My Question to Foreiners

My Question No. 2: 丁寧なつもりの不謹慎 Polite or Rude on This Manner

Today, I read a book again for the first time in years that was about a Japanese question for foreigners .

Question: Would it be sort of impolite to say "he" or "she" to refer to a person in front of you?
質問: 目の前の人物について「彼」または「彼女」と言うのは失礼な感じになるのでしょうか。

For example, like the following situation.

While waiting outside a shop for a friend shopping for something inside, a gentleman passing by asked you where a museum was.

But you were really not familiar with the neighborhood.

Then, your friend came out of the shop and you asked your friend where it was, like that "He's looking for the museum. Do you know where it is?"
その時、その友人がお店から出てきたのであなたは“He's looking for the museum. Do you know where it is?”というように場所をその友人に尋ねました。

I wonder if I shouldn't use the words "he" or "she".

In the book, an American mentioned like - It is not rude to use "he" or "she" especially when you do not know the person's name that you are addressing.

- A more polite way to say it would be, "This gentleman is looking for the museum. Do you know where is is?", while a British was saying; "he" would sound rude if the man were there. If the name is not known, avoid referring to the person.
もっと丁寧な方法は、"This gentleman is looking for the museum. Do you know where it is?"のように言うことです。一方であるイギリス人は言っています。本人が目の前にいるならheは失礼だと思う。分からないのであれば、その人のことを言うのは避けるべきだ。

Would someone have any idea on this?

v(*^U^*)v Thank you for reading♪

★*:;;;;;:* Thank you for your answers, peoples from other countries! *:;;;;;:*★


Ms A
Sounds like a very interesting question! I don't think that it is uncommon to use "he" or "she" in front of the person you are talking about, like that man that was looking for the museum. And "gentleman" sounds overly formal for this kind of situation, unless you are used to saying that. I'm thinking a nice middle ground might just be "This man is looking for the museum..." I might just ask my teacher what he thinks about this kind of situation next week :)

Mr. B
Definitely not rude to use he or she in this situation. Saying this man or this gentleman works just as well, too. I think it might be a bit hard to be rude in English unless you use bad language, insult the person, or be "too familiar" when you just met a person. Then again, those are just my thoughts^^

Ms. C
Great entry! I think "gentlemen" sounds more formal than "man". However, I don't think "man" is rude ^^; It depends on the situation. If you work at an office, or bank, using "gentlemen" or "lady" is good. Outside on the streets, "man" sounds a little more natural I think.

I wonder how you would say "This gentleman is looking for the museum" in Japanese.. XD

Ms. D
Perhaps in British English it's proper to say "this gentleman," but don't say that in American's old-fashioned.

It's not rude to say "he" in that story...

- The rest is omitted. -



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