Why do Koreans say Moshi Moshi?

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Have you ever heard the phrase “Moshi Moshi” before? If you’re a fan of Japanese culture, then you might recognize it as a common greeting used when answering the phone. But did you know that this phrase has made its way into Korean culture as well? In this blog post, we’ll take a closer look at why Koreans say “Moshi Moshi” and what it means to them.

Why do Koreans say Moshi Moshi?

The Origins of “Moshi Moshi”

To understand why Koreans say “Moshi Moshi,” we need to go back to its origins in Japan. In Japanese, “Moshi Moshi” is written as もしもし, which is a phonetic rendering of the English phrase “hello.” The phrase is believed to have originated in the early 20th century, when the telephone was first introduced to Japan. At the time, people were unsure of how to greet each other over the phone, and “Moshi Moshi” became a popular way to answer calls.

In Korea, the phrase is written as 모시모시, and it is used in a similar way as in Japan. When answering the phone, Koreans will often say “Moshi Moshi” as a way of greeting the person on the other end of the line. However, the origins of the phrase in Korea are a bit different from those in Japan.

The Use of “Moshi Moshi” in Korean Culture

In Korea, “Moshi Moshi” is primarily used as a way of answering the phone. However, the phrase has also taken on a more nuanced meaning in Korean culture. When someone says “Moshi Moshi” in Korea, they are not just greeting the person on the other end of the line; they are also signaling that they are ready to have a conversation.

In Korean culture, there is a strong emphasis on respect and hierarchy, particularly when it comes to interactions with older people or those in positions of authority. Saying “Moshi Moshi” is a way of acknowledging the other person’s presence and showing that you are ready to listen to them. This is particularly important in business contexts, where showing respect and deference to one’s superiors is highly valued.

The Role of Technology in the Spread of “Moshi Moshi”

One of the reasons why “Moshi Moshi” has become such a widespread phrase in Korea is the influence of technology. As smartphones and other mobile devices have become increasingly popular in Korea, people have become more accustomed to using “Moshi Moshi” as a way of answering calls. This is partly because many Koreans use Japanese phones, which often have “Moshi Moshi” written on the screen when a call comes in.

In addition to its use on the phone, “Moshi Moshi” has also become a popular phrase in Korean messaging apps and social media. It is often used as a way of signaling that you are ready to start a conversation or that you are acknowledging someone else’s message.

The Cultural Significance of “Moshi Moshi”

In both Japan and Korea, “Moshi Moshi” has taken on a cultural significance beyond its literal meaning. For many people, it is a way of signaling that they are ready to engage in conversation and that they value the other person’s presence. In a society that places a strong emphasis on respect and hierarchy, saying “Moshi Moshi” is a way of showing that you are willing to listen to the other person’s perspective.

Moreover, “Moshi Moshi” is a reflection of the cultural values and traditions of Korea. It is a reminder of the importance of respect and hierarchy, which are crucial components of Korean culture. Saying “Moshi Moshi” is not just a way of answering the phone but a way of showing respect and acknowledging the other person’s presence.

The Future of “Moshi Moshi”

As technology continues to shape the way we communicate, it’s likely that “Moshi Moshi” will continue to play a significant role in Korean culture . With the rise of virtual communication and remote work, the use of “Moshi Moshi” in messaging apps and video calls may become even more important. It serves as a way of signaling that you are present and engaged, even when you are not physically in the same room as the other person.


While the origins of “Moshi Moshi” may be rooted in the early days of the telephone, its cultural significance has grown over time. In Korea, the phrase has taken on a nuanced meaning that reflects the country’s cultural values of respect and hierarchy. Whether it’s on the phone or in a messaging app, saying “Moshi Moshi” is a way of showing that you are ready to engage with the other person and that you respect their presence.

As technology continues to evolve and shape our communication habits, it’s interesting to see how phrases like “Moshi Moshi” can take on new meanings and become part of our cultural lexicon. In Korea, the phrase has become a way of signaling respect, readiness, and willingness to engage in conversation, and it’s likely to remain a part of the country’s cultural fabric for years to come.

Why do Koreans say Moshi Moshi?
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