Today is the alternate date for the Tanabata (七夕) Festival, so I thought I’d talk briefly about the grammatical pattern you see hanging from bamboo around this time – 〜ますように. It’s an interesting phrase to me, partially because, perhaps as an English speaker, it seems like an incomplete sentence. It means “(I hope / I wish) that X happens / comes true.” For example,
(I hope) I can get good grades.
(I hope) that my Japanese gets better.
I did a quick google search for “七夕 ますように” and came up with a bunch of interesting results, including this page full of wishes.
I put the “I hope” in parenthesis because it is only implied in the Japanese. The actual phrase is only a dependent clause. They had a small Tanabata presentation at one of my elementary schools a month ago, and a bunch of kids had to stand up and tell everyone their wishes. Some of the kids were so uncomfortable with the ending of this sentence grammatically that they stuttered a little です onto the end of their phrase. (サッカーが上手にできますように．．．です。)
Hope everyone’s wishes come true.
I always thought that ~ように was like “so that/in order to”… 例：日本語が上手になるように毎日勉強をしています。
I guess there are different connotations in different situations. I always hear at Kendo practice my teacher saying 怪我しないように… is やってください？ or something along those lines implied?
Yeah, there are a couple of different usages, one of them definitely being “so that/in order to.” I’m not certain, but I feel like you often hear that with the negative – 〜ならないように, etc. “Do X, so that Y doesn’t happen.”
I think you’re right on with your second example, too. He’s kind of giving a polite command.
I guess it all depends on what verb comes after ように. So far we have my example (the verb being an unstated 希望, to hope), your first example (する), and your third example (してください), which is like the example you probably hear most often – 忘れ物がないようにご注意ください。