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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!

Resources for further reading:

How to say Sorry in Japanese

Practice Your Pronunciation With Rocket Record

Rocket Record lets you perfect your Japanese pronunciation. Just listen to the native speaker audio and then use the microphone icon to record yourself. Once you’re done, you’ll get a score out of 100 on your pronunciation and can listen to your own audio playback. (Use a headset mic for best results.) Problems? Click here!

御免なさい

ごめんなさい

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:

失礼します

しつれい します

Shitsurei shimasu.

Excuse me please. (formal)

ちょっと失礼

ちょっと しつれい

Chotto shitsurei.

Excuse me please. (casual)

これは失礼しました

これは しつれい 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!

Sayaka Matsuura: Rocket Japanese

Make It Stick With Rocket Reinforcement

Reinforce your learning from this lesson with the Rocket Reinforcement activities!