I am in a Japanese office setup sitting next to my boss. He often gets phone calls but most of the time he is not in his seat. How do I answer his phone say that "This is Mr. XX's seat and this is YY (my name) talking and Mr.XX is not in his place" in Japanese?


I've found answering the phone at work follows a fairly fixed pattern.

I would answer the phone with something along the lines of:

This is company Z, MR Y speaking.

or just with the company name.

This is company Z.

After they introduce themselves and said their "お世話になっております". You generally reply with something similar :


If they ask for someone who is away from their seat (but probably return soon) you can say something like:

I'm very sorry but he has left his seat...

At that point they will either ask when he will be back, or say they will call back later.

  • 7
    (Regarding the last line) Generally it is best to omit the -san for an employee within your company, even your boss, when talking to someone outside of your company. – Dono Sep 13 '12 at 6:52
  • Cheers @Dono . I was in two minds about adding it myself at first. So it's best to say XX rather than XX-san, or would you omit the name altogether? – Jeemusu Sep 13 '12 at 8:35
  • 4
    It is usually correct to use a surname without -san or any honorific suffix when you talk about person X in your company to someone outside of your company, because X is considered as a person on your side in relation to the caller, and you should not honorify a person on your side. If the caller is a family of X, the situation is different; you should refer to X with honorifics in this case. – Tsuyoshi Ito Sep 13 '12 at 20:04
  • Also it is usual to get the callers name and company lest you be unable to inform your boss of who called. Usually the conversation goes along the lines of CALLER: ABC商事{しょうじ}、山田{やまだ}太郎{たろう}と申しますが, YOU: ABC商事の山田太郎様{さま}でございますね、いつも世話になっております. I also find it usual to hear a 申し訳ございません、ただいまXXさんは席{せき}を外{はず}しております (as opposed to 申し訳ない which I have been told can be offensive to some callers). – The Wandering Coder May 22 '15 at 0:18

Two cases:

  1. You answer saying "もしもし、JLU(の)クマーです", and the other person realises immediately you're not your boss

  2. First, just say もしもし, let them introduce themselves, and then reply something like "あ、どうもありがとうございます。申し訳ないのですが、現在部長が席を外してますが…"

  • 2
    It is highly unusual to answer an external call in a business environment with a simple もしもし. At least the companies I have worked for, have always answered the call with something similar to 株式会社[COMPANY NAME]でございます at the least. Also instead of 現在 (the present) I have always been told to use and have only ever heard ただいま (currently)。 – The Wandering Coder May 22 '15 at 0:23

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