1

Relatively recently - probably in the last few months or something - I've noticed the much more Kanjified version of おめでとうございます - 御目出度う御座います. Personally I think this looks cooler than the strictly kana version, and it's also a little more "grown up"-looking. Since it is both cooler and less childish, in my eyes, I started using it.

However I've noticed that, no matter who I write that to, they always reply back, if anything, with the [strictly] kana version. This doesn't matter their age, sex, whether they're a native speaker of Japanese, or anything else. In a way, it almost looks like Japanese people are very subtly trying to correct me.

So is using 御目出度う御座います the equivalent of using phrases such as, "Hast thou need of mine art?" Or is it still considered acceptable Japanese? In other contexts, I have occasionally seen 御 getting used, where something like お or ご would be more common, so I know that one specific Kanji should be okay. jisho.org also does not list the Kanjified phrase as "archaic", so...is this ever really used?

3
  • 2
    This isn't a strict rule, but set phrases like that are pretty much always written in kana. Probably because there is no need for kanji for clarity, since everyone reads the whole phrase as one unit, not as a sentence. The kanji version probably looks weird to people, since they don't automatically recognize it as the phrase, but rather they intuitively try to parse it as a normal sentence at first, before recognizing that the phrase is meant. Whether it is "acceptable", I don't know.
    – user40476
    Nov 27 '20 at 18:11
  • 2
    御目出度う御座います looks truly bizarre to me, but I'm going to be enjoying the phrase "Hast thou need of mine art?" for a long time :) Nov 27 '20 at 20:29
  • 3
    I think the average reaction from a native speaker, if they know you aren't advanced in Japanese, would be to assume you're just ignorant of general kanji style preferences and didn't know which version to choose.
    – Leebo
    Nov 27 '20 at 23:12
2

御目出度う御座います is one of old-fashioned ways to write the phrase おめでとうございます (now usually in all hiragana), that could already look strange to modern eyes. It is a spelling style that you make use of kanji as much as possible, which is a characteristic of the Edo period convention unlike today's (cf. Why are a high proportion of basic Japanese words written in hiragana?). While those who in some traditional trades prefer this style, it may look unnecessarily pompous if not "bad" to use everyday.

  • 御: the keigo prefix お-, ご-, and み- is sometimes seen in kanji, as you said, but its active uses tend to be limited to old fixed words or phrases. It is not a primary option you use to write daily messages.

  • 目出度(い): it is a traditional ateji for the word めでたい (< めでる "celebrate" + -たい "want; -worthy"). The kanji is etymologically irrelevant but associated with 目が出る "have good future/fortune". It was especially common to put kanji with "good meaning" (嘉字) for good words. (度 was a standard way to write auxiliary -たい because the kanji has an on'yomi たく which is the same with its adverbial form.)

  • 御座(る): it was originally a samurai class word (武家言葉) which is thought to be the spelling pronunciation of an old keigo 御座します【おまします】 "be present". Now rarely written in kanji being a general keigo verb.


† As an aside, it is a single word as a whole, not related to modern keigo auxiliary -ます.

3

Most native speakers can read 御目出度う御座います without difficulty, and it's not an "archaic" expression like thou art. Still, it's a rare ateji expression that can be used only in limited situations. If used inappropriately, it just looks childish, stupid and inconsiderate to the eyes of native speakers.

Please keep in mind that using too many kanji does not make you look intelligent. Actually it can make you look like a weeaboo, a biker gang or a chunibyo patient who's trying hard to show off your ability. Don't do unconventional things unless you know what you're doing.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.