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The difference between 当社/とうしゃ/Tosho and 弊社/へいしゃ/Heisha

Continuing on from the last article, “The difference between 御社/おんしゃ/Onsha and 貴社/きしゃ/Kisha”, this article is also about Japanese words that have the meaning of “company”. While 御社/おんしゃ/Onsha and 貴社/きしゃ/Kisha both mean “your company”, today’s topic is 当社/とうしゃ/Tosho and 弊社/へいしゃ/Heisha which means “our company”. Their original meanings are slightly different but they are often used confusingly. Both words are commonly used in business situations.


Definitions

当社/とうしゃ/Tosha: our company

弊社/へいしゃ/Heisha: our company


当社(Tosha) means “my company” or “our company”. This word can be considered polite language and is used as both written and spoken word. It is often explained that 当社(Tosha) is a term used for employees from one’s own company. However, it is not wrong to use the word 当社(Tosha) when talking to people outside the company. It is not an honorific language, but it is not a rude word either. The term 当社(Tosha) may be used when 謙譲語(Kenjo go, the word that lowers speaker’s position to show respect) is perceived as odd. As an antonym, there is a word 他社/たしゃ/Tasha which has the meaning of “Other company”.


弊社(Heisha) means “my company” and used when talking to people outside the company. This word is used in both spoken and written language. The 弊(Hei) is a letter with a generally bad meaning. Negative words that use the character 弊(Hei) include 疲弊/ひへい/Hihei/Exhaustion and 弊害/へいがい/Heigai/negative impact. However, in the case of 弊社(Heisha), the character 弊(Hei) is not used in a bad sense. The negative meaning has been turned around and is used to express modesty. 弊(Hei) is a prefix that creates an expression of humbleness. Since the word 弊社(Heisha) is a 謙譲語(Kenjo-go, humble language), it has limited usage. 弊社(Heisha) is always used when talking to people outside the company. For example, it is used to describe one’s own company during a business meeting, or in a letter sent to a client company.


Examples

当社(Tosha)

当社があなたを採用するメリットはなんですか?

とうしゃがあなたをさいようするめりっとはなんですか?

Tosha ga anata wo saiyo suru merit wa nandesuka?

What are the advantages of hiring you?


当社へのご質問はありますか?

とうしゃへのごしつもんはありますか?

Tosha e no goshitsumon wa arimasuka?

Do you have any questions for us?



弊社(Heisha)

弊社が第一志望ですか?

へいしゃがだいいちしぼうですか?

Heisha ga daiichi shibo desuka?

Is our company your first choice?


弊社に入社したらどんな仕事がしたいですか?

へいしゃににゅうしゃしたらどんなしごとがしたいですか?

Heisha ni nyusha shitara donna shigoto ga shitai desuka?

What kind of work do you want to do after joining our company?