Let’s say you’re out and about with your Japanese friends and you discover something cool. You’d like to tell your friends about it, but there’s one phrase you need to know first, how to say come here in Japanese!
We’ll be going over this phrase, and a couple that are pretty similar to it, so that you can persuade people to come over to where you’re at and save yourself the trip of going over to them, throwing them on your shoulders, and then taking them by force.
No? It’s just me that does that?
Oh well, MOVING ON!
The Polite Way to Say it
We’ll start out with the polite way to say come here in Japanese since that is the one you will want to use most of the time. There are situations where you might want to be a bit more forceful, but I’ll save those for the next section after this one.
So the basic phrase that you’ll want to use is this:
ここに来てください。(koko ni kite kudasai)
Come here, please.
Let’s break each of these words down so that you understand them a little better, since we actually don’t need to know them in most situations.
The first word is ここ and is simply means “here” in Japanese. This is a super common word that is almost always written in hiragana like I’ve shown, but it actually does have kanji that will sometimes appear in books or manga. It is 此処 which you can see is far more complicated!
Then we’ve got the に particle that is marking the location, kind of like saying “right here” in English.
Then we have the primary verb 来て which means “come” and is in the te-form of the basic verb 「来る」 which allows it to be combined with ください which means “please” in English.
So the words 来てください mean “please come” in English, but what’s actually pretty interesting is that in Japanese you can often times leave certain words out of the sentence as long as they are implied by the context.
This means that very often you can just say 来て and as long as the tone of your voice is nice, people will understand that you’re asking them to please come here, even though you haven’t explicitly said “please” in this case.
You’ll see that ここに has also been left out, since the word “come” is one that depends on the location of the speaker.
In other words, all you have to say is 来て and people will know that the full thought you are expressing is ここに来てください.
How about that for keeping things to the bare essentials?!
Anyway, let me wrap up this first part before moving on to the next. In order to say “please come here” in Japanese you can say either the full version ここに来てください or just 来て.
Having said that, I think it’s also pretty common to repeat the verb in the shorter version to emphasize it.
Come here, come here!
There is also another way that you can express this phrase nicely. It happens when you combine 来て with the verb くれる which brings the connotation of “the other person doing you a favor” through some action on their part.
Would you mind coming over here? (Would you do me the favor of coming here?)
This is a very polite way to ask a person this question, and would most likely be said to a customer or to your boss. You know, people to whom much respect is owed.
The Demanding Way to Say it
In English, we typically change the tone of our voice when we want to sound more demanding or when we have that “parental” tone while talking.
But the Japanese language doesn’t do exactly the same thing that we do. Instead, they change the form of the verb in order to express commands.
The first one that we’ll see is called the nasai-form and it is used primarily by parents and teachers when they are talking to their children or students with that natural authority that they posses due to their respective positions.
So while you would ask your friend to “please come here” in a respectful manner with 来て, when you’re talking to your children (or students) you know that they have to do what you say and would instead use 来なさい (kinasai).
Keep in mind that it would be totally inappropriate to talk to someone above you in social status with this form of the verb, but when talking to kids, it’s pretty normal.
Billy! Come here (this instant)!
The other form of command that you can use is called the imperative form of verbs, and it is much more forceful than the versions we’ve seen so far.
In fact, this version would be considered pretty rude to use with others, and is much more common to see in anime and manga, rather than real life.
So you probably shouldn’t use this next one unless you are really upset at the other person and don’t give a hoot what they think.
来いぞ！ (koi zo!)
The ending particle ぞ adds to that rough feeling which is often used by men.
You know, it’s kind of interesting that there are more “rude and demanding” ways of saying things in Japanese than there are polite ways when you think about just how respectful the Japanese culture and language are.
But nonetheless, the next verb form we are going to look at is the tamae-form which is used when a person feels superior to the one they are talking with. So like, if a senior was talking to a freshman, this might be used.
Hey, you. Come on, get over here.
This form is rarely used nowadays, except for in manga.
How to Say it Through Body Language
One thing that I wanted to talk about briefly was the body language that gets used by Japanese people in order to say “come here” to someone else.
In English, we extend our hand out, palm facing the sky, and then curl our fingers inwards a few times.
But in Japan, it is reversed!
They extend their hands with their palms facing the ground and then curl their fingers in a few times. It looks pretty strange to an American the first time they see it (at least it was for me) but you will understand it easily now that you know what to look for.
Here’s a pretty funny video on this by the great folks over at Tofugu:
How to Say Come In, or Come This Way
To finish this lesson off, I thought I would include two pretty common phrases that are somewhat related in case you wanted to learn them.
The first one is used to invite a person into your house or room.
どうぞお入りください 。(dōzo o-hairi kudasai)
Please come in.
The other one can be used when leading someone somewhere, like if you were going to show them to way to their destination or to the place they asked about.
こちらへどうぞ。 (kochira e dōzo)
This way please.