Quest For Japan Logo-Ver7

Basic Japanese : Japanese honorific titles in text

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

Many of Japanese honorific titles in text are the same as ones in speech.
However, “sama” or “dono” is much more often used in text, especially for address.
Maybe it’s because a writer is in the distance.
In a letter, use the same title as one in speech.
When I write a letter to my friend whom I always call with “san”, I use “sama” for address and “san” in the letter.

If you are writing a formal letter to a person with a social status like a medical doctor, then you’d better use the business title.
More details will be in the next post.

Japanese honorific titles in text

Sama

Sama

  • “Sama” is the most common and probably the safest to use for address when you know the person’s name.

Dono

Dono

  • Sometimes seen, but not so general as “sama”.
  • Some say that:
    “Dono” is used to lower ranking people and less respectful than “sama”.
    Also, this comes with titles at office like “buchou dono” (“buchou” means the head of the department).

Kun or Chan

Kun

- Kun -

 

Chan

- Chan -

 

  • To a little child.
    “Kun” for a boy, “chan” for a girl, usually.
  • I suppose it’s common to use the same title in text as one in speech to a child.
    If you call the child only by name, then you should choose “kun”, “chan” or “san” for address.
    Use “sama” when you are not sure what to choose.

Shi or Fujin

Shi and fujin

  • More often seen in texts like interviews or (Japanese-translated) novels.
    For example, “Mrs Hudson” in Sherlock Holmes is usually translated as “Hadoson fujin” in Japanese.Holmes DVD

“Yobi-sute” (calling only by name)

  • Chiefly used to the common people in texts like newspaper articles.
    This can be used to a person with a social title, in a column for instance, with the phrase “Honorific titles are omitted” in the end of the text.

On-chuu

On-chuu

  • “On-chuu” is literally “the inside (with respect)”.
    “On” is for respect (the same kanji character for “o” or “go”) and “chuu” means “inside”.
    So, this means “to the person in charge inside (with respect)”.
  • Only used for address when you don’t know the name whom you are writing to, like when you are writing to a customer service in a company.
  • Its pronunciation is similar to “on chew”, although its intonation is a little different.

For a reply envelope / postcard

You may receive a self-addressed (stamped) envelope / postcard or “oufuku hagaki” (return postcard) in Japan.
“Oufuku hagaki” is a double-sized postcard folded in the middle: One-half is a usual card and the other-half is a reply card.

In any cases, you may find a character “yuki”, which means “to”, after the person’s name in a reply address.
The sender generally use “yuki” for a self-addressed card, because using “sama” or “on-chuu” with the sender’s own name does not fit to the Japanese culture of modesty.
And it is not polite for a receiver to send a reply with “yuki” instead of a title.
So, it’s a custom that the receiver strikes it out and add a proper title: Usually “sama” for a person and “on-chuu” for a company or something.

Yuki to Sama

- Reply to a person -
When the address is written vertically.
The red character is "yuki".

Yuki to Onchuu

- Reply to a company -
When the address is written horizontally.
The red character is "yuki".

If you see only the person’s (or company’s) name without any characters for a title in address, just add “sama” (or “on-chuu”) after the name.

Next : Japanese business titles

 

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

#Japanese honorific titles (1:Formal) (2:Casual) (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:

Hyaku

Basic Japanese : Numbers in Japanese from eleven to hundreds (and Zero)

Numbers in Japanese : Zero and over ten to hundreds Zero and from 11 to 999. Zero in Japanese “Zero” or “Rei”. “Zero” from English, and “Rei” from Chinese. The pronunciation of “rei” is almost the same as English “lay”. Both are very commonly used, and generally considered as the same meaning. In fact, they […]

Read Article

Red paper, blue paper

Japanese urban legends – Part 2 –

“Toshi densetsu” : Japanese urban legends (2) In this post, there are only two Japanese urban legends. The main topic is a Japanese toilet.   Yume (Dream) A high school girl had a nightmare that she was mangled by a psychopath with his knife on the way home from her school. It was so vivid […]

Read Article

Aiueo 3

Basic Japanese : Old Japanese Alphabets

Old Japanese Alphabets or Historical Japanese Alphabets The two red characters in “gojyuu-on” and “iroha-uta” are out of use now. Both characters had their own sounds consisting of a consonant and a vowel, but each of them changed into the same sound as a vowel which has a similar sound. Although they couldn’t be distinguished […]

Read Article

Japanese Number List 2

Basic Japanese : Numbers – Minor one to ten in Japanese

One to ten in Japanese 2 In this post, I’m going to write minor version of one to ten in Japanese. I doubt if this is introduced in Japanese textbooks for foreign people. This is still used, but rather rare I guess. Also, it’s less favourable in the formal conversations or texts. Minor ways to […]

Read Article

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

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

daiso japan

Go Shopping at a 100 Yen Shop

I’m sure many of those who have been to Japan would agree that one of the places that got them spend money are 100 yen shops. These are shops that sell items that mostly cost 100 yen exclusive of tax. The items range from food to housewares to accessories, or in other words, there’s a […]

Read Article

Number List 5

Basic Japanese : Trivia about numbers in Japanese

The final post about numbers in Japanese. Number over quadrillion Numbers over “chou” (trillion to quadrillion) are quite rarely used. You may hear the following unit “kei” sometimes, but numbers over the unit “kei” won’t be seen in usual life. I’ve never seen it myself even in the news and I actually can’t name units […]

Read Article

Neko tan

Basic Japanese : Casual Japanese honorific titles

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 […]

Read Article

Masakado

Mystery tour: Taira no Masakado – Part 1 –

Roll up for the mystery tour! This one can be categorized as an urban legend as well. Masakado no Kubi-zuka (The burial mound for Masakado’s head)   Quick History Taira no Masakado is said to be one of the Big Three Onryou (vengeful spirit) in Japan. There are some novels about Masakado, and “Teito Monogatari” […]

Read Article

Sponsored Links

Leave a Reply

Sponsored Links

  • Google+
    InstagramInstagram
PAGE TOP ↑