or arigatou or domo arigato


What does arigato mean?

Arigato means “thank you” in Japanese.


The phrase domo arigato, popularized in the West in the song "Mr. Roboto" by Styx, means "thank you very much."

Examples of arigato


Examples of arigato
@ruki_retjeh, October, 2018
It's no secret (secret, secret) that "Domo arigato, Mr. Roboto" is just one of those pop culture lyrical phrases pretty much everyone knows.
Doug Fox, Daily Herald, June, 2018
Meme Center

Where does arigato come from?

Meme Center

Despite popular speculation that arigato comes from the Portuguese for “thank you,” obrigado, arigato was in use in Japan well before any contact with Portugal.

Arigato (ありがとう) comes from the words arigatashi (“to be”) and katai (“difficult”). Arigato, then, has a literal sense of “being alive is hard”true.

Arigato became used to express gratitude (in appreciation of goodness despite life’s challenges), eventually morphing into a more general expression of thanks over time.

Fast-forward to the United States in the 1980s. The Japanese economy was booming, Shogun was a huge hit on TV, and obsession with all things Japanese, especially electronics and sushi, swept the country.

Some were even paranoid that the Japanese were going to take over the US. Add in fears about the breakneck speed of technological advancements changing the way Americans lived, and you have the perfect environment for Dennis DeYoung’s prog rock anthem about a dystopian future full of robots. “Mr. Roboto” was the opening track on Styx’s 1983 concept album Kilroy Was Here and reached #3 on the US charts.

The song’s chorus, “Domo arigato, Mr. Roboto” quickly became an earworm and catchphraseand the only Japanese words that many English-speakers knew.

Who uses arigato?

In Japan, arigato is a simple way of saying “thank you” among familiars or peers. Politeness is highly valued in Japanese culture, so be mindful that there are more formal ways to say “thank you” to superiors or elders (e.g., arigato gozaimasu, which is a more polite way of saying thanks).

Westerners who don’t speak Japanese or have picked up some key phrases while traveling in Japan will likely know arigato from Styx or Japanese cultural products or establishments.

Fun fact: Styx apparently didn’t play “Mr. Roboto” live for 35 years, reportedly because guitarist Tommy Shaw hates the song, but as of May 2018, the band is back to domo arigato-ing on stage.

Sign up for our Newsletter!
Start your day with new words, fun quizzes, and language stories.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.