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:

Iroha 11

Basic Japanese : “Iroha-uta”, line by line – Part 2 –

The rest of “Iroha-uta”, line by line Line 3 From a Buddhism thought, “Free from living and dying(, by entering Nirvana)”. [First half] Meaning: The deep mountain called life, “Ui” is also a Buddhism word. It means “every thing and phenomenon which comes from various karma(, always lives and dies and never lasts forever)”. Some […]

Read Article

Kyoto Gosho

Go west : Sugawara no Michizane strikes back

After Michizane’s death in 903, people, who were involved with the conspiracy to frame him, died in a mysterious death one after another. Also, there were natural disasters in Kyoto. Victims of vengeance by Sugawara no Michizane Year: Person 906: Fujiwara no Sadakuni (Age: 40) 908: Fujiwara no Sugane (Age: 53) He reported to the […]

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

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

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

Vowing Man

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

“Thank you” in Japanese other than “Arigatou” “Arigatou (gozai masu)” is the common phrase, but there are other phrases for “Thank you” in Japanese. Sumimasen The phrase is also very common and frequently heard in Japan. (Maybe more often used than “Arigatou”). This has several meanings : “I’m sorry.” “Excuse me.” “Thank you (and I’m […]

Read Article

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

"I" attack

Basic Japanese : How to say “I” in Japanese – Part 1 –

In Japanese, there are many ways to call yourself. Here, I’m trying to explain the differences of each word, but please note they are my own personal impressions and other Japanese may not feel the same way. The word “I” in Japanese Although we have many words for “I”, it is frequently omitted. If you […]

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

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

Sponsored Links

Leave a Reply

Sponsored Links

  • Google+
    InstagramInstagram
PAGE TOP ↑