24 thoughts on “Japanese Honorifics: Formal & Informal Japanese Name Suffixes

  1. Hi, I am Japanese and there were some things that I wanted to point out.
    You can use -chan when you calling your relatives, for example kachan(which is casual way to say mother, but usually used by little boy). However, you cannot call adult female or male with their name using -chan or -kun.
    I think it’ll be easy if you think that -chan and -kun can be only used for children or teenagers.
    If you use -chan or -kun to adults, it is considered to be awkward and rude.

    One more thing, -bo was used for little boy long time ago. If you watch some Japanese movies about old time in Japan, it might be used, but I don’t listen people using -bo at all anymore.
    Some people might use -bo as a nickname, but it’s not really common.

    I hope this helps y’all learning Japanese honorifics, thank you.

      1. This is completely wrong advise….. I am an American married to a Japanese woman and have a Japanese family. I have friends all over the country and travel as a musician. “Chan” is used ALL THE TIME to refer to ADULT females. I call my wife Mitsue-chan and it means “My sweet girl” or My little girl or My little loved one and MY FRIENDS call my wife Mitsue-chan because she is YOUNGER than them, and they are close friends AND it is because I call her that. In return because THEY call my wife Mitsue-chan I CALL there wife THE SAME. Yuko-chan. Adult males are refered to by KUN at work as a fond way of referring to somebody UNDER you. Masahiko-kun could be used to refer to my Vice-President if I am the President of the company. Not sure what Japanese Island you live on….. I live on a completely different one.

  2. Is it weird that I learned and knew what the honorifics meant by only watching anime? I only came here to make sure lol

    1. No, I am here for the same reason. I thought to myself “I wonder if I have figured out all these honorifics yet” and came here to confirm. I had indeed, just as you have, learned them solely through anime.

    2. Same, I learned almost all of them from anime or manga, mainly anime. It’s not weird, a lot of people learn just from anime and i’m writing a story about Naruto right now so I came here to know what to write

    3. Likewise, with anime as my main source of learning. I actually wanted to make sure I used them right in, of all things, the Azur Lane game. As I wed various shipgirls, I’m giving them custom names. When I get to Ayanami, Akagi, Kaga, Nagato, Takao, and Yuudachi, I’m thinking of giving them nicknames ending in -chan (like Aka-chan or Yuu-chan) and wanted to check on the usage. 🙂

  3. Thank you for your contribution! It is a good intro to jpn honorifics, but I wonder if you (or anyone) could help me with something specific.

    I’m writing a fic and am trying to figure out a way, how to address someone who is (kind of) your uncle, but also your teacher. They aren’t related by blood, since the kid (a boy) is adopted, and the teacher isn’t a blood relative of either of the parents, but they are all very close. The parents live away from their families and have this strong support group of friends that are really more like their family, especially another couple that they are close with. It’s one of those little, dysfunctional, but warm and welcoming families that don’t get enough support in life.

    Obviously kid calls his teacher sensei in most official and public settings, and adds -san when they have outings and stuff to address him when they talk, and they’re on formal speech, but I’m looking at some kind of subtle difference, a detail that would denote that sensei is a bit more than that, maybe something kid can call him in his head. Got something for me?

  4. Thank you! This helps a lot. I writing anime fanfiction at the moment and I couldnt quite figure out what prefixes to use.

  5. Ok. But what about for anyone younger than you? Like a cousin or sibling or in some cases a younger aunt and uncle. Would the honorifics still be the same or does that change?

  6. We are an American company who has been purchases by a large Japanese company. 2 executives are now going to have offices here. San seems too familiar to use and sama too much. Is there a recommendation?

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  8. This is the MOST helpful Honorifics Explaination I’ve found! Thank you so much, this has probably helped me more than any of the other websites I’ve visited. 😀

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