Muku was born and raised in the Kansai region, which is also where I stayed when I first started living in Japan – so I thought it would be a fitting topic for our first article!
Kansai-ben or the Kansai dialect is a collection of Japanese languages specific to the Kansai region.
The Kansai region, also known as the Kinki region, is an area encompassing the southern-central region of Japan. This includes Mie, Nara, Wakayama, Kyoto, Osaka, Hyogo and Shiga prefectures. Each prefecture has their own dialect, with the version spoken in Osaka being the most representative of “Kansai-ben”.
Difference to Hyoujungo
Hyoujungo, or standard Japanese, is the form of Japanese spoken in the Kantō region and is the version best known internationally. The Kantō region, which includes Japan’s capital city Tokyo, is considered the eastern region while the Kansai region is considered the western region.
Nowadays, Hyoujungo is more commonly spoken in the Kanto region and in professional settings (news, companies, etc.). But in the Kansai region, most people speak Kansai-ben.
A mix of different words and accents give a different atmosphere to Kansai-ben. A good example would be the word, ‘very’. In Hyoujungo, ‘very’ is translated to ‘totemo’, but in Kansai-ben, it is translated to ‘meccha’.
Personally, I have always felt that Kansai-ben has its own charm and adds to the liveliness of the Kansai region.
You’ve made it to the end of the article! Thanks!
We’re planning to start a series of words in Kansai-ben. Hang tight for some updates on the blog!