Quest For Japan Logo-Ver7

Basic Japanese : Casual Japanese honorific titles

Date Published: Last Update:2015/03/09 Others , , , , ,

The following titles are commonly used casual Japanese honorific titles and very rarely used titles.
Never ever use any of these to higher ranking people or your customers unless you are very close to the person.
If you are not so sure which title to use to somebody, the person’s family name with “san” is probably the best choice to an adult or a girl.

To a little child, the child’s first name with “chan” (or “kun” to a little boy) is the most common, I guess.

Casual Japanese honorific titles in speech

Kun

Kun

  • Generally used to a male. Some men use this to a female as well.
  • At office, some may call the same (or lower) ranking men with this title.
    At school, usually boys are called with “kun”, girls with “san”.

Chan

Chan

  • Chiefly used to a small child.
  • This may be used to an adult (usually female) who the speaker has a close feeling.
  • In a Japanese police drama “Aibou” (lit. “Partners”), a female character “Hinako”, who is a member of the House of Representatives, is always called as “Hina chan” by her late father’s fellow politician.
    Of course she wasn’t happy about it, and later she demanded him to stop calling her like that.
  • In a Japanese manga “Tsuri-baka nisshi” (lit. “Diary of fishing freak(s)”), a protagonist Densuke Hamasaki is called as “Hama chan”.
  • The family name of Tomas Hubocan, a Slovakian footballer, is pronunced as “Fubo chan” in Japanese.
    I guess many Japanese (including me) can’t help having a kind of familiar feeling to him just because of his family name.
    In fact, a Japanese commentary once said so on TV when he heard the player’s name.

“Yobi-sute” (calling somebody without “san” or anything after the name)

  • In Japan, it is quite probable to be considered rather rude or arrogant to call somebody’s name only unless you are very close to the person (like family).
  • Having said that, some Japanese call non-Japanese with the first name without “san” or equivalent even at work.
    This is perhaps because they believe that it is more usual for non-Japanese to be called like that.
    Personally, I feel rather awkward to hear a Japanese calling a foreigner without “san” in Japanese at office because it’s not very polite.
    My Japanese friend in England once told me that Japanese students, who stayed at her house, kept calling her English husband only by name in Japanese, and she wasn’t very pleased.
  • At school, probably many boys call the other boys just by name when they are classmates or underclass students.

 

“Otaku-ish” (nerdy) Japanese honorific titles in speech

Quite rarely used in front of other people.
I’ve never heard of anybody using any of these except in fictions. Better avoid using in public if you are an adult.

Tan

Tan

  • It’s a lispy version of “chan”.
    So, small children might say this instead of “chan”.
  • Some male “otaku” use this for their favourite female characters or “idol”.
    (“Idol” in Japan is a (young) good-looking star / starlet (usually without a proper talent as a musician or an actor / actress).)
  • Personally, this has more “moe” impression.
    “Moe” is a (“otaku”) slang to express strong one-way affection, passion or desire to somebody / something.
    For instance, “neko tan” (“neko” means “cat” in Japanese) would give stronger excited feeling of the user than “neko chan”.

    Neko tan

    - Neko tan!! -
    Photo from Pakutaso

Chin

Chin

  • A short version of “chan” (in Japanese, “chan” has three characters and “chin” has two), but not general.
  • I feel this is less used than “tan”, although I actually used this when I called my LOVELY dog (not in public, of course).
  • In a Japanese manga entitled “Seishun shonbori kurabu” (lit. “Adolescent crestfallen club”), there is a boy who uses this to girls with their first names.
    He is accepted probably because he is a kind of joker and (most importantly) good-looking.
    (And it’s a fiction anyway.)

    Seishun shonbori kurabu

    - "Seishun shonbori kurabu" -
    The character on the left is the boy who uses "chin".

Next : Japanese honorific titles in text

 

Related posts: #“I” in Japanese (1) (2) (3)

#Japanese honorific titles (1:Formal) (3:In text) (4:Business titles)

The following two tabs change content below.

kara

A Japanese living in Okayama. A proud "Otaku"! Loves animals, snacks, manga, games (PC, iPad, Nintendo DS, PSP), foreign TV dramas, traveling and football (soccer).

