward all living things.”.

In Islam, people say, .“we begin (the meal) in the name of Allah and his blessings.”.

There is a theory that “Itadakimasu” and “Gochisousama” in Japanese came from Jodoshinshu.

In Jodoshinshu, people put their hands together before starting a meal and say,
“thanks for many lives and people’s efforts, we are blessed with this meal. We will deeply rejoice in the favor, and eat this meal with a sense of gratitude.”

A meal is concluded with an expression of gratitude,
“I will try harder to repay your favor for providing me with this previous blessing. Gochisousamadeshita.”

Summary

What do you think? The words and phrases we utter regularly, without knowing their true meanings.
Itadakimasu” and “Gochisousama” are a unique part of Japanese culture.
Take this opportunity to reconfirm their meaning, and pass them on to your children.

That’s all for today.

Otsukaresama deshita