Why do Japanese people use Moshi Moshi when talking on the phone?


Have you noticed that when answering a phone or cell phone the Japanese speak moshi moshi? Does that expression really mean hello? In this article we will understand the origin of the expression moshi moshi, its real meaning, where and when to use it.

What does Moshi Moshi mean?

According to the dictionary jisho the word moshi moshi [もしもし] means hello on the phone or hello, and it also means excuse me! to call someone ... Like when the person is traveling in your mind and you try to get attention by saying hi, hello, is anyone there?

It is believed that the word originated from the verb mousu [申す] which means to say, to call, to speak and to do. Categorized as kenjougo, a humble way. Throughout the article you will understand more about the meaning of this verb and how to use it.

It is also believed that moshi moshi has roots in the expression tomoushimasu [と申します] which means “my name…” or “my name…”, this makes a lot of sense, but both have origins in the verb mousu [申す].

The verb mousu [申す] was widely used in the Edo period, when talking to someone of higher status. Initially, the words used were moushiagemasu [申し上げます], moushimasu [申します] where both mean "I will say (speak)".

Eventually, it was shortened to moushi [申し] and was used to get someone's attention, as if it were a “Hey!"Or"I will speak!“. Later it was shortened even more, in Japanese moshi, but only when you use the word twice [もしもし].

申し上げます > 申します > 申す > 申し
Why do Japanese people use moshi moshi when talking on the phone?

Why is Moshi Moshi on the phone?

That word and expression seems a little big for someone who is used to saying hi, hello or hello. Why do the Japanese use it? Why repeat it twice? There are different stories to arrive at this custom.

Many end up not realizing it, but moshi moshi it is said most of the time by the caller, usually who answers says only hai [はい]. Both can say moshi moshi when you want to draw attention, you are not listening or to check if the person is on the line.

It is believed that at the time the telephone system was being implemented in Japan, during testing it said “Mousu Mousu", Which literally means" speech speech "as if you were testing the equipment saying, testing 1,2,3 ...

Why do Japanese people use moshi moshi when talking on the phone?

Kitsune - Foxes can't speak Moshi Moshi

A legend says that foxes yokai kitsune who usually turn into humans, cannot speak moshi twice. According to folklore, foxes cannot speak words completely, giving rise to the habit of speaking twice moshi.

Another story is that ghosts can't tell moshi twice, so that expression was used twice to scare ghosts or yokai to answer the phone. If someone didn't speak moshi twice, it was probably a ghost.

Sagittarius from Fairy Tail has the habit of ending her sentences with moshi moshi. He probably uses this termination to get attention, just like dattebayo from Naruto. Who doesn't remember the Zelda drawing link say "Excuse me Princess?". The word moshi moshi it can also mean excuse me, it is as if Sagittarius was saying: “Excuse! I'm speaking...”.

Why do Japanese people use moshi moshi when talking on the phone?
Japanese foxes

The history of the Telephone in Japan

On December 16, 1890, phones were first introduced in Japan. Today, that date is the day of the phone denwa no hi [電話の日]. At the time, only wealthy people could pay over the phone. Being rich, they were used to talking badly about others.

It used to be said Hi Hi [おいおい] when answering the phone. The person on the other end would respond with Hai, you gozaimasu [はい、良うございます] which means something like “Yes, I am ready“, Meaning that the person receiving the call is ready to speak.

That Hi Hi ended up irritating the operators, which made the custom move to moushimasu that later became mousu mousu and finally moshi moshi it began to be used by female telephone operators, and in the end it was chosen as a general greeting.

The person who made the change was Shigenori Katougi (加藤木重教). He was an electrician at the Ministry of Engineering and started working for Anaka Seisakusho (田中製作所). He traveled to the United States in 1889 to study his telephone system.

Why do Japanese people use moshi moshi when talking on the phone?
Death Note L answering phone!

Japanese phone phrases

Below are some Japanese phrases to learn how to speak on the phone:

Tanaka-san no otaku desu ka?
Is it [name] 's residence?
もしもし山田医院です。 Moshimoshi Yamada iindesu. Hi, this is Dr. Yamada's office.
H しもし、こちらはマイクです。 Moshimoshi, kochira wa maikudesu. Hi, this is Mike.
Hai, I'm desu.
Yes it is.
Chotto Omachi kudasai.
One moment please.
Donata desu ka?
Who's calling?
Shitsurei desu ga, dochira sama desu ka?
Who is talking?
Nanika otsutae shimashou ka?
Can you give a message?
Dengon the onegaishimasu
Please leave a message
Mousugu modoru to omoimasu.
Soon he / she will be back
Kill denwa shimasu to otsutae kudasai.
Tell him / her that I will call you later
Sumimasen, Machigaemashita.
Sorry, I dialed the wrong number
すみません, ただいま外出しております.
Sumimasen, Tadaima gaishutsu shite orimasu
Sorry, he is not here at the moment
What is your phone number?
Denwa Bango wa nan ban desu ka?
I chigaimasu.
No, you called the wrong number
He's just busy.
Hanashi-chuu desu.
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