Recently a certain greeting has become popular over Twitter in Japan. According to internet legend these two sentences will cause someone from Osaka to “punch you in the face.”

It sounded like an outrageous claim and yet people seem to be latching onto it. The story goes that by approaching someone from Osaka with “Heee, Kimitte Osaka Hito nanda. Yoroshikudenganamangana” will cause them to lose their minds with rage.

Has this Twitter user stumbled upon an exposed nerve in the fabric of Japanese society, or is this just another drop in the bucket of specious internet claims? We conducted a small experiment to find out.

■ The People
First we may need to explain what makes people from Osaka unique. This area has roots as a merchant town full of wheelers and dealers. Unlike the other, more reserved parts of Japan, it’s a place where people are quick with a joke and will light up your smoke, but also won’t hesitate to tell you you’re full of crap if the situation dictates.

This environment of jovial straight-shooters has also laid the fertile earth to grow a unique variation of the Japanese language known as Osaka-ben. This dialect has a much heavier sound than other forms of Japanese especially when used by older people. The best English comparisons that spring to mind are a Cockney accent like Dick Van Dyke in Marry Poppins, or a New York resident as heard in any movie circa 1940.

■ The Language
It’s also a dialect that is often misunderstood and misused by people in other parts of Japan. So approaching someone with “Heee, Kimitte Osaka Hito nanda. Yoroshikudenganamangana” is as out of touch as saying the following:

“Oi Gubna! From London are ye? Cheerio, Bob’s yer uncle!”
“Gee Mister, yous from New York aincha? Fuhgeddaboudit! How ya doin’?”
“G’day mate! From Sydney? Put another shrimp on the barbie.”
“Oh you’re from Toronto? … … …[coughs]”

Actually it’s a little bit worse. A more common way to express this greeting would be “Ano, anatawa Osakajin desuka? Yoroshiku onegaishimasu!” which might translate to “Oh, you’re from Osaka? Nice to meet you!” However, certain older styles of Osaka-ben would corrupt the verb “desu” (to be) to “dengana” and the verb suffix “-masu” to “mangana.” These terms have pretty much fallen out of use in Osaka now but you might occasionally hear some drunk old men yelling them on street corners from time to time.

So factoring that in, the phrase “Heee, Kimitte Osaka Hito nanda. Yoroshikudenganamangana” would translate to something even more nonsensical like “Hey! You one of them Osaka people right? How be ya doin aincha know?”

So now we have a sense of what the phrase means. But like the original tweet claims, is it really enough to trigger a flash of emotion in people of Osaka typically reserved for when tomatoes are on sale, three for 100 yen?

■ The Experiment
Most of our Japanese staff is made up of writers from Kanto (the region of Japan where Tokyo is located). They weren’t sure about the validity of these claims so they began to carry out an experiment to see Osaka people’s reactions to the magic greeting.

The method was simple, our writer P.K. Sanjun would send a Line message to five Osaka people using the aforementioned greeting. The reason he used Line was to ensure that he was out of arm’s reach if the claims turned out to be true.

First he sent a message to Test Subject T.

P.K.: “Heee, Kimitte Osaka Hito nanda. Yoroshikudenganamangana”
Subject T: “Denga…gana”
Subject T: “I don’t get it.”

Subject T appeared to not understand the greeting at all. However, Osaka is known for its comedy duos. P.K. suspected Subject T might have instinctively assumed the role of straight man and teed up P.K. for a punchline to what he assumed would be a joke.

Next was Test Subject E.

P.K.: “Heee, Kimitte Osaka Hito nanda. Yoroshikudenganamangana”
Subject E: “Kochirakoso Yoroshikumannendennen.” (Nice to meet you too fo sho ain’t it.)

Subject E on the other hand came back with an equally gibberish filled response topped off with a cheery smiley-face. Far from being angry, it seemed that both subjects just tried to go along with the joke, even without fully understanding it. However, they were both younger people. P.K. decided to try it on an older Osaka woman next.

P.K.: “Heee, Kimitte Osaka Hito nanda. Yoroshikudenganamangana”
Subject: “Kochirakoso Yoroshiku Denganamanganaganagana.”
Subject: “Hey, wait a second!”
Subject: “That’s not Osaka. That’s Kobe!”

It was beginning to look like this greeting had no affect on people in Osaka whatsoever, but there were still two more subjects. Next P.K. sent a private message to fellow RocketNews24 writer Meg who was born in Osaka. They actually only work a few meters away from each other, but P.K. still wasn’t convinced he was out of harm’s way.

P.K.: “Heee, Kimitte Osaka Hito nanda. Yoroshikudenganamangana”
Meg: “That’s riiiiight! Yoroshikudenganamangana straight up!”

Again, nothing but smiles and jokes. However, this subject which P.K. saved for last was known to be a live wire.

P.K.: “Heee, Kimitte Osaka Hito nanda. Yoroshikudenganamangana”
Subject: “I’ll kick your ass!”

“Gya!” gasped P.K. and he instinctively tossed his smartphone out the window. After realizing that was a pointless move and fetching his device, our writer tallied his results.

Osaka people angered by the greeting = 20%
Osaka people amused by it = 80%

So it would appear that the words themselves have little effect. However, one shortcoming of the experiment was that P.K. delivered the message by text, leaving those on the receiving end to interpret the tone of it. If one was to say the same sentence to an Osaka native with a certain air of arrogance, they may still very-well get their bell rung.

And doncha foiget it ya rummies!

Source: Twitter @nokingdomhearts
Images: RocketNews24
Original article by P.K. Sanjun

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