There are quite a number of foreigners who, once they move to Japan, are surprised by how often Japanese people suddenly apologize to them with a “sumimasen.” Why in the world are Japanese people always apologizing? Let’s take a look!
* We were given permission to share this manga by Manga de Japan. More details about them below.
The phrase “sumimasen” contains many different meanings! The most widely known meaning is “sorry,” which is used when someone makes a mistake, and “excuse me,” such as when you want to pass by someone on the street. However, surprisingly often, it is also used with the meaning of “thank you” as well!
Of course, there exist other words for “thank you”… so, in what situations is “sumimasen” used instead of “arigato”? Take situations like these, for instance:
Japanese people certainly do have an over-sensitive way of thinking, so it can be hard to wrap your head around these mannerisms until you’ve lived in Japan for a while.
If you’re ever in a situation where someone has apologized to you, even though you have no recollection of them doing anything wrong, just think of their “sumimasen” as a “thank you”!
What Is Manga de Japan?
Manga de Japan is a website that aims to promote Japanese culture through manga. It is available in both Japanese and English and provides a truly unique perspective into Japan, so please check it out if you liked this manga and want to read more!
For more details, please see the video below or check out their website here: https://mangadejapan.com/
If you want to give feedback on any of our articles, you have an idea that you’d really like to see come to life, or you just have a question on Japan, hit us up on our Facebook!
The information in this article is accurate at the time of publication.