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Japanese honorifics

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The Japanese use a broad array of honorifics for addressing or referring to people with respect. In Japan, these forms of address follow a person's name in the manner of a suffix.

Common honorificsEdit

  • -san (さん) - the most common honorific and is a title of respect, but never used as a self-reference. Identical to the English "Mr." and "Ms."
  • -kun (君,くん) - informal honorific commonly used towards males.
  • -chan (ちゃん) - informal honorific commonly used towards females and pets. See the Wikipedia section for more details.
  • -senpai (先輩) - honorific used to address senior colleagues. Roughly translates to "master" or "senior".
    • kōhai (後輩) - reverse of senpai, used towards juniors, but not used to address.
  • -sama () - a formal version of -san.
  • -sensei (先生) - a teacher, or a professional.
  • -shi () - used in formal writing or in very formal speech for referring o someone unfamiliar to the speaker.
  • -han (はん) - Kansai dialect equivalent of -san.


  • -dono/-tono (殿) - "master" or "lord", though less formal than -sama.
  • -ue () - literally "above". Although now rare, it is used in such high-level respect situations such as chichi-ue (addressing one's own father) and haha-ue (addressing one's own mother).

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