Japanese word “yoroshiku” (よろしく・宜しく)

By | January 30, 2019

Lately I’ve been trying to write articles that go deeply into a single expression or word. In this post I’d like to focus on the word “yoroshiku”, which is often written in Japanese using hiragana (よろしく). It also can be written in kanji as 宜しく or occasionally in katakana as ヨロシク.

The word yoroshiku is the adverb form of the word yoroshii, which is basically a more formal version of the word yoi or ii (良い). These words have various meanings, including “good”, “all right”, or “OK”. In addition, “yoroshii” can also have the nuance of “suitable”. One common pattern is when asking for permission to do something:

  • この本を読んでもいいですか? (kono hon wo yonde mo ii desu ka?)
  • この本を読んでもよろしいですか? (kono hon wo yonde mo yoroshii desu ka?)
  • Can I read this book? (Is it permissible for me to read this book?)

In the above sentence, いい and よろしい have basically the same meaning, but the latter sounds more formal.

Anyway, since yoroshiku is the adverb form of yoroshii, and the latter word means yoi/ii, it can be said yoroshiku is essentially the same thing as the word yoku (which is the adverb form of yoi/ii).

In other words, yoroshiku means something along the lines of “well” (in the sense of “you did well”) or “in a good way”. Having said that, generally when you want to express “well”, yoku would be a more natural fit, like in this example:

  • よくできたね (yoku dekita ne)
  • よろしくできたね (yoroshiku dekita ne)
  • You did well, didn’t you?

While I won’t claim the middle sentence above is incorrect, I feel it is unnatural or at least very uncommon.

However, there are few set phrases when よろしく is commonly used. The first of these is the very common (and often enigmatic) phrase “yoroshiku onegaishimasu” and it’s variants. Rather than go over than I’ll just point you to this article I wrote previously that goes into it in a little detail.

Another way yoroshiku is used is to express saying “hello” or giving regards to someone. An example of that would be:

  • お父さんによろしく伝えてください。 (otousan ni yoroshiku tsutaete kudasai)
  • Please give my regards to your father.

Note that there are other more polite forms of this, such as “yoroshiku otsutae kudasai.” In both cases, since the verb tsutaeru means “to convey” or “to tell”, we can see these phrases literally mean something like “please convey in a good way”, which matches up with the translation in English.

However, yoroshiku is often used in a more abbreviated form where everything after it is omitted. A good example of this is the famous manga titled burakku jakku ni yoroshiku which is often translated as “Say Hello to Black Jack” (I’m not sure if this necessarily the best translation, though).

There is a final usage of yoroshiku that I wanted to mention. I haven’t seen it that often, but I recently came across this usage a few times in a modern Japanese novel, so perhaps it is becoming more common lately. It is used to express when someone acts very much like someone else (or some category of person). It isn’t technically limited to people, but I have seen it mostly used in this context. For example:

  • 彼はいかにもスポーツ選手よろしく走った。 (kare wa ika ni mo supootsu senshu yoroshiku hashitta)
  • He ran just like an athlete.

Here the word “ika ni mo” emphases the “just like” part, though it could be replaced with words like “maru de” or “atakamo”, or even omitted altogether.

As a final note I wanted to point out that while yoroshiku is technically very similar to the word yoku, all of the above phrases would sound strange if yoku was used instead––though perhaps a native speaker could still figure out what you were trying to say.

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