In my JLPT textbook, I have a short letter in business Japanese, which is where I'm definitely weakest.

The letter is from 山口商事 to 森山工業, and here it is as it appears in the book. Sorry for all my markings. I hope it's readable:

business letter

Here is what I think is the relevant part of the letter:



The question about the letter is この文書は何を要求しているか。 And the given answer is, 山口商事が森山工業に100万円支払うこと. My understanding from that answer is that the topic of the letter is the Yamaguchi company paying a million yen to the Moriyama construction company.

What I can't figure out, though, is if the Yamaguchi company intends to pay that money. The part where it says 売掛金の支払いを催促した様子は見られません makes me think that they're saying they don't think they have to pay. They "can't see any indication of their obligation to pay", or something like that.

However, the 上記債務を当社にお支払いいただきたく、ご通知いたします part makes me think that maybe they do intend to pay. Actually, it's very confusing to me, because I thought いただく meant to receive, so do they expect to receive payment of some kind?

Where am I getting tangled up in all this formal business language, and can anyone help me untangle it?

  • 1
    1.「催促する」をもう一回調べてみてください。「催促した様子がない=催促していないようだ」の主語は「同社」=「上田物産」です。2. 「お~いただく」を「~してもらう」に変えれば分かると思います
    – user1016
    Jul 4, 2014 at 10:13
  • 2
    @DaveMG: This question is very tangled. And frankly, the fundamental question appears to be "please translate this for me". I can certainly understand some users downvoting it on that basis alone. You have at least 2 different questions in here, something that we do try to discourage.
    – jkerian
    Jul 4, 2014 at 13:49
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    I didn't downvote it, I simply made a guess as to why someone might do so.
    – jkerian
    Jul 7, 2014 at 7:10

1 Answer 1


I'm not really sure where the question is, so I'll just explain what I see in the letter.

Moriyama is writing to Yamaguchi. So Yamaguchi is the 貴社.

Yamaguchi owed Ueda the 100万円 and didn't pay for over 6 months. Ueda went out of business. Moriyama is now the owner of the debt post bankruptcy. The いただく phrase is indicating that Moriyama should receive the money.

The letter is written by KAWAKAMI Tarou from the [総務]{そうむ} group at Moriyama stating the above fact (i.e. requesting payment).

  • Oh, wow! What a silly error I was making. I had the two companies reversed in my mind, so I thought Moriyama was the 貴社. Now everything makes sense. Thanks for setting me straight.
    – Questioner
    Jul 4, 2014 at 12:32
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    For me the key hint was the 殿 after the name. You wouldn't do that for your own company. So then the 貴社 has to be the one with the dono.
    – virmaior
    Jul 4, 2014 at 13:07

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