How does 申す work?

So the example text given for 申す is 「トフグのコウイチと申します」 which is translated to “I am Koichi of Tofugu.”

Grammatically speaking, this sentence structure reminds me of ~と思います or ~と言っていました, however it seems the “to say humbly” part isn’t actually translated as apposed to the “I think” and “I said.” In addition to this, if it were to follow the same grammar rule, wouldn’t it instead be 「トフグのコウイチと申します」 ?

So my question is: is 申す ever actually used in spoken conversation or is it more to add additional narrative to written text. The only context that I could think of where I would use this verb in conversation would be when I am describing someone else’s speaking, which again falls into the descriptive narrative issue.

Someone else will have to answer you on why it’s fine not to use だ there since I don’t have a good explanation, but in this case no だ is fine.

I believe it’s because the Koichi clause in not acting as a complete clause, but I’m not sure if I am right on that. What I mean is that with と思う and という, the clause before the quoting particle represents a complete thought or idea, so it has to be written like a completed though or clause.

と申す gets used not a lot in casual conversation, but you’ll see it a lot in more formal introductions. You would use it to say who you are, instead of using です or other variants. I don’t think it’s often used for describing other peoples speaking, and I can’t think of ever seeing it used that way while reading. The reason for that is that it is the humble form of to say, so it should only really be used to describe your own actions.

With the reservation that I am not sure at all my line of thinking is as follows.

I loosely translate 私はxと申します as something like “I am someone [other people] calls x” or “I am known as x” which would fit into the pattern of 「と思う」 or 「と言っていました」since your kind of quoting others on what your name is?

It’s also, in my understanding, a more formal/humble/refined way of telling someone your name than 「私はxです」so the “to say humbly” part is more implied in the expression than something it actually translates to.

Maybe an example in english would be telling someone “give me the salt” versus “would you pass me the salt”, where the latter is percieved as more polite than the former, even though neither the word “would” or “pass” is more polite than “give” outside of this context.

I’m sure other more knowledgable people can elaborate on this further and also enlighten me on my own potential misunderstandings.

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申す is also used to say someone is called something. e.g. 私は山田と申します. I am called yamada/ Yamada is my name/ I’m yamada. Putting だ in there makes no sense in this context.


Aaahh okay this makes more sense to me now. My way of thinking was how in English a sentence could read “‘I am OldTaco,’ he said humbly.”

This explanation was very helpful as well, basically you are saying that instead of saying something like “I am OldTaco” it’s more humble to introduce yourself by saying “I am called/referred to as OldTaco.”


There are two “types” of humble language in Japanese. There’s 尊敬語, which denotes a set of grammatical rules and special words used when talking about someone else’s actions, and this “someone else” is a person with a higher social rank than you (e.g. your boss). Then there’s 謙譲語 which is what you use when you are describing yourself/your actions to someone with a higher social rank than you.

申す is the 謙譲語 form of 言う. おっしゃる is the 尊敬語 form. Therefore when you say Nameと申します, you are describing a situation where you are introducing yourself to someone more important than you. If your friend introduces one of his friends, you can probably just say Nameと言います. Now let’s say you want to introduce your boss to someone else. You would say (Boss name)とおっしゃいます. Hope this helps.


Wow, thank you so much for the in-depth explanation!! I definitely feel I
understand と申します now, though I feel I may have just opened a new can of
worms having now learned of 尊敬語 and 謙譲語…


Keigo is the biggest hurdle to beginners actually trying to use Japanese in Japan.

I remember the first time I went to McDonald’s and the first thing out of the employee’s mouth was


Basically, it’s the Japanese version of “for here or to go?”

But I had never learned that めしあがる is the respectful way to say “to eat.”


Haha I was asked that as well and I looked so confused that she repeated the question as ここで食べますか… (Even though I should have understood it, but somehow 80% of what you know is never immediately accessible when you’re actually faced with native speed Japanese).


Call centers are the worst and they never stop even if you ask them to

Yeah, I hate phone calls from businesses. The phone is hard enough, and then to add keigo on top of that…

Is THAT what they keep saying? Thank you so much for typing that out. Now I can get one of my friends to say it a few times so I can recognize it. I just always respond ‘お持ち帰りください’ (おもちかえりください), get my food, and leave. I’ve learned where the response goes, but never understood what I was responding to.

As always, Leebo, thanks. :yum:

edit: seeing that reminds me that めいし is ‘food’. Nowadays (according to a co-worker), it’s considered brusque to refer to food that way but the set phrase continues to exist. I learned the word from a manga called ‘ダンジョン飯’

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