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December 9, 2022

Learn Japanese with Anime: Your Name 君の名は and Japanese Abbreviations

君の名は。 is a very popular movie by director 新海(しんかい) (まこと) (Shinkai Makoto). It is a fantasy, time tripping adventure set in modern day Tokyo and rural Japan. In it, the two swap bodies and only vaguely remember the experiences as if they were dreams.

The movie is much better than I make it sound…

The boy is 立花(たちばな) (たき) and the girl is 宮水(みやみず) 三葉(みつは).

In today’s lesson, they finally meet after years of searching for some vague “somebody.” If you haven’t seen the movie, I won’t say anything more, but just know the two don’t know each other… but they do.

The movie is much better than I make it sound…

Today's lesson is:

あの!(おれ)(きみ)をどこかで…

(わたし)も!

(きみ)名前(なまえ)は?


English Translation

  • Excuse me! Haven't we met before?
  • I thought so, too!
  • What's your name?

If you compare the Japanese and English, you’ll notice the Japanese leaves out a lot of words:

This is extremely common in Japanese conversation.

In fact, oftentimes adding all the words as we would in English would make the sentence sound unnatural.

We have this in English with the “understood you.” For example, a mother would tell her son:

Do your homework!  (The subject is “you”: )

Which really is: You do your homework.

But that would feel a little unnatural, wouldn’t it? Japanese is like that but approximately a billion times more.


Dialogue Breakdown

あの!(おれ)(きみ)をどこかで…

excuse me | I | you | (direct object marker) | somewhere | at

Excuse me! Haven't we met before?

  • あの um; excuse me; well [used to get the attention of someone or to give oneself a moment to collect one’s thoughts.]
  • (おれ) I [masculine singular pronoun. See our other video on Your Name about pronouns: https://thejapanesepage.com/learn-japanese-with-anime-your-name/ ]
  • (きみ) you [familiar 2nd person pronoun.]
  • を (direct object marker) [marks (きみ) as the direct object; ]
  • どこか somewhere [どこ (where) + か (some—shows uncertainty)]
  • で at [どこかで would literally mean “at somewhere”]

(わたし)も!

I | also

I thought so, too!

  • (わたし) I [most common pronoun; slightly feminine which is why she uses it and he uses the masculine (おれ)]
  • も also; too
  • (わたし)も me too [it’s best to just remember this as a single word: (わたし)も]

(きみ)名前(なまえ)は?

your | name | as for

What's your name?

  • (きみ) you [familiar 2nd person pronoun.]
  • (きみ)の your [adding the possessive の after pronouns makes the possessive form of pronouns: (わたし)の (my); (おれ)の (my); あなたの (your); (かれ)らの (theirs)]
  • 名前(なまえ) name [Here the question is (くん)名前(なまえ)は but the title of the movie is (くん)()は. 名前(なまえ) is used in modern Japanese to mean “name”; () alone can mean “name” but it sounds old-fashioned and/or literary. So, when spoken they ask, 「(きみ)名前(なまえ)は?」 but the title is written to sound more romantic, old-fashioned, and elegant.]
  • は [This marks “your name” as the topic of the sentence, but then stops here. The (なん)ですか is omitted. This is very common when the question or statement is understood in context. In English, when answering the question “What is your name?”, we might reply with the name and then, “And you?” The implication is, “And what is your name?” but “And you?” sounds more natural.]


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