Using Polite Japanese To Be Rude

Use polite Japanese when you want to be polite. Use casual Japanese when you want to be casual or rude. Simple. And then one more just to mess with your inner Japanese order:

Using Polite Japanese To Be Rude

Use polite Japanese to be rude.

This is why Japanese gets more amazing the deeper you dive. Who would’ve thought?

Now some of you may know that using polite Japanese can make you sound slightly stand offish, especially with a situation among friends. This is an extension of that, and when it comes to friends, and especially family, you can easily turn stand offish into obvious rude.

Some examples:

1. Your friend tells you what you did wrong and you are annoyed and want to show it?

Oh really, is that so?


2. Your older sister tells you that you need to go to school already and you don’t want to listen anymore?

はい、分かりました! もう行きますから!
Okay, understood. I will go already.


3. Your friend yells at you and you want to give a phony and rude apology?

I humbly apologize. It will never happen again.


Because it is polite language you would never use with these people, it immediately stands out, and shows annoyance.

One major warning though. Depending on the phrase and situation, often an additional change in tone is required (to show sarcasm or anger), otherwise it may come off as repentance (you wouldn’t want that now!).

The best way to make sure it comes off with intended rudeness is to extend certain ひらがな way longer than they are supposed to be and change rising and lowering intonation. It takes practice to do this naturally. But once you get it, you can improve your rudeness repertoire. And we all know how valuable that is!

Know of any other polite phrases that can be turned really rude?

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Founder of Jalup. Spends most of his time absorbing and spreading thrilling information about learning Japanese.


Using Polite Japanese To Be Rude — 13 Comments

    • That was the phrase I was looking for. I couldn’t remember what it was called so thanks for providing that!

  1. i always thought よかったですね sounds rude
    like “well la di da, ain’t you the lucky one”

  2. I’ve definitely been over-polite when I’m actually angry. I was at an izakaya with some friends and the service was terrible–staff ignoring us when we sumimasen’d, waiting forever for our food and drinks, etc. When we finally got their attention I smiled super sweet and said すみません、申し訳ないんですけど、先注文したものはまだ来ていませんが。。。 and got a こわっ from my friends. Not quite the same scenario as the article but just goes to show you can use polite Japanese more than you thought!

  3. I can think of one more. In the second scenario, one could reply with “もう行けばいいでしょう。い~け~ば~”. Here, it can be assumed the speaker is not happy to perform the act and the intention will be passed on by saying “If this is going to satisfy you, then fine, I will just leave”.

    • Yea pretty much. Sometimes it’s not good to pile too much politeness all in one sentence as it becomes redundant. As it says though, there is nothing wrong with the sentence and it is quite commonly used.

  4. I think this sounds like passive-aggressive people’s answer about something they don’t like.

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