How do you really say this in Japanese?

How to Say "Yes" and "No" in Japanese

When it comes to "Yes" to say, the Japanese language contains a whole range of possible utterances. Whether or not there are face-to-face interactions, the level of courtesy you want, how well you know someone, and the level of formality are important considerations when speaking in Japanese. What that "No" As far as concerned, the word certainly exists in Japanese, but its use is often avoided in favor of a weaker disapproval. Non-native speakers of the Japanese language may wonder how to say "no" without actually saying it, and what those two little words "yes" and "no" mean to the Japanese mind.

How do you say "yes" in Japanese?

"Yes" is in Japanese は い (shark), but often you will also use the word わ か り ま し い た (wakarimashita) hear what literally means “I understand” or “Okay, I agree”. However, in informal situations it is also acceptable to say “Okay で す” (Okay desu) to say (“It's okay”) and especially with friends you can just as easily え え (ee) say.

It is usual, 大丈夫 で す (daijoubu desu) to use to say in a polite way, “Yes, that's fine. No problem. ”Or also は い 、 そ う で す (shark, sōdesu), which means something like: "Yes, it is." The word ど う ぞ (dōzo) is used to express consent and also statements such as: "I ask you" or "Go ahead".

While talking Let us assure the speaker that he has our attention and that we have understoodby adding そ う or そ う そ う (at relevant timesso or so so) say what translated means "yes, yes". Informal discussions are interrupted by utteranceswho are called Aizuchi (相 槌). Some of the most common are う ん (U.N) and are translated as "Yes ...";あ あ (aa), which means something like "Ah, I understand" and え ー (ee) expressing surprise at something the speaker said.

In more polite or formal conversations, will そ う で す (sō desu) uses what means “Yes, it is” and other courtesy indicators such as そ う で ご ざ い ま す (so de gozaimasu), an example of “Sonkeigo”, the respectful language. Surprises are a great feature of the Japanese language, and these are often expressed in a polite way, such as with そ う で す か (sō desu ka?)which, in addition to an expression of surprise, also means something like “Ah, really?”.

How to (not) say “no” in Japanese and how to politely decline

The Japanese word for "no" is い い え (iie) or the more well-known variant い や (iya). Saying “no” or even hearing it is generally uncomfortable for the Japanese. A negative answer is often rephrased into a negative question using the negative form of the verb.

To politely refuse, you can too 結構 で す (kekkō desu) say what as much as "no thanks" means and is followed by a humble shake of your hands. The comment う ー ん (uun, "Hmm") is a softer way to express a disapproval while ち ょ っ と (chotto), literally “a little”, is even more reserved and reserved in order to decline, for example, an invitation. The word is said with a kind of tension, as if the sentence is incomplete. It implies that something would be difficult to do (as if it were impossible).

Rejections are often accompanied by one of the most common idioms in Japan: す み ま せ ん (sumimasen)which means "sorry". The strongest rejection of all is す み ま せ ん 、 ち ょ っ と で き ま せ ん (sumimasen, chotto decimasen)which translates as "I really can't do this right now" as wellだ め で す (lady desu), which means something like “it is not possible” or even “it is forbidden” and is followed by crossing the arms with pointed fingers.

Different sentences with certain meanings can be found in the world of workreferring to the Japanese rules of courtesy. Some point out that something is tricky 難 し い で す ね (muzukashii desu ne) or complicated, followed by a blank expression. Other answers indicate the need to think about the question, such as 考 え て お き ま す (kangaete okimasu), which translates as "I will think about it", 検 討 し ま す (kentō shimasu) or 努力 し て み ま す (doryoku shite mimasu), the latter means "I will do my best". You can use these phrases with supervisors or perhaps a third person who is not involved in the conversation. When referring to an outside element that is outside the current situation, some courtesy must be shown to show that it is independent.

A refusal can be accompanied by physical gestures, for example moving your hand from left to right at the same height as your face. If refused, the use of the hands may indicate embarrassment, such as putting the hand behind the head. As well as an apologetic expression with shaking hands from side to side.

Why do the Japanese never say no?

The truth is The Japanese never really say "no" or they say it through the flower instead. The aim is to maintain harmony in a situation by you are not expressing yourself too directlyso as not to offend or upset the speaker. As in many Asian countries, direct rejection is viewed as socially unacceptable.

Fortunately, the meaning of this communication code and the dependency on the context are understood by everyone. Adaptation to each code paves the way for mutual understanding and social harmony.

When it comes to rejecting something the answer may seem ambiguous. The Japanese often use stylistic techniques, to change the subject, avoid the problem entirely, shy away from answers, or gently close the discussion.


In Japanese, the word “yes” is accompanied by a series of utterances and politeness strategies, but it is considered too direct and socially unacceptable when it comes to saying the word “no”. Various euphemisms and polite phrases are used to avoid saying “no” directly. Hence the answer will be expressed by words and taking into account the context of the conversation. It's just about knowing how to communicate in a culture and how to read between the lines.

Translation by Yvonne.