Guide: How to Say Sorry to Disturb You in Japanese

When it comes to expressing apologies in Japanese, it’s important to understand the appropriate level of formality based on the context and the person you are speaking to. In this guide, we will explore different ways to say sorry to disturb you in Japanese, ranging from formal to informal expressions. Additionally, we will provide you with tips, examples, and even touch upon regional variations if necessary.

Formal Expressions:

Formality is highly valued in Japanese culture, especially in professional or formal settings. Therefore, it is essential to use polite language when apologizing formally. Here are some common formal expressions to say sorry to disturb you in Japanese:

  1. ごめんなさい、お邪魔します。 (Gomen nasai, ojama shimasu.)
    I’m sorry, I’m interrupting/disturbing you.
  2. すみません、お邪魔しています。 (Sumimasen, ojama shite imasu.)
    Excuse me, I am intruding/disturbing.
  3. 恐れ入りますが、お邪魔しております。 (Osore irimasu ga, ojama shite orimasu.)
    I apologize for disturbing you.

Tip: When addressing someone formally, it is common to use honorific language. Adding “お” (o) before words like “邪魔” (jama) shows respect.

In formal situations, it’s also essential to consider the appropriate level of politeness depending on the seniority or status of the person you are apologizing to. For example, if you are speaking to your supervisor, you may want to use “失礼します” (Shitsurei shimasu) instead of “お邪魔します” (Ojama shimasu), as it conveys a higher level of respect.

Informal Expressions:

When apologizing to friends, family, or people of the same age or social status in a casual setting, you can use more informal expressions. Here are some examples of how to say sorry to disturb you informally in Japanese:

  1. すまん、お邪魔してる。 (Suman, ojama shiteru.)
    Sorry, I’m being a bother.
  2. ごめん、邪魔しちゃって。 (Gomen, jama shichatte.)
    Sorry for disturbing you.
  3. 悪いな、お邪魔してるよ。 (Warui na, ojama shiteru yo.)
    Sorry, I’m bothering you.

Tip: Informal language is typically used among friends or people of the same age. However, it’s important to adapt your language based on the relationship and level of familiarity with the person you are apologizing to.

Regional Variations:

While the usage of formal and informal expressions generally remains consistent across Japan, there may be some slight regional variations in specific dialects. For instance:

In the Kansai region (including cities like Osaka and Kyoto), people tend to use “悪いな” (Warui na) instead of “ごめん” (Gomen) as a more casual way of apologizing.

However, it’s important to note that these regional variations are minor and will not drastically affect how you convey your apology. The formal and informal expressions mentioned earlier are widely understood and accepted throughout Japan.


In Japanese culture, expressing apologies with the appropriate level of formality is crucial. Whether you’re in a formal or informal setting, using the correct language shows respect and consideration for others. Remember these key points:

  • Formal expressions: Use polite language with honorifics like “ごめんなさい” (Gomen nasai) or “すみません” (Sumimasen).
  • Informal expressions: Adopt a more casual tone using expressions like “すまん” (Suman) or “ごめん” (Gomen), but adjust according to your relationship.
  • Regional variations: While slight regional differences exist, they won’t significantly impact your ability to apologize accurately.

By following these guidelines, you’ll be able to express your apologies appropriately based on the context and relationship with the person you are addressing. Remember that Japanese culture highly values politeness, so it’s always better to err on the side of formality when in doubt. Good luck!

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