Advice for what to watch to improve Keigo

Hi all

I regularly watch Japanese TV dramas, rugby, anime and reality tv; and mine sentences from these resources. However, I’m hoping to get more exposure to listening resources that use kenjougo and sonkeigo regularly. I know the news is an obvious example, but I’m wondering if anyone has has some other recommendations. For instance, a TV show set in an office environment etc. If said show is also available on Japanese Netflix, that would be a bonus.

Cheers

I’m going to be the opposite of helpful here, but here goes.

Why do you need to know 謙譲語 and 尊敬語?

謙譲語 and 尊敬語 are mostly used by people that work in the service industry. Unless you plan on working in this industry, there is no real reason to learn these, in my opinion. All you will need is to understand what you’re being told, which can be solved by memorizing a couple phrases.

As far as I know, even Japanese people aren’t perfect with it. It’s more of a thing of memorization rather than anything. I’ve heard that a lot of Japanese people prefer to not have anything to do with it because its complicated and very easy to make mistakes.

Because of this, I don’t think that you should be learning either 謙譲語 or 尊敬語 specifically; seeing it every now and then will be enough.

If I’m very wrong, please correct me. :slight_smile:

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This is true. My company hired an intern and she literally had a guidebook of what to say in specific situations and interactions while working at the company. There are too many to list, but, yeah, it can be learned by memorization without necessarily having to study grammar.

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Those are definitely fair points, but perhaps mentioning just kenjougo and sonkeigo was misleading. What I’m really after is more exposure to workplace Japanese; ie so even a good Japanese drama set in a work place might be good. Most of the TV I watch (by virtue of being reality TV) is largely ため口.

In terms of a specific situation in which I’d like to be able to use it; I’m thinking about for instance, towards clients of a firm (if I work at said firm) or over the phone.

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How about Agretsuko? :smiley:

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Sorry, you are a little bit wrong here. :slightly_smiling_face:
I have to use it from time to time and I don’t work in the service industry. While I work in a laid back media company, it is still a large company and I’m not a kid in my 20s anymore. When I have to speak with the CEO or any other execs, I try to use keigo to sound polite and respectful. My coworkers do the same.
When I hear this advice, I rank it with never practicing writing (An embarrassing team building exercise with a whiteboard cured me of that advice).

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There is a really funny use of keigo by a famous AV actress in Netflix’s Naked Director. Although make sure any kids that live in your house are asleep when you watch that one. :joy:

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If you want to find material that you can practice listening to keigo with, any story that takes place in a service industry location is a good bet. For example stories that take place in shops, restaurants, basically anywhere with customer interaction, is a good opportunity to hear keigo in action. What I’ve watched recently that fits this description is the anime Isekai Shokudou.

Another thing, and this is mostly anime/manga-specific, is watch out for ojou-sama type characters, as this trope usually involves a young lady of noble origins who usually speaks keigo. It might not be your cup of tea, but the anime Shomin Sample had an entire cast of such characters, all speaking in the most polite keigo I’ve ever heard. Other examples include Marika from Nisekoi, multiple characters from stuff like Kaguya-sama wa Kokurasetai, Toaru Kagaku no Railgun, The Rising of the Shield Hero, Re: Zero. Anime with a fantasy setting usually involve a lot of keigo-speaking characters.

Another place in Japanese culture that heavily involves keigo is the workplace. So any drama/anime/movie that involves characters interacting in an office environment will contain some level of keigo. Unfortunately nothing particular springs to mind at the moment, but someone else might have a suggestion on this front.

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There is this book that uses a lot of Keigo. There is a little sample, too. (Obviously not something to watch but…)

https://bookclub.japantimes.co.jp/en/book/b309648.html

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As far as anime recs, Kuroko from Kuroko no Basuke almost always speaks in keigo, as does Sebastian (the butler) in Kuroshitsuji. Most of the characters in Africa no Salaryman use it regularly and in a modern-day business setting – but they’re all talking sub-Saharan animals, so idk how much could be realistically gleaned from that one…

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Violet Evergarden uses a bunch of keigo

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It’s used in more or less any interaction between a customer/client + employee/business. This includes any sort of correspondence regarding contracts (e.g. phone), purchases, and so on. You will also hear it in train/bus/tram announcements. If you’re working in Japan or even just part of a club you will hear it and likely have to use it regularly. If you ever have to give a presentation on anything or listen to one, you will be using it. Heck, plenty of people even use it amongst friends sarcastically.

It’s true that there are plenty of Japanese people aren’t perfect with utilising keigo, but they should still understand it either way - maybe a bit like plenty of native English speakers confuse “their” and “there”. Also, I think this is more of a problem with not knowing what specific phrases to use in more specialised situations, as opposed to the ability to, say, conjugated a verb with kenjougo.

I’m sorry to contradict you, but I really don’t think you can get by without learning keigo properly. I actually think it would be difficult to live in Japan long term without it.

Edit: Here is a good example that someone posted in a circle chat recently:

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Oof, that 何卒(なにとぞ) + の(ほど) combination, such unnecessary convoluted complication. :expressionless: Japanese people do feel like the longer it takes to say something, the more polite it is, but tbh this is just needlessly excessive.

I think it is that way for most languages :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:!

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In my language you just change the “you” pronoun to the polite version (think あなた(さま)) and conjugate the verbs with the plural conjugation (I think it’s the same in French). So no overly making things long :man_shrugging:

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Same in Russian, ты becomes вы, which is both you plural and polite, so the verbs conjugate to plural too.

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In Romanian we have the singular “tu” and the plural “voi”. The polite “dumneavoastră” can be both singular and plural in meaning, but always conjugates with the plural. Its meaning is something ridiculous like “your lordship” (lol). I guess that’s the only unnecessarily long bit.

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That’s quite a word xDD
I mean, we would technically use “more polite” words, like “Would you be so kind to…” instead of “hey you”, but I guess that’s a given in almost any language xD

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Nah, I prefer Aggretsuko…

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Nah I prefer アグレッシブ烈子

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