My brother got on a scholarship to go to university in Japan, he was given a year an half language training and then had to apply to Japanese universities.

I suggested he study in Osaka as I'd visited there and knew some people he could hang about with but he was advised not to study too far away from Tokyo as people would look down on him if he gained a regional accent.

Is this actually the case? I appreciate that they might make fun of locals with a regional accent but is would this apply to foreigners too?

  • Do you mean, is it ok to use regional dialect or regional accent? And is it ok to use it inside the region or outside? – repecmps Jun 2 '11 at 10:58
  • I'm asking if there is a stigma against having a regional dialect. – Omar Kooheji Jun 2 '11 at 11:57
  • Whether or not there's a stigma, there's definitely a trend to switch to standard Tokyo Japanese when in Tokyo, at least IME of people from Touhoku. – Ali Jun 2 '11 at 12:47
  • 1
    You may have used the word gaijin (外人) intentionally, but in case you did unintentionally, some people consider the word gaijin as a negative word in the modern usage in Japanese. Gaikokujin (外国人) is a safer word. See Wikipedia for more. (But there is no clear-cut rule, and everything depends on the context.) – Tsuyoshi Ito Jun 3 '11 at 22:12

There is a lot of people from Osaka in Tokyo, so that Kansai-ben (Osaka-ben) are not so strange here. And I don't think they will get looked down for that case.

But many of non-Japanese's pronunciation and intonations are a bit different with native, so some people with less international communications will somehow look at strangely for few first times.

Only that people from Osaka are looks more friendly than from Tokyo, so may be when you ask something to unknown people, will probably get less responsive than that does in Osaka.

But still I don't think that is the problem, I believe he will get use to it within few months if he comes to Tokyo.


I have a number of gaijin friends in Tokyo who learned Japanese in Kansai. Rather than being looked down upon, Japanese friends think it's cool (関西人面白いでしょ?).

Yet, business is different - again, the relationships of the people involved matter. Unless you're in a Kansai office with a bunch of Kansai-jin, sticking to "標準語 (hyoujungo)" is never a bad idea. Also, if your Kansai-ben isn't that good, it's probably better to forget it - it definitely takes a little bit of moxie to get it right (admittedly I'm terrible).

As a gaijin, I've been commended by more than a few older Japanese males for speaking "proper Japanese" -- e.g. syntactically correct standard 標準語. So, is that better? Dunno, I guess it depends whom you want to impress - but their positive feedback was more positively comparing my speech to that of Japanese youth, who they deemed to not speak properly, rather than of a certain dialect.

  • Totally! Friends with Kansai accents in Tokyo are like mini celebrities. If you think you get attention for being fluent, it ain't nothing like being fluent + kansai-ben. For the record I don't speak with a Kansai accent. – crunchyt Jun 4 '11 at 6:12

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