I have trouble understanding this commercial.

(This page also provides Japanese subtitles)

The woman has received a lot of 喪中はがき lately and so is worried about お香典.
This part I understand but what the old guy says next is puzzling to me:

「私ね進物用のお線香を贈ってるんです。喪中見舞いって書いて お返しなんかいいから今度ゆっくり話し聞かせてって気持ちでね」と笹野さん

I get it that he recommends giving お線香, possibly because it's easier on the purse, but what he says later is hard to parse:


My best try: he says the meaning of お線香 is "not to ask something in return" (お返しなんかいいから) but to "pay respect and have a leisurely chat". Doesn't make much sense to me.

  • 3
    The commercial makes perfect sense. It does not to you because you are trying to understand linguistically what is essentially an inexplicit cultural question. I do not think you fully understand what お返し means here. Additionally, "easier on the purse" is neither said nor implied. – l'électeur Dec 25 '18 at 14:00

They are concerning about the custom of 香典 and 香典返し. 香典 is a monetary gift given usually on the day of the funeral, and 香典返し is a small returning gift given usually several weeks after the funeral. She is worrying if it's too late to formally offer a 香典 because it may make the bereaved family worry about 香典返し.

(I present senko) thinking "No returning gift is necessary, but please let me know about the deceased person sometime soon".

This ad makes sense partly because senko is not expensive and partly because giving senko is (as far as I know) not a popular custom.


In case you receive お線香 as a gift for mourning, you don't have to send something back to the giver. He's making a deal to pretend as if he wants a chat with the receiver, but he's trying to comfort the receiver more. It's a cool technique.

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