Sorry in Japanese

Knowing how to be polite in Japanese is essential for any Japanese language learner. After today’s free lesson you’ll be able to say sorry in Japanese in more than one way!

Listen carefully to the Japanese pronunciation and practice saying the phrases aloud – you’ll have these mastered in no time!

How to say Sorry in Japanese

ごめんなさい

御免なさい

Gomennasai.

Sorry (polite)

If you are speaking to a close friend, you can get away with a casual ごめん "gomen" or ごめんね "gomen-ne" instead. 

Another very common way to say sorry in Japanese is "sumimasen":

すみません

Sumimasen

Excuse me (polite)

どうも すみません!

Dōmo sumimasen.

I am very sorry.

"Sumimasen" is commonly used to apologize but can also be used to ask for a favor or to thank someone, depending on the context. 

Here are some other ways to excuse yourself or say sorry in Japanese:

しつれい します

失礼します

Shitsurei shimasu.

Excuse me please. (formal)

ちょっと しつれい

ちょっと失礼

Chotto shitsurei.

Excuse me please. (casual)

これは しつれい しました

これは失礼しました

Korewa shitsurei shimashita.

I’m sorry about that.

You'll find that Japanese people apologize often, probably more than you are used to! It's another way to be humble, considerate and to take responsibility for your actions.

Apologies are usually accompanied with a bow, so if you've made a serious mistake, remember to bow deeply! Being apologetic or remorseful will earn you better treatment so don't be afraid to be courteous in Japan. 

If you want more lessons on Japanese salutations then I recommend that you check out the following:

Sayōnara!

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Sayaka Matsuura
Rocket Japanese


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