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Japan: There Are Many Ways To Say ‘Sorry’ In Japanese

Published on August 14, 2015. BBC News World.

japanese apology script

Japan’s leaders will make a landmark statement on Friday marking the 70th anniversary of the end of World War Two. The exact choice of words Prime Minister Shinzo Abe uses to apologise for wartime aggression will be closely analysed.

As the BBC’s Mariko Oi says, he has no shortage of ways to show remorse.

In English, you either say “sorry” or “apologies”. In Japanese, there are at least 20 different ways.

One of the most casual and most frequently used words is “gomen” ごめん. You can make it more formal by saying “gomen-nasai” ごめんなさい or more friendly with “gomen-ne” ごめんね. “Warui warui” 悪い悪い or “my bad” is also a very casual way to say sorry.

“Sumimasen” すみません, which can be translated as “excuse me”, also works as an apology depending on how it is used. “Yurushite” 許して is to ask for forgiveness and “kanben” 勘弁 can be used to plead for mercy and both terms are used much more casually than in English.

To read the rest of this article dated August 14, 2015 in BBC News , click on the link below.

BBC News: The many ways to say sorry in Japanese.

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