In Japan, once talking around other people, one supplies honorific titlesafter their name. The most common title is mountain (さん). That meansall of "Mr", "Mrs", "Miss", and "Ms." grandfather Tanaka is referred to asTanaka-san, as is mrs Tanaka, and their unmarried daughter. Othercommon titles encompass sama (様), a an ext polite variation ofsan, sensei (先生), for teachers, kun andchan. This titles likewise come after ~ the name.

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Correct use of titles is very important in Japan. Calling someone byjust your name, without including a title, is a form of bad manners,called yobisute (呼び捨て).

Although titles are usually included to people"s names, there space someexceptions. They room not provided when talking around a household member, oranother member that one"s "in-group", to who from outside thegroup. At work, Ms. Shimizu call her ceo "Tanaka san" as soon as she talksto him, or about him to various other people. But when she speak to a customerfrom external their company, she calls him simply "Tanaka".

Common honorific titles


San (さん) is the most common honorific title. Mountain issimilar to "Mr", "Ms.", "Mrs", and so on. Over there is no kanji form forsan, it"s created in hiragana.

San may likewise be used with a properties of a person. Abookseller could be hon"ya-san (本屋さん), "Mr. Bookseller". Aforeigner can be referred to as gaijin-san (外人さん). (Seealso Is gaijin a derogatory term?)

San is additionally used when talking about entities together ascompanies. For example, the workplaces or shop that a company calledKojima denki could be described as Kojima Denki-san byanother adjacent company. This may be viewed on the little maps frequently usedin call books and business cards in Japan, whereby the names ofsurrounding suppliers are written making use of san.

San is likewise applied to part kinds of foods. Because that example, fishused for food preparation are periodically referred to together sakana-san (魚さん).

Both san and its an ext formal equivalent, sama, implyfamiliarity. In formal decided or writing, thetitle shi might be preferred.


Kun (君) is informal and also mostly offered for males, such as boys orjuniors at work. It is offered by superiors to inferiors, through males ofthe exact same age and status to each other, and also in addressing malechildren. In company settings junior females may likewise be handle askun through superiors.

Schoolteachers typically attend to male students utilizing kun, whilefemale students room addressed as san or chan.

In the Diet that Japan, diet members and ministers are called kunby the chairpersons. Because that example, Junichiro Koizumi is calledKoizumi Jun"ichirō kun. However, when Takako Doi, a woman, wasthe chairperson the the reduced house, she offered the san title.


Schwarzenegger AKA Shuwa-chan

Chan (ちゃん) is a kind of san provided to refer to childrenand female family members members, close friends and lovers. The readjust fromsan to chan is a type of "baby talk" in Japanese where "sh"sounds space turned right into "ch" sounds, such as chitchai forchiisai, "small".

Chan is additionally used for adults who are taken into consideration to be kawaii(cute or loveable). For example, Arnold Schwarzenegger obtained thenickname Shuwa-chan (シュワちゃん).

Chan is sometimes used to male kids if the surname does notfit through the kun suffix. For example, a boy dubbed Tetsuyamay be nicknamed Tetchan rather than Tekkun for reasons moreto perform with phonetics than anything else.

Although that is usually said that honorifics room not used tooneself, some women refer to themselves in the third person usingchan. For example, a young woman called Maki might callherself Maki-chan quite than using a very first person pronoun likewatashi. Chan is additionally used because that pets and also animals, together asusagi-chan. (See additionally What space the personal pronouns that Japanese?)

In the same way that chan is a version of san, over there is alsochama (ちゃま) indigenous sama. Other variations that chaninclude chin (ちん), and also tan (たん).

Senpai and also Kōhai

Senpai and also kōhai

Senpai (先輩) is used by college student to refer to or resolve seniorstudents in an scholastic or other finding out environment, or in athleticsand sports clubs, and also in company settings to refer to those inmore an elderly positions. Kōhai (後輩) is the reverse of this. Itis offered to refer to or resolve juniors.


Sensei (先生) is used to refer to or address teachers, doctors,lawyers, politicians, or various other authority figures. It is additionally used toshow respect come someone that has completed a certain level that mastery insome skill. It is provided by pan of novelists, musicians, and artists.For example, Japanese manga fans refer to manga artist RumikoTakahashi as Takahashi-sensei.


Sama (様) is the formal version of san. It"s supplied inaddressing persons higher in rank than oneself, and in advertising andbusiness setups to deal with and describe customers. It likewise formsparts of collection phrases such as o-kyaku-sama (customer) oro-machidō-sama ("I am i m really sorry to keep you waiting"). Samaalso complies with the addressee"s surname on postal packages and letters.

Sama is likewise often offered for people considered to have some highability or be particularly attractive. In ~ the top of his popularity,Leonardo DiCaprio obtained the nickname Leo-sama in Japan.

Sama is likewise occasionally used about oneself, together in the arrogantmale pronoun ore-sama, "my esteemed self", an interpretation "I". However,this is not typical outside fiction or humour. (See alsoWhat room the an individual pronouns that Japanese?)


