Have you ever thought why the Japanese uses “moshi moshi” whenever they pick up their phones?
I found this very interesting when I learned it from a lesson given by Ohno Satoshi, Arashi’s leader on Waku Waku Gakkou. After learning about this, I tried researching it to further elaborate what I was taught.
They first started to use moshi moshi in the Meiji period. At that time, only the rich people were able to buy phones.
Instead of saying moshi moshi, the person who makes the call would say “Oi Oi”. Then, the receiving end will say “はい ようでござんす” (hai youdegozansu) which meant “Yes, very well” . Moshi moshi originated from the word 申し上げます (moushiagemasu) which literally means “say/speak“. It’s a formal word, used in the old times. Moushiagemasu is said by the telephone operators to those they patch calls through to be polite. From moushiagemasu, it then became moshi moshi.
Other than this, there’s also another explanation for this.
It is said that foxes tend to be sneaky little buggers, as least in Japanese fairy tales. The foxes can turn into beautiful women and then marry the Japanese man, and then after that, leave them. These foxes will steal things and mess around. Apparently, foxes only say moshi as it is difficult for the foxes to say moshi moshi. So, this can to prove that you’re not a fox and to confirm that you won’t be tricked by the person on the phone.
Then, another question came up. Why moshi moshi and not just moshi. There’s a television show called “Riyuu Aru Tarou”. In one of the shows, this question came up and they did a little research on it. The reason that they found was that, it is related to 妖怪 youkai (ghosts and spirits). Historians say that saying “Moshi moshi” is a way to prove that you’re not a ghost. Apparently, ghosts can only say “Moshi” once. So, if someone says “moshi” to you and you reply, your soul can be stolen!
There’s a website on how to use moshi moshi here as it will not be covered in this post. 😛
Pictures credits to respective owners. I do not own any of the pictures here. As much as I have the video
which is probably illegal, none of these are mine. I only cut the picture out from the video! Yes, I still wish to own Arashi.
Waku waku gakkou -Moshi moshi lesson