Would it be considered rude if I start saying things like "ok", "uhm" or "mhm" when speaking to someone in Japan? Would they understand that I'm agreeing or listening to what their saying?

2 Answers 2


"Mhm", "Hmm" is easily understood by any Japanese speaker because they use similar interjections. (But they don't use "Uh-huh".)

Japanese people use the rising intonation to change a sentence into a question, too. They can understand "Book?" is a question and "Book!" is not.

"OK" is one of the first words Japanese people learn when they start learning English at school. Unless you are talking to a very old person, you can usually assume the lister can understand at least "Yes", "No", "OK", "Thank you", "Hello", "Bye", etc.

Regarding rudeness, saying "Mhm" or "Okay" is never offending by itself, but of course you should try your best to use the language your listener understands.


It depends on situations. In a daily conversation, it’s fine and may be more frequent than other culture.

In a corporation, they may avoid a filler on the phone. Instead they use [え]{‘}[え]{’} in a sense of “Sure” pronouncing each vowels clearly not like えー or ああ as you are saying like "ok", "uhm" or "mhm".

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