Shi (氏) is provided in official writing, and sometimes in verypolite speech, for referring to a human who is unfamiliar to thespeaker, typically a human being who the speaker has never met. Forexample, the shi title is common in the decided of newsreaders. Itis desired in legal documents, academic journals, and specific otherformal written styles due to the fact that of the familiaritywhich sanor sama imply. When a person"s namehas been offered with shi, the person can be referred to withshi alone, without the name, as long as over there is only one personbeing ad to.

Other titles

Director Yasujiro OzuOzu-kantoku

Occupation-related titles

Instead the the above general honorifics, that is relatively common come usethe name of the person"s task after the name. It is usual for sportsathletes to be referred to as surname + senshu (選手) fairly thanname + san. A master carpenter dubbed Suzuki could have the titletōryō (棟梁), definition "master carpenter", attached to his name,and be referred to as Suzuki-Tōryō rather thanSuzuki-San. Tv lawyer Kazuya Maruyama is described asMaruyama Bengoshi (丸山弁護士) (literally "Maruyama-lawyer")rather 보다 Maruyama-san.

Inside companies, it is also common come refer to human being using theircompany rank, specifically for those the a high rank, such as companypresident, shachō (社長) or various other titles together asbuchō (部長), room chief, etc.

Honorific task titles

The name of a task may have actually two versions. Because that example, "translator" perhaps hon"yakuka (翻訳家) or hon"yakusha (翻訳者). Jobtitles finishing in ka (家), definition "expert", usually indicate somekind that expertise, thus, by the rules of modesty in Japanese, lock arenot usually used for oneself. The plain form with sha (者),meaning "person", might be used by the human or in plain text, such asthe book title. Usage of the ka finishing implies respect. Similarly,judo practitioners are jūdōka (柔道家), or "judo experts", andmanga authors room mangaka (漫画家) or "manga experts".

In the instance of farmers, the old name hyakushō (百姓) (literally"one hundred surnames") is now taken into consideration offensive, and also farmers arereferred to, and also refer to us as, nōka (農家), or"farming experts".

Honorific task titles such together sensei, i beg your pardon is used to teachersand doctors, additionally have level forms. Because that example, in level language, ateacher is a kyōshi (教師) and a medical professional is one isha (医者)or ishi (医師). The polite versions are offered when addressing ortalking about the person, yet the plain creates of the work are supplied inother cases.

Dewi Fujin, "Mrs Dewi" or "Madam Dewi"


Fujin (夫人) is a title similar to "Mrs" in English, provided tospecify the wife of a couple. It often tends to be provided with persons of highstatus, such as television celebrity Dewi Fujin (デヴィ夫人),former mam of Indonesian chairman Sukarno.

Titles because that criminals and also the accused

Convicted criminals are referred to with the location hikoku (被告)instead that san. For example, Matsumoto hikoku the AumShinrikyo. Doubt awaiting attempt are referred to by the titleyōgisha (容疑者).

Titles for companies

As mentioned above, companies often referto every other"s offices informally making use of the company name plussan. In correspondence, the title onchū (御中) is added tothe company name when the letter is no addressed come a specific personin the company. Furthermore, the legal condition of the agency isusually included, either incorporated, kabushikigaisha (株式会社), or limited, yūgen gaisha (有限会社). These may beabbreviated with the kanji kabu (株) or yū (有) inbrackets.

There are additionally separate words because that "our company", heisha (弊社),which literally means "clumsy/poor company", and also "your company",kisha (貴社) or onsha (御社), definition "honouredcompany".

Organizations that administer professional services, such as law oraccounting firms, may have sha substituted through jimusho (事務所), an interpretation "office".

Dono and tono

Dono and tono, both composed "殿" in kanji, approximately mean"lord". This location is no much longer used in day-to-day conversation, despite itis still supplied in some species of written organization correspondence. That isalso seen on medicine prescriptions, certificates and also awards.


Ue (上) literally method "above" and, appropriately, denotes ahigh level of respect. When its use is no longer really common, the isstill seen in constructions favor chichi-ue (父上) andhaha-ue (母上), reverent terms for father and also mother.


Iemoto (家元) is an even an ext polite version of sensei offered for the greatest ranking persons in timeless art creates such together calligraphy or the tea ceremony.

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Titles for royalty and also others

Heika (陛下) is affixed to the end of a royal title, witha meaning similar come "Majesty". Because that example, Tennō heika (天皇陛下) method "His Majesty, the Emperor" and also Joō heika (女王陛下)means "Her Majesty, the Queen". Heika by itself can likewise be usedas a direct term of address, comparable to "Your Majesty". Denka (殿下) is affixed to the end of a royal title, witha definition similar come "Royal Highness" or "Majesty". For exampleSuwēden Ōkoku Bikutoria Kōtaishi denka (スウェーデン王国 ビクトリア皇太子殿下) "Her imperial Highness Crown Princess Victoria that theKingdom that Sweden". Kakka (閣下) means "Your Excellency" and is offered forambassadors and some heads of state.