Let’s Eat – The meaning behind Japanese Itadakimasu


What is Itadakimasu

Itadakimasu means to have food humbly.
We put hands together in front of chest when we say Itadakimasu before meal.

I think you know this.
It might be similar to prayer of Christian before the meal.

I look further into the meaning of Itadakimasu in this article.

Japanese Itadakimasu

Itadaku is verb and it is most polite expression of receiving.
You can use it anything from food to any things.

As for the Itadakimasu before meal, it means we humbly receive food.

But to who we say it?

Most famous idea is for the person who cooked the meal.
It might be chef of the restaurant or your mother, etc.
It is for the people who cooked the food for you.
They spend time and make effort for you that we say thank you very much for the things they did for us.

But it is not only for the cook.

Cook is, of course, very important but I think most important thing here is there was once life in the food itself.
Pig, cow, cock, fish, etc. they themselves were living creature like us.
Sorry this direct expression but we kill them for our living.

We can live at the cost of their lives.

We say thank you very much for their lives.

What situation does Itadakimasu used?

The word Itadakimasu is very important word.

But do you think all Japanese always say Itadakimasu at any situation?

Actually not.
It depends on the situation.

For example at elementary school or junior high school students say Itadakimasu as it is a kind of rule before meals at school.
We make a group of 4 to 5 people in class and each of us say Itadakimasu following our teacher.
And having meal with family, parents also say Itadakimasu and children follow them saying Itadakimasu.

But when we got adult, this is my opinion, we don’t say Itadakimasu that much like before when we were child at school.

If I say so maybe some people think isn’t that not good?

But it is not rude or bad thing not saying Itadakimasu.
It is a bit difficult to explain this thing.

It might be a little similar we don’t reply the clerk when he or she say “May I help you?”
Most people reply when sales clerk says “May I help you?” or “Hello?” in abroad.
But nobody replies it in Japan but it is not rude thing at all and the sales clerk also never think not replying is a rude thing.

Itadakimasu is very good word and say it before meal is a good thing.
But it makes you stand out if you always say it at every meals after you got matured.
Although I’m not saying you shouldn’t use Itadakimasu when you got adult.
It just stands out as most people don’t say it at ordinary situation or casual meal.

I think special union or including child is key of Itadakimasu.
As I said before, at school lunch, family union, etc.

Important thing is not consists in to say Itadakimasu out loud but consists in understanding the meaning of the Itadakimasu.

My opinion

Itadakimasu is very good word and I like the word very much.
Actually I say Itadakimasu at most of the situations before meals but I just don’t say it out loud.
I just talk to myself.

The reason I like the word Itadakimasu is it makes me understand how I depends my life on the others.
We live our lives everyday but we get accustomed to our daily lives and think today is just another day.

But the just another day is actually made by the miracle.
Your life is made at the cost of another life.
Not only that your life is made by parents but your parents lives were also made by their ancestors.

The day you live today is made by the miraculous chain of lives.

Itadakimasu makes me understand the importance of the lives in each of us and makes me appreciate the life itself.

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