Vary quick question. But i have vary little in the way of available Japanese reading material in the form of stories, but i thought it might be fun to try translating one of my short-stories into Japanese.

To that end, i must ask, while i know the characters dialog needs to be appropriately polite, does the describing text of the story itself need to be so?

I mean, the story itself isn't a person, it's just text, description, etc. So is it expected to be written without use of things like 「です」or must it?

ps. How much does poetry effect this? If at all?

2 Answers 2


Children's books and fairy tales are usually written in polite language (~です, ~ます, ~ました), whereas descriptive texts in novels targeted at teenagers or older are almost always written non-politely (~だ, ~である). So it depends on what kind of story you are writing.

The same is generally true for poems and lyrics. They are usually in plain language, but "Mother Goose" or "Alice in Wonderland"-type poems may be written using polite language.


I don't think so.
If you look at news in Japanese, most articles don't use polite speech. You can search for です and ます, and the results will be almost always minimum.

But fictional stories may be different.
For example, the text below is written in polite speech.

I think it is a question of style. If you want to sound more objective and journalistic you should use plain speech.
If you want to sound more subjective and intimate, you should use polite speech.

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