Apologizing: What Comes Next?

I realise that apologizing is very important in Japanese culture; I have memorized some of the more common apologies (すみません, 申し訳ありません, 失礼します, ごめんなさい, etc.), but I am having a little trouble finding what comes next. If I apologize to someone; like, actually apologize for doing something, not just bumping into them; what are they supposed to do? What will they do, if it’s not what they’re supposed to do? If someone apologizes to me, what do I do? Are there any faux pas I need to worry about?

Thanks in advance for putting up with my ramblings, みんなさん…


A typical structure is as follows;

  1. Introduce the thing you are apologizing about
  2. Apologise
  3. Optional - bow. Important to finish speaking first, then start to bow. Don’t bow whilst speaking.
  4. Explain how you will avoid this in the future or how you will ensure it wont happen again.
  5. Apologise again.

Don’t make some sort of convoluted excuse, just state facts - I made a mistake, I misread, I overslept, I misspoke, I lost my temper etc.

Modified example taken from a textbook I dug up.

Scenario: I turned up at a clients office a few hours late, as I misread the invitation. I thought it said 1pm start, but in fact it was an 11am start.

The next time I see the client…

Me: 加藤さん、先日大変ご迷惑をおかけいたしました。申し訳ありませんでした。

Client: あ、いいえ。気にしないでください。

Me: 実はご招待メールに書かれていた11時午前を1時午後だと読み間違えてしまいました。

Cleint: あらあら、そうでしたの。

Me: はい、お忙しい中、時間を作ってくださいましたのに、時間を間違えてしまい、誠に申し訳ありませんでした。今後は十分注意いたしますので、お許しください。


If you are asking how to accept an apology or how yours might be accepted, here are some options

This topic was automatically closed 365 days after the last reply. New replies are no longer allowed.