Languages › Japanese Conversation Openers and Fillers in Japanese Share Flipboard Email Print Kohei Hara/Getty Images Japanese Japanese Grammar History & Culture Essential Japanese Vocabulary By Namiko Abe Japanese Language Expert B.A., Kwansei Gakuin University Namiko Abe is a Japanese language teacher and translator, as well as a Japanese calligraphy expert. She has been a freelance writer for nearly 20 years. our editorial process Namiko Abe Updated February 25, 2020 In conversations, openers and fillers are used quite often. They don't always have specific meanings. Openers are used as signals that you are about to say something or to smooth communication. Fillers are usually used for pauses or hesitation. As with Japanese, English also has similar expressions such as "so," "like," "you know," and so on. When you have the opportunity to hear native speakers' conversation, listen carefully and examine how and when they are used. Here are some openers and fillers frequently used. Marking a New Topic Sore deそれで So Deで So (informal) Saying Something Off Topic Tokorodeところで By the way Hanashi wa chigaimasu ga話が違いますが To change the subject Hanashi chigau kedo話、違うけど To change the subject (informal) Adding to the Current Topic Tatoebaたとえば For example Iikaereba言い換えれば In other words Souiebaそういえば Speaking of Gutaiteki ni iu to具体的に言うと More concretely Returning to the Main Topic Jitsu wa 実は -> The fact is ~, To tell the truth Shortening the Preliminary Topics Sassoku desu ga さっそくですが -> May I come straight to the point? Introducing Someone or Something You Have Just Noticed A, Aa, Ara あ､ああ､あら "ara" is mainly used by female speakers. Note: "Aa" can also be used to show that you understand. Hesitation Sounds Ano, Anouあの､あのう Used to get the listener's attention. Eetoええと Let me see ... Eeええ Uhh ... Maaまあ Well, say ... Asking for Repetition Eえ(with a rising intonation) What? Haaはあ(with a rising intonation) What? (informal) Umi no mizu wa naze karai - Learn from a Story Most Common Sentence Ending Particles in Japanese Sentences (2) Writing Japanese New Year's Cards How to Use the Conditional Form "~Ba" in Japanese What Does Iiyo Mean in Japanese? Sentence Ending Particles in Japanese Particle (Bakari) Ubasute yama - Learn from a Story "Happy Halloween" in Japanese Expressions Used in Letters The Tanabata Festival in Japan and the Tanabata Story Japanese Folk Tales & Mukashi Banashi Celebrating Father's Day in Japanese Culture How to Say "Want" or "Desire" in Japanese The Conditional "Nara" and the Song "Shiawase Nara Te o Tatakou" Japanese Lesson: Particles "O" and "No"