Japanese Language Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for students, teachers, and linguists wanting to discuss the finer points of the Japanese language. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I'm hearing this word a lot in Japanese drama and anime. What is the literal meaning of it? Does it have a Kanji form? What root(s) does it contain (I think there is a する in the second half of it? What about the もし part?)?

share|improve this question
up vote 8 down vote accepted

What is the literal meaning of it?

A literal translation will sound very awkward: (just) if doing. In any case, it is an expression of supposition about something that may be possible. Hence, "perhaps".

Does it have a Kanji form?

若しかして (perhaps even 若しか為て), but it will usually be written in hiragana.

While not recognized as modern readings, the following characters have all historically been glossed as mosi in various 漢文 texts: 仍, 假, 儻, 卽, 如, 或, 爲, 由, 皆, 縦, 脱, 苟, 設, 謂, and 頗.

What root(s) does it contain

Adverb mosi + interrogative partical ka + verb s- + particle -te. The particle ka strengthens the interrogative ("if") sense of mosi.

Just for the record, there are other compounds of mosi-ka, including "mosika sitara" and "mosika suru to".

What about the もし part?)?

An adverb meaning "if".

share|improve this answer

When written with kanji it is 若しかして.

I imagine it to be made up of:

  • 若し
  • particle か
  • して (て-form of する)
share|improve this answer
Is the particle か a question tag? Is its usage with Kanji common? – hkBattousai Jun 26 '12 at 14:10

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.