I haven't heard from a good friend for a while, I would like to reproach him playfully, but have no clue what the appropriate thing to say would be.

Would 恥を知れ! be appropriate if said in a funny tone, or is it too strong of an expression?

Edit: some context

Forgive me if I didn't add too much context, but I wanted a generic advice more than a specific one. Though I understand in language, and especially in such a language as Japanese is, it doesn't make much sense to be context-free.

Basically, we are very good friends, both males. We travelled a lot together while in Europe; I stayed at his place in Japan, he stayed at my place; met my family. We have a very strong connection and we are playful with eachother.

We are, however, admittetly both 筆無精. And we don't keep in touch. The reason why I wanted something more than 久しぶり is because he got married and just did an announcement on Facebook. I want to do this playful scolding, but I don't want to sound too serious: of course I really care about his life, but I understand things have been hectic and he didn't have time to contact me.

  • 3
    – user1016
    Commented Apr 29, 2013 at 13:08
  • 1
    What if you were to just use something like: "お久しぶり"?
    – summea
    Commented Apr 29, 2013 at 15:23
  • What about 私のこと好きじゃなくなってきたの?
    – istrasci
    Commented Apr 29, 2013 at 16:26
  • 1
    はい、そうと思う。「やっとかめ」=とても久しぶり Commented Apr 30, 2013 at 14:39
  • 1
    @Chocolate and the famous song youtube.com/watch?v=nwxxtYCVOR4 though not known by many.
    – oldergod
    Commented May 22, 2013 at 8:53

2 Answers 2


I applaud your courage to try something new and more sophisticated, when you can so easily use some safe & mandane expressions like お久しぶり!

Unfortunately, things like this entirely depend on the context and what your perceived character is to the other person, for there's always some context in which almost any expression is appropriate.

For example, if you and he have some shared memory around that particular phrase, it'd be very much desirable to use 恥を知れ!. Or if you've been known to him as a very frank person and he had promised you to reach back to you when he didn't. I can imagine you saying something お前結婚式には呼ぶっていってたじゃんよ、奥さんに昔の恥ずかしい話をしてやろうと思ってたのに。恥を知れ(笑).

Interestingly because the phrase itself is a pretty strong one as you note, I'd say there's actually little chance of this being taken as offensive. When you receive an e-mail like this from an old acquaintance, you just can't imagine anything that warrants such anger, so really you can only assume that he meant it lightly.

And the use of frank, straight phrases creates an intimacy and closeness, which is a good thing if you are writing to an old buddy.

If you want advices on possible other expressions, I think you need to provide a lot more context, such as whether you are a male or female, the nature of friendship, how old/young you are, etc.

  • Not sure if your first sentence is sarcastic: I will assume good faith, though. Thank you for your detailed answer, that is very helpful. I added the exact context in my question, so if you want you can elaborate a bit more on what you think it's more appropriate. Commented Apr 29, 2013 at 22:21
  • Also I want to add that I want to call him on the phone rather than sending him an email, so I guess I can convey playfulness without relying on assumptions on his part. Commented Apr 29, 2013 at 22:27
  • 2
    No, I didn't mean sarcastic. My bad if it comes across as such. I'm also surprised that my example paragraph was spot on! Commented Apr 29, 2013 at 23:07
  • 1
    I must say I am slightly at loss with your example… :/ Commented Apr 30, 2013 at 14:42
  • 1
    I'd say "お前結婚式には呼ぶっていってたじゃんよ、奥さんに昔の恥ずかしい話をしてやろうと思ってたのに。恥を知れ(笑)" would be "Dude, you said you'll invite me to your wedding [but you didn't!]. I was so going to tell your bride about all the stupid things you've done before you met her [but because you didn't invite me, I couldn't!] Shame on you!" Commented May 30, 2013 at 4:43


●ナニソレ。結婚なんて聞いてなかったけど。(≒ 俺に黙って結婚するとか、アリ?)


  • 1
    – hello all
    Commented Aug 16, 2013 at 8:53
  • I like your way of talking, I feel like I'm actually learning natural Japanese. Thanks
    – Aki
    Commented Jun 12, 2014 at 7:39

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .