Filed under: Japan, Learn Japanese

Japanese Honorifics Guide (Part 1)

When reading manga or watching anime, we come across these things called honorifics, such as -san, -kun, -chan and much more. Most languages already use Mr, Mrs, Dr, etc. but in Japanese, it´s a bit different. For someone who doesn´t know about them or how to use them, it can become very confusing and difficult to understand. But don´t worry! Here is a guide where I´ll explain 6 common Japanese honorifics.

1. "San". It is most likely the most common honorific, as it means something like "Mr." or "Mrs". San can be used for anyone, since it is a title of respect between equals.

2. "Kun". Kun is used to address young males. It is also used by males of the same age and status.

3. "Chan". This one can be used in a lot of ways and to a lot of people, such as children, close friends or lovers. It is most commonly used for and between girls. You never use it to someone superior to you though!

4. "Sama". Sama is the more formal version of San. Usually used for somebody you greatly admire or people of higher rank than you, that sort of usage.

5. "Niisan/Neesan". Niisan or Neesan is used when referring to one´s older brother or sister. It can also be to any other relative or a close friend.

6. "Sensei". Many might think this is only used for teachers but that is a bit wrong. Sensei is for someone who basically has mastered a skill, as well as people who are experts in their fields, for example doctors.

Did you learn anything new? I really hope so! If you have a favourite honorific to use, why not share with me?

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