Japanese stuff

K, I have two questions, one cultural and one linguistic.

First: I know manga readership is higher in Japan than comic readership is here in the States. I mentioned this in discussion with two friends the other night, and they don’t seem to believe me-- but I can’t find a cite anywhere to back it up!! I thought this was a pretty well-known fact, but apparently it isn’t, and now if I don’t find something saying I’m right I’ll just look like an ass. Can anyone help??

Second: I’ve heard people say “I’m sorry” in Japanese two different ways; “gomenasai” and “sumimasen.” I thought I had them figured out-- it seemed like “sumimasen” had more of a connotation of imposing on the person being apologized to, and “gomenasai” (is it that, or “gomen nasai”??) was more of a general apology. But since then I’ve seen several Japanese movies, and saw a guy say “sumimasen” to express pity for an acquaintance’s loss of a spouse, and another say “gomenasai” for running into someone… now I’m just utterly confused. When is it appropriate to say what?

(Thanks for reading & in advance for responding. :cool: )

You’re absolutely right. The first article in my copy of Mangajin Japanese through Comics states that 40% of all books sold in Japan are manga. A good run for a manga in Japan is aroudn 5 million copies, in the US a comic is considered a huge succes if it sells 100,000 copies despite the US’s far greater population.

Your feelings on “sumimasen” and “gomen nasai” are generally correct but they can be used interchangeably…

To the first question… sumimasen

however to the second;
Generally sumimasen is the more respectful form that would be said to an elder or better however it can also be used as “excuse me” and “gomen nasai” is the less polite and is rarely used as “excuse me”. But when expressing regret or apology in japanese “sumimasen” is placed in the apropriate place in the sentence (after the verb).

oh and dou itashimashite.

HA!! Doomo arigatoo tremorviolet, I think that will be sufficient proof…
(but if anybody’s got more, I’d still be glad to see it :wink: )

and, thanks for the clear-up on the apologies, BigDaiv. Minor poking, though; today I heard (a non-Japanese) someone say “sumimasen” and then some adverb/verb combination… is that improper/informal, or just wrong??

japanese sentence structure is completely interchangable and relies on suffixes to represent the subject and object of the sentence. eg. “watashi wa” the “wa” (which is spelt using “ha” but pronounced “wa”) shows that “watashi” or “i” is the subject of the sentence. sumimasen my bad there.