Sponsored Links

  • Pocket
  • 1 follow us in feedly

Related Article/s:

Japanese Number List 1

Basic Japanese : Numbers – General one to ten in Japanese

How to say one to ten in Japanese There are (more than) two ways for general counting. The one that is supposed to originate in China and the other is (probably) Japanese original. Now, the Chinese one is commonly used. The most common Japanese for one to ten With Kanji characters, their sounds should have […]

Read Article

Itadaki masu image

Basic Japanese : “Itadaki masu” – Phrase before meal

When I watch foreign TV dramas, I sometimes see Christian people praying before meal. It seems that the prayer is to appreciate God who have given them food. In Japan, maybe Christians do the same, but I guess most of people say certain phrases before and after dinner instead of a prayer. If you love […]

Read Article

Kitano Tenman-guu 2

Go west : Tenman-guu to console Michizane

“Kitano Tenman-guu” in Kyoto to console Michizane In 942, Michizane’s spirit showed up before a girl from a poor family in Kyoto and ordered to build a shrine for him in “Ukon no baba” (“hippodrome controlled by the right guard office”), the place where he often visited during his life. Of course she didn’t have […]

Read Article

Samurai

Basic Japanese : Historical “I” in Japanese

Old-fashioned / historical “I” in Japanese The following “I” pronouns are well-known and can be quite often heard / seen in historical stories especially those which are set in the Edo period. But, these are rarely used in the present time. Neutral [Temae] “Temae” literally means “before hand(s)”. The near side of someone / something. […]

Read Article

Aiueo 1

Basic Japanese : Japanese Alphabetical orders – “Gojyuu-on” and “Iroha-uta”

General Info : Japanese Alphabetical orders There are two patterns of Japanese Alphabetical orders. One starts with “A”, “I”, “U”. This is now used at school to learn Japanese Alphabets, Hiragana and Katakana. Known as “Gojyuu-on” (lit. “fifty sounds”). The other starts with “I”, “Ro”, “Ha”. Probably this was more commonly used before. Known as […]

Read Article

Lady saying "Arigatou"

Basic Japanese : “Arigatou” – “Thank you” in Japanese

There are several ways of saying “Thank you” in Japanese. In this post, I am going to explain the most common phrase for “Thank you”. Arigatou (gozai masu / mashita) The phrase was derived from “Arigatashi”, which literally means “difficult to be”. The Kanji in “ari” means “there is” or “be (there)”, and another in […]

Read Article

Dazaifu 06

Go west : Sugawara no Michizane – Legends

There are mysterious legends around Sugawara no Michizane. Most of them are episodes after he was framed by his political enemy. Michizane and the flying plum tree This legend is very well-known along with the following poem. The night before he left his home in Kyoto, the capital at that time, he composed a poem […]

Read Article

Tsukudo shrine

Mystery tour: Taira no Masakado – Part 2 –

Barrier for Masakado? There are seven main shrines (including “Kubi-zuka”) for Masakado. They are said to have been built to seal the powerful spirit of Masakado as well as to make use of it. [1. Torigoe shrine] It is not officially admitted, but this shrine is said to be the place where Masakado’s hand(s?) is […]

Read Article

Akatsuki no Yona

Basic Japanese : Formal Japanese honorific titles

At first, I was going to write about how to say “you” in Japanese, but the most common “you” word is a person’s name usually with suffix like “san”, “kun”, or “chan”. (ex. Hanako-san) This way of calling is used as third person as well. In this post, I’m trying to explain the variants and […]

Read Article

Inogashira park

Japanese urban legends – Part 3 –

“Toshi densetsu” : Japanese urban legends (3) Mary-san (Ms. Mary) A girl had an old Western doll and called it “Mary”. When her family moved to another place, she disposed it because it was old. One night, a telephone rang at her new home. The girl got it, then heard the voice saying, “Hello, I’m […]

Read Article

Sponsored Links

Leave a Reply

Sponsored Links

  • Google+
    InstagramInstagram
PAGE TOP ↑