How to say sorry when you want to apologize to your friends in Japanese?

I borrowed a set of manga comics from my Japanese friend but unfortunately, I accidentally spilt coffee over one of the books. He said it was okay but I felt terrible as it was a limited edition series. How do I say “sorry” to him in Japanese?

Answer by Japanese teacher


(Masculine speech)
Hontooni gomen.
I’m really sorry.

(2) 本当(ほんとう)にごめんね。(Feminine speech)
Hontooni gomen ne.
I’m really sorry.


It is indeed an unfortunate accident. When we want to say sorry, we usually say “sumimasen”.
However, since you are friends, you can use the more casual version “gomen”. “Gomen” comes from “ごめんなさい gomennasai” which also means “sorry”.
If you are female, you can add “ne” after the expression for a feminine speech.
If you feel that apologies are not sufficient to express your feelings and you want to ask for forgiveness, please check out our next Q&A on this topic.