There are a lot of ways that you can say “again” in Japanese and we are going to go over five of them in today’s post along with some explanations and examples.
My intention is that you will know how to say again in Japanese once you’re done reading, or at the very least be able to understand it when you encounter it in native materials.
If at any time something doesn’t make sense, or if you just have a question that you want to ask, be sure to leave me a comment at the bottom and I will respond to it as best I can.
With all of that out of the way, let’s hope right in to today’s post!
1. 又 (mata)
The first word that I wanted to go over is 又. That is the kanji spelling for it, which does get used every once in a while, but it’s much more common to see it written in hiragana as また (mata).
Perhaps the most common phrase that this word appears in is the following:
- mata ashita!
- See you tomorrow!
This phrase is literally saying “again tomorrow” in Japanese, but really, it is a standard phrase that it used to say goodbye to someone and also that you will meet them the following day.
This is a great one to use with friends, classmates, and even close co-workers when you are parting ways with them and you know that you will encounter them within the next 24 hours.
Another good phrase that you can use is when you want to ask someone “again?” because they are doing something a lot and your kind of surprised.
- mata ka?
- (you’re doing that) Again?
For example, if you have a friend that is rewatching a YouTube video that you know they’ve already seen ten times, then this is a good phrase to use.
2. 改めて (aratamete)
The word 改めて also means “again” in Japanese, but it’s slightly different from the first word that we covered.
This new word has more of a “once again” feeling to it and get’s used in different situations than また typically would.
- aratamete yuu’utsu ni natte ita.
- Once again, I became depressed.
Generally speaking this word can be used if there was a state or situation that had occurred once in the past and was resolved, but then it occured again!
I tend to see this word more often in novels than anywhere else.
3. 再び (futatabi)
For this next word, a pretty good way to understand it is as the phrase “a second time” which of course is just a different way of saying again in English.
Although it does kind of have different connotations since it indicates that whatever is happening has only occurred once before in the past.
Or it indicates that the last time the action was performed was a long time ago, like a decade or many years.
- futatabi kokyou no machi o mita.
- He saw his home town again.
4. 再 (sai)
You might recognize this kanji from section three above.
That would make sense due to its meaning, which I’ve highlighted below from jisho.org:
But this time we are going to look at it from a bit of a different perspective.
Instead of looking at it by itself like we did earlier, we are going to look at this kanji when it is used as a prefix.
In other words, the kanji 再 often gets attached to other kanji in order to create a new word that has that “re” meaning, or the meaning of something happening a second time.
For example, the word 再建 (saiken) means “rebuilding” or “reconstruction” when translated into English.
The word 再会 (saikai) means “meeting again” or we could even say a “reunion.”
What’s kind of interesting is the word 再三 (saisan) which combines our highlighted kanji with the kanji for the number three. The meaning of it is “again and again; repeatedly” which you can kind of see when you think of it as “again-three times.”
So the thing to take away from this section is that when you see the kanji 再 combined with any other kanji, you can start to think of a repetition of the other kanji and that might help you figure out its meaning.
5. もう一度 (mou ichi do)
This next phrase is composed of several parts.
The first part is the word もう (mou) which has several meanings, but two of the more applicable ones in this lesson are “again; another.”
Then we have 一 (ichi) which means “one” and 度 (do) which is a counter for occurrences.
So taken in all together, the phrase もう一度 means “one more time” in Japanese.
For example, if you were talking to your girlfriend or boyfriend over the phone whom you hadn’t seen in several weeks, then you might want to tell them that you miss them and want to see them.
- mou ichi do aitai!
- I want to see you again!
Another situation where this phrase can be useful is when you’re speaking Japanese to a native and they say something that you didn’t understand.
You can ask them politely to repeat what they said so that you can try to understand it the second time they say it.
- mou ichi do itte kudasai.
- Please say that again.
This phrase is a good one to use when ever you are talking about a verb happening a second time, or even a third time.
No More Words!
Alright, so that was quite a few different words in Japanese for just one English word!
I think the thing to keep in mind is that there are a lot of different ways that “again” can be expressed in Japanese and it kind of depends on the situation.
Hopefully this article has helped you become familiar with them, so that when you’re reading manga or a novel and you come across it you will know what it means.
Then once you’ve seen enough examples of them, you should start to get a feel for when you can use them yourself.