Is arigatō related to Portuguese "obrigado"?

No. Arigatō (ありがとう), the Japanese for "thank you", comes from arigatai (有難い), a conjunction of the verb aru, "to have", with the ending gatai (難い) which means "difficult". The "ō" ending comes from the conjunction of the adjectival arigataku with the polite verb gozaimasu.

Other common examples of this type of conjugation include omedetō gozaimasu (congratulations) from medetaku and ohayō gozaimasu (good morning) from hayaku. The word arigatai existed in Japanese long before the Japanese ever encountered Portuguese, and can be found in some of the earliest Japanese literature. In the form arigatashi it is found in Manyōshū poem number 4011, dating from circa 759,[1] and in Makura no Sōshi [The Pillow Book] dating from 1002. (See What is ? for more about the Manyōshū collection of poems.) Although Japanese contains many loanwords from Portuguese (see Which Japanese words come from Portuguese?), the earliest recorded contact between Japan and Portugal was more than five hundred years later, in 1543.

"Obrigado" in Portuguese comes from Latin "obligātus". The change from l to r is typical of Latin-derived Portuguese words.


  1. The text of Manyōshū 4011 at the University of Virginia

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