No27 [Language] Omoshiroi yo NIHONGO!

Welcome once again, to the fascinating world of the Japanese language.
The Japanese like to shorten words and sentences so much that in many cases all that is left at the end are a few letters or fragments of words.

Japanese word / phrase of the month

Akeome kotoyoro (あけおめ ことよろ)

The year will soon be over and after Christmas people will surely get the new year fever. Of course the Japanese have a word for wishing people a happy new year. Many words in fact, and there is an interesting rule for new year greetings in Japan. Before January you have to say “Yoi otoshi wo” (良いお年を) which simply means “Have a good year”. However, once the clock turns its hand into the first day of the first month they suddenly change the phrase to “Akemashite omedetou gozaimasu” (あけましておめでとうございます), often also adding “kotoshi mo yoroshiku onegaishimasu”(今年もよろしくお願いします). Akeru (明ける) on its own means to start or change and used in “toshi ga akeru” (年が明ける) means the dawning of a new year.  The second part of this classic greeting is highly honourific and formalized, and can be a little difficult to translate into English. A close approximation of the meaning would be “Please be so kind as to support me for the next year as well”. If you are in a formal setting or with unfamiliar company then this kind of greeting is required by the rules of social etiquette, but some Japanese find them too long and unwieldy for when with friends and tend to use the following shortened version: “Akeome kotoyoro”あけおめ ことよろ. Be careful to only use this with people you are close to, or who are in your closest social circles, because the politeness of the long form is completely lost. People in Japan will also send”nengajou” (年賀状, new years cards) to almost everyone they know or have worked with that year and it would be embarassing to accidentally write あけおめ ことよろ in these.


(Juuni ji sugimashita. Minna, akeome kotoyoro!)
It’s past midnight! Happy new year everyone!

The ZOOM Japan team wishes a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all of our readers!