Hi, I am Shingo SATO, a native speaker with more than 10 years of experience teaching Japanese.
With this post, I aim to help you understand how to ask and answer “How old are you?” in Japanese.
In conclusion, you can say, “何歳ですか?（Nansai desu ka?）” or “いくつですか?（Ikutsu desu ka?）” to ask, and “〜歳です（〜sai desu.）” to answer.
Please read on for more detail.
How to Ask “How Old Are You?” in Japanese
The basic expressions for asking how old someone is are as follows.
Both expressions mean “How old are you?”
Let us take a closer look.
何歳（なんさい）ですか?（Nansai desu ka?）
“何歳ですか?（Nansai desu ka?）” is one of the most common expressions used when asking about age. In a casual speech style, you can also ask, “”何歳?（Nansai?）”
|何歳ですか?||Nansai desu ka?||★★☆|
いくつですか?（Ikutsu desu ka?）
“いくつですか?（Ikutsu desu ka?）” can also be used to ask about age. To be polite, you can say “おいくつですか?（Oikutsu desu ka?）” . “いくつ?（Ikutsu?）” is also used in casual speech style. “いくつ（ikutsu）” is originally an interrogative to ask about number.
|おいくつですか?||Oikutsu desu ka?||★★★|
|いくつですか?||Ikutsu desu ka?||★★☆|
You can also read the following post to understand the sentence pattern used to ask about age.
How to Answer “How Old Are You?” in Japanese
You can use “〜歳です（〜sai desu）to answer “How old are you?” in Japanese. For example, if you are 22 years old, you can say “22歳です（Nijuu ni sai desu）”. Basically, just add “歳です（sai desu）” after the number.
However, if the last digit of the age is 1, 8, or 0, you need to be careful how you say it, unless you are 100 years old. For example, if you are 21 years old, you say “にじゅういっさいです（Nijuu issai desu）”, not “にじゅういちさいです”.
So, here are how you say your age in Japanese. There are so many, but at first, learn how to say your age; it shouldn’t be too difficult to remember just one.
It is not written for each one over 21 years old, but you can combine the wording in this table. For example, if you are 38 years old, say “さんじゅうはっさいです（sanjuu hassai desu）,” and if you are 59 years old, say “ごじゅうきゅうさいです（gojuu kyuu sai desu）.”
If you want to check how to say your age, please comment on this post and I’ll help you.
Asking about Age in Japan
In Japan, it is not absolutely taboo to ask about age. Therefore, you may have more chances to be asked how old you are than in cultures where you are not allowed to ask someone’s age.
One reason for this is that there are cases where people use different styles of Japanese depending on the age of the person they are speaking to. For example, if the person you are speaking to is older than you, you would speak in a polite style; if they are the same age or younger, you would speak in a normal style.
In my case (as a native speaker), I rarely ask the age of someone I meet for the first time. Basically, I speak in a polite style regardless of their age. If the person is obviously a child, I will speak in a normal style without asking the age.
With this post, I have shared how to ask and answer “How old are you?” in Japanese.
In conclusion, you can say, “何歳ですか?（Nansai desu ka?）” or “いくつですか?（Ikutsu desu ka?）” to ask.
And you can say “〜歳です（〜sai desu.）” to answer. Basically, just add “歳です（sai desu）” after the number. However, if the last digit of the age is 1, 8, or 0, you need to be careful how you say it, unless you are 100 years old.
I hope this post will help you to ask and answer about your age in Japanese.
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