Guide: How to Say “Call” in Japanese

Gaining conversational fluency in a new language involves familiarizing yourself with essential vocabulary. One such word is “call,” which has various translations in Japanese depending on the context and level of formality. In this guide, we will explore both formal and informal ways to express “call” in Japanese, providing you with tips, examples, and some regional variations.

Formal Ways to Say “Call” in Japanese

When speaking in formal situations, such as when addressing your superiors, clients, or strangers, it’s important to use honorific language. Here are a few common ways to say “call” formally:

  1. 電話する (Denwa Suru): This is the most common and straightforward way to say “to call” in Japanese. It directly translates to “to do a telephone.”

    Example: 彼に電話をしました。 (Kare ni denwa o shimashita.) – I called him.

  2. お電話する (Odenwa Suru): Adding the honorific prefix “お” (o) to “電話する” (denwa suru) polishes it further. It demonstrates respect and politeness towards the other person.

    Example: お客様にお電話をいたします。(Okyakusama ni odenwa o itashimasu.) – I will call the customer.

  3. ご連絡する (Gorensho Suru): If you want to imply a more formal and polite form of communication, “ご連絡する” (gorensho suru) can be used. It suggests a higher level of respect and professionalism, often used in business contexts.

    Example: ご採用のご連絡、ありがとうございます。(Gosaiyo no gorensho, arigatou gozaimasu.) – Thank you for contacting me regarding the job offer.

Informal Ways to Say “Call” in Japanese

When talking with friends, family, or people of similar age or social status, informal language is more appropriate. Here are a few common ways to say “call” informally:

  1. 電話する (Denwa Suru) / する (Suru): In casual conversations, Japanese speakers often drop the “denwa” and use the verb “する” (suru) on its own to mean “to call.”

    Example: 昨日友達に電話したよ。 (Kino tomodachi ni denwa shita yo.) – I called my friend yesterday.

  2. 電話かける (Denwa Kakeru) / かける (Kakeru): Another common way to say “to call” in an informal setting is by using the verb “かける” (kakeru), which specifically implies making a phone call.

    Example: 彼女に電話かけたら出なかった。(Kanojo ni denwa kaketa ra denakatta.) – I called her, but she didn’t answer.

  3. 連絡する (Renraku Suru): When informally talking about making contact or getting in touch, “連絡する” (renraku suru) can be used.

    Example: もう少し後で連絡するね。(Mou sukoshi ato de renraku suru ne.) – I’ll contact you a little later, okay?

Regional Variations

While the formal and informal expressions mentioned earlier are widely used throughout Japan, it’s worth noting that regional variations exist. Some dialects may have unique words or pronunciation for “call.” Here are a couple of examples:

  • ひゅーん (Hyuun): In the Kansai region, especially in Osaka, people often use “ひゅーん” (hyuun) as an onomatopoeic expression for a phone ringing.
  • よびはいる (Yobihairu): In the Tohoku region, particularly in areas like Sendai, the phrase “よびはいる” (yobihairu) is commonly used to mean “to call.”

Remember that using regional variations might not be fully understood outside of their respective areas. It’s best to stick to the standard expressions if you’re uncertain.


Learning how to say “call” in Japanese is essential for effective communication. By understanding the formal and informal expressions provided in this guide, you can navigate various social situations appropriately. Remember, context and relationship with the person you’re speaking to play a crucial role in choosing the right word for “call.” Practice using these expressions and gradually expand your vocabulary to become more fluent in Japanese. 頑張ってください!(Ganbatte kudasai! – Good luck!)

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