The meaning of arimasen (ありません) in Japanese and how to use it

Arimasen means do not have or there is not in Japanese.

This article will give you all of the knowledge you need on the Japanese word arimasen, including its Japanese definition and translation, usage, example sentences, and more!

What does arimasen mean?

The Japanese word arimasen (written ありません or 有りません) means there is not or do not have. Arimasen is the polite negative form of the verb aru (ある、有る), to exist/to have. You would usually use arimasen to say that you don’t have something or that something has run out.

Gohan ga arimasen.
There is no rice.

Watashi wa okane ga arimasen.
I do not have any money.

Note that the word for “I” is optional in Japanese.

Touji no shashin ga arimasen.
I don’t have any photos from that time.

What is the casual equivalent of arimasen?

As we have seen, arimasen is the polite form of the aru verb. To express the same meaning in a more casual way (i.e. among friends and family), you would use nai (ない、無い).

We can therefore replace arimasen with nai for the examples we looked at already.

Gohan ga nai.
There is no rice.

Watashi wa okane ga nai.
I do not have any money.

Touji no shashin ga nai.
I don’t have any photos from that time.

De wa arimasen meaning

When de wa (では) is added in front of it, arimasen can also stand for negative constructions in a more general sense. Here, its translation is closer to not or is not in English.

Sore wa ringo de wa arimasen.
That is not an apple.

Kare wa nihon jin de wa arimasen.
He is not Japanese.

As you may have guessed by now, you can also say de wa nai (ではない) to mean the same thing but less formally.

Sore wa ringo de wa nai.
That is not an apple.

Kare wa nihon jin de wa nai.
He is not Japanese.