Friday, October 28, 2016

失礼, Shitsurei - Meaning in Japanese

In Japanese, shitsurei 失礼 is a word that means "impolite," in the sense someone has done something impolite, but it can also mean "excuse me," in the sense you've done or are about to do something that may be impolite. (e.g. enter a room, leave a room, etc.)

Example of shitsurei 失礼 used in manga.
Manga: "Assassination Classroom," Ansatsu Kyoushitsu 暗殺教室 (Chapter 1)

Kanji of Shitsurei

The kanji of shitsurei 失礼 mean "without," 失, and "manners," 礼, so "without manners," literally.

Some words that share these kanji are:
  • rei wo iu を言う
    To say [my] thanks.
  • kane wo ushinau 金を
    To lose money.


The word shitsurei 失礼 can refer to something "impolite," a "discourtesy," or even mean someone is being "impolite," "rude," when used alone. Grammatically, it's a na-adjective, so it can qualify nouns as "impolite" too.
  • sore wa shitsurei desho?
    That's impolite, [don't you think]?
  • shitsurei wo o-yurushi kudasai
    Please forgive [my] discourtesy.
  • shitsurei-na hito 失礼な
    A person [who] is impolite.
  • Tanaka-san ni shitsurei dakara
    Because it's impolite to Tanaka-san.
    • This sort of phrase is used in the "let's not do that" sense.
    • Let's not be impolite to Tanaka-san.
・・・え 何スか? そいつ攻めて来た宇宙人か何かスか? 失礼な! 生まれも育ちも地球です quote from manga "Assassination Classroom," Ansatsu Kyoushitsu 暗殺教室 (Chapter 1)
Manga: "Assassination Classroom," Ansatsu Kyoushitsu 暗殺教室 (Chapter 1)
  • Context: anime.
  • ...e
  • nansuka?
    • nandesuka 何ですか abbreviated.
  • soitsu
    semete kita
    uchuujin ka

    [This guy] is an alien who came attack [us] or something?
  • shitsurei na!
    Impolite, [aren't you]?!
    • Rude!
  • umare mo
    sodachi mo
    chikyuu desu yo

    [My place of] birth and rising is Earth.
    • In west Philadelphia Earth, born and raised.
  • Koro-sensei is offended because he was called an "alien" even thought he was born and raised on Earth: a genuine Earthling. Totally not an alien. Nope. (or so he claims.)

"Excuse Me"

The word shitsurei 失礼 can also mean "excuse me" in Japanese. It's used when entering rooms, when leaving the table, when stopping talking to people to answer a call on the cellphone, etc.

The idea is that by admitting you're doing a discourtesy, you imply you're asking to be excused. Some related phrases:
  • kore wa shitsurei これは失礼
    This is impolite. (excuse me)
  • shitsurei wo itashimashita
    [I] did [something] impolite. (excuse me)

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