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

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Have you ever noticed that when answering a phone or cell phone, the Japanese speak moshi moshi? Does this 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 jisho dictionary the word moshi moshi [もしもし] means hello on the phone or hello, and it also means excuse me! calling someone… Like when the person is traveling in your mind and you try to get attention by saying hi, hello, is there anyone there?

The word is believed to have originated from the verb mousu [申す] which means to say, call, speak and 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 of the expression Tomeshimasu [と申します] which means “my name…” or “my name…”, this makes a lot of sense, but both have origins from the verb mousu [申す].

The verb mousu [申す] was used a lot 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 moush [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 further, in Japanese moshi, but only when using the word [もしもし] twice.

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?

This 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 is said most of the time by the caller, usually the answerer just says hey [はい]. both can say moshi moshi when you want to get attention, you're not listening or to check if the person is on the line.

It is believed that at the time when the telephone system was being implemented in Japan, during testing it was said “mousu mousu”, which literally means “talk talk” as if testing 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 that they usually transform into humans, cannot speak moshi twice. According to folklore, foxes cannot speak the words completely, giving rise to the custom of speaking twice. moshi.

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

Fairy Tail's Sagittarius has a habit of ending his sentences with moshi moshi. He probably uses this ending to get attention, just like the datebayo from naruto. Who doesn't remember the Zelda drawing Link saying “Excuse me Princess?”. The word moshi moshi can also mean excuse me, it's as if Sagittarius is saying, "excuse me! 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, telephones were first introduced in Japan. Today, that date is telephone day denwa no hi [電話の日]. At the time, only rich people could pay over the phone. Being rich, they were used to badmouthing 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 gogaimasu [はい、良うございます] which means something like “Yes, I am ready“, meaning the person receiving the call is ready to speak.

That Hi Hi ended up irritating the operators, which made the custom move to moushimasu which later became mousu mousu and finally moshi moshi it began to be used by women telephone operators, and in the end it was chosen as the 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 went to work for Anaka Seisakusho (田中製作所). He traveled to the United States in 1889 to study its telephone system.

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

Japanese phone phrases

Below are some Japanese phrases to learn to talk on the phone:

田中さんのお宅ですか?
Tanaka-san no otaku desu ka?
Is it [name]'s residence?
もしもし山田医院です。 Moshimoshi Yamada iindesu. Hello, this is the office of Dr. Yamada.
もしもし、こちらはマイクです。 Moshimoshi, kochira wa maikudesu. Hi, this is Mike.
はい,そうです
Hey, I'm desu.
Yes it is.
ちょっとお待ちください.
Chotto Omachi kudasai.
One moment please.
どなたですか?
Donata desu ka?
Who is calling?
失礼ですが、どちらさまですか?
Shitsurei desu ga, dochira sama desu ka?
Who is talking?
何かお伝えしましょうか。
Nanika otsutae shimashou ka?
Can you give me a message?
伝言をお願いします.
Dengon or onegaishimasu
please leave a message
もうすぐ戻ると思います.
Mousugu modoru to omoimasu.
Soon he/she will be back
また電話しますとお伝えください.
Mata denwa shimasu to otsutae kudasai.
Tell him/her I'll call you later
間違えました.
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's not here at the moment.
What is your phone number?
Denwa Bango wa nan ban desu ka?
電話番号は何番ですか.
いいえ, 違います.
Hey chigaimasu.
No, you called the wrong number.
It's just getting busy.
Hanashi-chuu desu.
話中です.

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