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Oct 2, 2018

Yoisho - Unique Japanese Interjections


Hello. I'm Kosuke!

Have you ever heard "yoisho (よいしょ)"?

Japanese people often use this term when lifting something.

Today, let's learn what "yoisho" is!


Let's also check other useful Japanese interjections!

I hope they will help you to communicate with Japanese people!








When I say "yoisho", my American wife says "What is that?".

That's why I decided to write this article.


Actually, "yoisho" doesn't have any meaning.
It is just a sound.


The part of speech of "yoisho" is an "interjection".

Interjections are the words used in specific situations.



There are not any good English translations for "yoisho", but it is similar to "heave-ho".

I think "Heave-ho" is used when you lift something heavy.

"Yoisho" can also be used when you lift something heavy.




However, "yoisho" can be used for many other cases.


For example, after working, when you sit on a chair, you can say "yoisho".

If you say "yoisho" when you sit down, maybe people around you will think that you are tired now.


"Yoisho" can be used when a person is trying hard to move their body.


When you stand up, you can also say "yoisho" if it's difficult because you are so tired.


I heard that there is research stating:
"when a person is uttering a sound, the person's muscular strength becomes stronger."

I don't know if it is true.


However, when we say "yoisho", we feel that it helps us move.






There are some similar words to "Yoisho".

   よっこいしょ
     yo k ko i sho

   どっこいしょ
     do k ko i sho

   よっこらせ
     yo k ko ra se

   どっこらせ
     do k ko ra se



All "Yokkoisho", "Dokkoisho", "Yokkorase", and "Dokkorase" have the same meaning as "Yoisho".


You can choose your favorite one when you use them!



If you have ever been to a Japanese summer festival, perhaps you have heard:

   わっしょい
     wa s sho i


"Wasshoi" is the chant used when people carry portable shrines in Japanese festival.

When people carry it, everyone says "wasshoi" over and over.


I think "wasshoi" is also similar to "yokkoisho".

You can say "wasshoi" when you lift heavy things, or when you stand up.


However, the main usage of "wasshoi" is for festivals.







Sometimes Japanese people say:

   よいしょ する
     yo i sho su ru


"する(suru)" is a verb, which means "do".

So "よいしょする (yoisho suru)" means:

  "Do yoisho"





What is "doing yoisho"?

Does it mean lifting heavy things?



Actually, it means:
"flatter" or "butter up" someone.


If someone does "yoisho" to you, they are trying to please you because they want you to support them.


If you become a salary-man in Japan, "doing yoisho" to your boss is very important! hehe








"おらぁ!(Oraa)" is also a Japanese interjection.

If you like to read Japanese comics, maybe you have seen this.



This word is used when attacking someone, or something.


If you get tired of doing "yoisho" to your boss, you can hit him, saying "Oraa!".








When Japanese people say "えーっと (etto)", they are thinking.

It sounds like "e e t to".


The meaning is similar to "well" in English.

When you can't think of an answer during conversation, you should say "etto".
They will wait for your reply.







"ひえ~っ!(hi e e)" is used when someone is surprised or saw something scary.



Maybe, this dog is seeing something scary...








"もしもし (moshi-moshi)" is used when Japanese people answer the phone call.


This is similar to "hello".

However, "moshi-moshi" is used only for phone calls.


When you receive a phone call from a Japanese person, you can say "moshi-moshi".

Also, when you can't hear anything due to a bad network connection, please say:
"Moshi-moshi? Can you hear me?"


This is like hello.






Maybe you already know "はい (hai)" and "いいえ (iie, ie)".

These are also Japanese interjections.


"Hai" means "yes".



"Iie" means "no".



When you speak Japanese, please use "hai" and "iie", instead of "yes" and "no"!






Actually, greetings are also interjections.



Therefore, the words below are interjections, too.


















I think you can understand that there are many interjections in Japan.

My American wife is always surprised because I suddenly say non-understandable words. haha

I especially often say "yoisho".

It means my body is old, and I get tired easily...haha



If you are still practicing Japanese conversation, "etto" is useful.

You can say this during a conversation with Japanese people, and make a sentence in your head.


If you have opportunities to call Japanese people, you should remember "moshi-moshi".


Also, if you have a very mean Japanese friend, "oraa!" is useful for you!
If you say it, they will be surprised, and they will say "hiee"!


I hope this article helps you study Japanese!
Thank you for reading!



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