How to say excuse me in Japanese: Sumimasen

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How to say excuse me in Japanese: Sumimasen

Learning Japanese for travel or study? Let’s try this term:

To say excuse me in Japanese: Sumimasen
Say it out loud: “Soo Mee Mah Senn

You can learn how to say excuse me and over 220 other travel-friendly words and phrases with our inexpensive, easy-to-use Japanese language cheat sheets. We can help you make your next trip to another country even more fun and immersive. Click below!

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Some more helpful words in our Japanese Courtesy/Questions category:

...the bathroom – Toire  (Toh Ee Reh)
come with me – Issho Ni Kite Kudasai  (Issho Nee Kee Teh Koo Dah Sai)
do you speak english? – Eigo Wo Hanashi Masuka?  (Eh Ee Goh Woh Hah Nah Shee Mass Kah?)
excellent – Subarashii  (Soo Bah Rah Shee)
excuse me – Sumimasen  (Soo Mee Mah Senn)
good / bad – Ii / Warui  (Ee /Wah Roo Ee)
how do you say…? – …Ha Dou Iimasuka?  (…Wah Dough Ee Mass Kah?)
how much is this? – Ikura Desuka?  (Ee Coo Rah Dess Kah?)
may I? (point at chair, door) – Ii Desuka?  (Ee Dess Kah?)
maybe – Tabunn  (Tah Bunn)
no problem – Mondai Arimasenn  (Mohn Dai Ah Ree Mah Senn)
please – Onegai Shimasu  (Oh Neh Gai Shee Mass)
sorry – Gomennasai  (Goh Men Nah Sai)
thank you – Arigato Gozaimasu  (Ah Ree Gah Tow Goh Zai Mass)
thanks – Arigato  (Ah Ree Gah Tow)
what is that? – Are Ha Nandesuka?  (Ah Reh Wah Nahnn Dess Kah?)
where is… – …Ha Doko Desuka?  (…Wah Docco Dess Kah?)
yes / no – Hai / Iie  (Hai / Ee-Eh)
you are welcome – Douitashimashite  (Dough Ee Tah Shee Mah Shee Teh)

And here’s how to say excuse me in other languages!

Arabic–Uzran  (uz ran)
Chinese–Dǎrǎo Yīxià  (Da Rao Ee Shya)
Croatian–oprostite  (oh pro stee tay)
Czech–promiňte  (pro MYEEN tay)
Finnish–anteeksi  (an teh ex ih)
French–Excusez moi  (excuse eh mwah)
German–entschuldigen sie  (ent shool' duh gen zee)
Italian–scusi  (skoo zee)
Japanese–Sumimasen  (Soo Mee Mah Senn)
Korean–Sillyehapnida.  (Shil Le Ham Ni Da.)
Polish–przepraszam  (pshe pra' sham)
Portuguese–Desculpe  (jeh scoo pee)
Russian–prostite  (prah stee tye)
Spanish–perdón  (pear dōn)
Swahili–kumradhi  (koom rah dhee)
Thai–Kho Thot  (kaw TOAT)
Turkish–afedersiniz  (ah feh dar sinz)
Vietnamese–Xin Lổi  (Sin Loy)

In every culture, courtesy gets you a long way. There is no faster way to get yourself ignored and ultimately hopelessly lost than not knowing how to approach a native in a polite manner. Fortunately, the phrase "excuse me" (Sumimasen) cuts across all cultures as a form of politeness and getting attention. Once you learn this in Japanese and work towards learning it in the language of the country you wish to visit, you are halfway towards getting all the help you will need.

Get instant access to the Japanese Language Set. Above all, have fun with the language and thanks for stopping by!

Contributor

Kanako Tokuno
Biography: Kanako Tokuno is a marketing adviser and translator living in New York City. Kanako graduated with BAs in International Relations from both Ritsumeikan University and American University in 2008 through a Dual Degree program. After experiencing sales and marketing jobs in the electronics and cosmetics industries in Japan, Kanako moved to New York City, where she is currently involved in multiple projects as a freelancer.
Born: Japan
Location: New York, NY, USA

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