Wednesday, January 8, 2014


「明けましておめでとうございます! 今年もよろしくお願いします。」
  あけましておめでとうございます           ことしもよろしくおねがいします
Akemashite omedetou gozaimasu!  Kotoshi mo yoroshiku onegai shimasu.

These are of course the traditional phrases for the New Year in Japan, to be said after the clock has struck twelve.  Although we're sort of past the New Year grace period -- I'm told that the first few days of the year is the time for such well-wishing -- people still use it when they have their first January encounters with friends and family.  ( I think February would be a bit late in the year.)  I'll go back to work tomorrow, and I expect that I'll be exchanging these phrases with a number of people, both students and colleagues.

Akeome (あけおめ ) is the shortened form for 「明けましておめでとうございますand
Kotoyoro ( ことよろ ) stands for 今年もよろしくお願いします。」

People taught me the shortened versions during my first New Year holiday in Japan, back in 2002.  At the time, I think these were considered new expressions, even "trendy," as my younger students told me.  My older students had no idea what they meant; when I explained what had been explained to me, I had the tacit impression that they didn't approve of this new language.

The next New Year, when I tried using あけおめ and ことよろ, my younger students were like, "Don't say that any more, it's old.  We don't say that any more.But then the next year it came back, and folks all around me were saying it.  Over the years these abbreviations seem to have become part of the lexicon and I hear them everywhere.

Below are a couple of enthusiastic youths calling in the New Year:

And this is another example of how it sounds.  You can hear あけおめ at 0:13 into it.

In this video, the ladies are a little more formal.  About 0:16 into it comes "あけおめです" and "あけおめでございます," which I thought was kind of cute, mixing this abbreviation with keigo.

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