How to say “How is Business” in Japanese?

Typical Osaka Style Greeting

Osaka has a strong image as a merchant town. It was established five hundred years ago by a famous Buddhist priest named Rennyo Shonin of the Jodo Shinshu sect. Originally, Osaka was a religious town where business people such as those involved in activities as trading, transport, commercial and medicine gathered. The early residents shared in common their working experience and their attraction to the teachings of Amida Buddha.     

The forerunner of Osaka was a town of spiritual companions and business practitioners. At an early stage, the town emerged as the strongest economy and most prosperous city in Japan. Although destroyed by a vengeful military leader, a later shogun brought back the believers and the construction of Osaka began.       

Many Japanese people, especially Tokyo people, think that the most common daily greetings of Osaka people is “Mokari makka?” which literally means “How is business going?” The original reply was “Okagesande” which means “Fine, thanks to you.” By this, was meant “thanks to Buddha.” Okage means unseen power or blessing. Nowadays, Japanese may have forgotten the original reply, but a belief in Shinshu religion is still an underpinning of the business culture of Osaka. The usual response these days is “Bochi bochi denna!” It means “so so.”

When in a casual environment, you might try asking a business partner “Mokari makka?” It is usually a good ice-breaker.

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