How to Say “Something Came Up” in Japanese

When we find ourselves in situations where unexpected occurrences prevent us from doing something or attending a planned event, it’s important to be able to express this concept in Japanese. In this guide, we will explore various ways to convey the idea of “something came up” in both formal and informal settings. Additionally, we’ll provide you with essential tips, examples, and even regional variations. Let’s get started!

Formal Expressions

When speaking formally in professional or official settings, it’s crucial to use polite language to maintain propriety. Below are some expressions you can use to convey the idea of “something came up” formally:

1. 予定が入りました (よていがはいりました) – Yotei ga hairimashita

In formal situations, this expression can be used to convey the idea that an unexpected event has come up, resulting in a change of plans. It is a direct and concise way to communicate this situation politely.

Example: すみません、急な予定が入りましたので、会議に参加できません。(Sumimasen, kyū na yotei ga hairimashita node, kaigi ni sanka dekimasen.) – I’m sorry, I won’t be able to attend the meeting due to an unexpected appointment that has come up.

2. 急な用事が発生しまして (きゅうなようじがはっせいしまして) – Kyū na yōji ga hasseishimashite

This phrase is slightly more formal and emphasizes the occurrence of a sudden and urgent matter that has arisen. It showcases a higher level of politeness while still effectively expressing the concept of “something came up.”

Example: 言いたいことがありまして、急な用事が発生しまして、今日の打ち合わせに参加できません。(Iitai koto ga arimashite, kyū na yōji ga hasseishimashite, kyō no uchiawase ni sanka dekimasen.) – There’s something I need to discuss, but due to a sudden matter that has come up, I won’t be able to attend today’s meeting.

Informal Expressions

In casual and familiar situations such as with friends, family, or close colleagues, you can use less formal expressions to convey the concept of “something came up.” Here are a couple of commonly used informal phrases:

1. 用事が入っちゃった (ようじがはいっちゃった) – Yōji ga haicchatta

This phrase is an informal way to express that something unforeseen happened and disrupted your previously made plans. It relies on contracted speech to sound more casual and friendly.

Example: やっべ、用事が入っちゃったから、デートは次回にしよう。(Yabbe, yōji ga haicchatta kara, dēto wa jikai ni shiyou.) – Oops, something came up, so let’s reschedule our date for next time.

2. 急用ができちゃった (きゅうようができちゃった) – Kyūyō ga dekichatta

This informal expression conveys a sudden and pressing matter that has unexpectedly arisen. Like the previous example, it features contracted speech for a more casual tone.

Example: ごめん、急用ができちゃったから、今日のライブに行けないよ。(Gomen, kyūyō ga dekichatta kara, kyō no raibu ni ikenai yo.) – Sorry, something urgent came up, so I can’t go to the live performance today.

Regional Variations

Though the Japanese language is relatively homogeneous, there might be some subtle regional variations in expressions. However, it’s important to note that these variations are not extensive and can still be understood throughout Japan. Here’s an example of a regional way to say “something came up”:

Kyoto Dialect:

In Kyoto dialect, the phrase “something came up” can be expressed as:

Example: 用意がでちゃいました (よういがでちゃいました) – Yōi ga dechaimashita

While this variation is specific to the Kyoto region, it is not necessary to actively learn regional dialects unless you have a particular interest or purpose in doing so.

Tips to Remember

  • When expressing “something came up” in Japanese, the context of the conversation is crucial to determining the appropriate level of politeness. Always consider the relationship and formality of the situation.
  • It’s recommended to pair these phrases with an apology to show consideration for any inconvenience caused by the unexpected circumstances.
  • Practice pronunciation and intonation for each phrase to ensure clear communication, especially when conveying a sudden change of plans.
  • Remember that body language and facial expressions also play a significant role in conveying the message effectively.
  • Take note of the appropriate honorifics and respect towards others when apologizing or explaining the situation.


Now that you have learned various ways to express “something came up” in Japanese, you can navigate unexpected situations with ease. Remember to always consider the formality of the situation and adjust your expressions accordingly. Whether you find yourself in a formal or informal setting, you now have the tools to convey this concept effectively while maintaining politeness. Keep practicing, and soon enough, you’ll be able to express your changing plans in Japanese naturally!

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