100 Ways To Say “You” In Japanese

You, you, you. It sometimes really is all about you. You already know 100 ways to say I. Well sometimes you can’t just talk about yourself and you actually have to engage whoever is listening to you. Luckily for you, not only can you refer to yourself in a seemingly near infinite number of ways, but you can refer to other people in just as many exciting ways.

Now I told you there were over a hundred ways to say I. You laughs at weak little I. There are hundreds of more ways to say you. You takes your status/position in society and makes it into a pronoun. This leaves room for a lot of you’s.

Since the combinations would feel endless, I’m limiting this post to 100. Feel free to add more in the comments.

Good news though. Most people just drop the use of “you” in many sentences as is often just not needed. Saves you some unnecessary stress.

But anyway, let’s get it started right.

Polite and normal

1. あなた : Considered the most harmless way to say “you.” Not to be used with parents or when showing respect. Sometimes used by wives towards their husbands.

2. そちら: Standard polite situation you. Can add 様(さま) to sound more formal.

3. 御宅(おたく): Standard polite.

Casual

4. お前(おまえ): Often used between guys who are friends. Also used by family members to other family members of lower status than them (ex. Older brother to younger brother). Originally the polite version of you. Depending on the person, considered as rude.

5. オメェ: Slang version of the above.

6. あんた: In Eastern Japan (Kanto), considered rude and insulting. In western Japan(Kinki), considered friendly and endearing.

7. お前さん(おまえさん): Similar to あんた

8. おまいさん: Variation on お前さん

9. 自分(じぶん): Means both you and I.

10. 君(きみ): Used by men to those of equal or lower status. Recently used by couples or lovers. “You” of choice in pop songs.

11. わい: Used in Kyushuu. Depending on the region, it means I and not you.

Used towards an enemy

12. てめぇ: Very common in anime and manga. Originally meant I.

13. 己(おのれ): Also originally meant I. Used often by Yakuza or by people in the middle of a fight.

14-17. おどれ、おんどれ、おどりゃ、おんどりゃ: All slang variations on おのれ.

18. 貴様(きさま): Originally polite.

19. きさん: Variation of 貴様 used in Kyushuu but not with your enemy.

20. 我(われ): Used in parts of Northern and Western Japan. Also means I.

21. わ: Same as 我

Professional Situations

The following are used towards someone who is representing a:

22. 貴社(きしゃ): company
23. 御社(おんしゃ): company
24. 貴店(きてん): store
25. 貴局(ききょく): a 局(きょく). Example: broadcasting company, post office, water bureau.
26. 貴紙(きし): newspaper company
27. 貴学(きがく): university
28. 貴校(きこう): school
29. 貴園(きえん): kindergarten
30. 貴サイト(きさいと): website

Company position

Within any company (big and small), there are several positions which are used as “you.” Too many to name but the main ones are:

31. 店長(てんちょう): store owner
32. 課長(かちょう): section chief
33. 部長(ぶちょう): department chief
34. 副社長(ふくしゃちょう): vice president
35. 社長(しゃちょう): president

Usually if it is your own company, さん is not attached. If you are addressing someone from another company, it is added.

Using the listener’s name

Most common way to use “you”

36. Last name by itself: Casual and friendly. Often used by classmates with each other.

37. First name by itself: even more casual and friendly. Very common and used by men and women of all ages.

38. Last name + さん: Polite

39. Last name + 様(さま): More polite (but awkward depending on context).

40. First name + さん: Somewhat polite

41. First name + 様: Somewhat polite (but awkward depending on context).

42. First name + ちゃん: affectionate and endearing. Used with children, close friends, lovers, etc.

43. First name + くん: Mostly used towards young boys to young adult men, especially in school.

Written Letters

44. 貴兄(きけい): Used by men to those with equal or higher status than them.

45. 貴姉(きし): Used by men to women equal or older than them.

46. 貴君(きくん): Used by men to men with equal or lower status.

Old usage

47. 汝(なんじ): Often considered similar to “thou,” but depending on the type of literature, results as a bad translation.

48-50. そち、そなた、その方(そのほう): Used by a person of higher status to a person of lower

51-52. 貴君(きくん), 貴公(きこう): Used to a person of equal or lower status.

53. 貴殿(きでん): Used to a person of higher or equal status, and in letters.

54-55. 主(ぬし)、お主(おぬし): The attached お was the much more common version.

56. 汝(うぬ): Used to insult your enemies.

57-58. 御身(おんみ、おみ): Standard

59. 御許(おもと): Used towards women, especially wives.

60. 此方(こなた): Also means I or he/she.

61. 卿(けい): Monarch uses towards his subjects.

Sensei

Used towards the following to show respect:

62. Teacher
63. Master (of an art)
64. Author
65. Doctor
66. Lawyer
67. Politician
68. Manga Artist

Senpai

69. 先輩(せんぱい): Mostly used at school by someone of a lower class year to a higher class year.

The below two sections work nearly identically to the I usage, except in reverse:

Towards family

Used towards family members of higher roles

70. 父さん (とうさん): Used to a father.

71. 母さん (かあさん): Used to a mother.

72. 姉さん (ねえさん): Used to an older sister.

73. 兄さん(にいさん): Used to an older brother.

74. 爺さん(じいさん): Used to a grandfather

75. 婆さん (ばあさん) : Used to a grandmother

76. おじさん: Used to an uncle

77. おばさん: Used to an aunt

78-86: All さん attached can be ちゃん instead. お may also be attached at the beginning. I’m counting these as 10 variations on the above (also covering 89-92 below).

87. パパ: Used to a father (variant of 父さん)

88. ママ: Used to a mother (variant of 母さん)

Note: Sometimes a family member adds his name before his family role, especially if there is more than one of that family member type. Example: ともこおばさん might be used for someone named Tomoko who is one of the child’s multiple aunts.

Non-Family Roles

These are used towards people who you don’t know, or know but are unrelated, or are related, but not related in the ways above.

Ages are all estimates because it is so varied, and there are really no set rules.

89. 姉さん (ねえさん): Used to a woman around 13 to 30.

90. 兄さん(にいさん): Used to a guy around 13 to 30.

91. 爺さん(じいさん): Used to an older man around 65+

92. 婆さん (ばあさん) : Used to an older woman around 65+

Note: The same as above, all さん attached can also be ちゃん instead, and お may also be included.

93. おじさん: Used to a man around 30 to 65.

94. 親父 (おやじ) : Used to a man around 30 to 65 similar to おじさん.

95. おばさん: Used to a woman around 30 to 65.

Children the speaker doesn’t know

The following are all looking down (slightly condescending) on children.

96. 小僧(こぞう): Towards a boy

97.小娘(こむすめ): Towards a girl

98-99. ガキ・糞ガキ(クソガキ): Towards a young child when you want to be slightly more insulting.

Special

100. 女(おんな): Used by a man to a woman he doesn’t know when he wants to be overly macho and sexist.

Which are your favorite you’s? Where have you seen or read some of the lesser used you’s? Which do you plan on trying out? Any you’ve come across that aren’t included in this list?

——————–
Source: Wikipedia, Yahoo Jp Dic (Scroll through the 貴 section to see more not listed here)



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Adam

Adam

Founder of Jalup. Spends most of his time absorbing and spreading thrilling information about learning Japanese. On a quest to become 日本語王 (king of the Japanese language).

Comments

100 Ways To Say “You” In Japanese — 15 Comments

  1. I think 貴殿is きでん kiden.
    And,Please add 貴公(きこう)kikow to Old usage.

    And,my grand father called his mother 母者人(ははじゃびと)hahajabito ,called his old sister 姉者人(あねじゃびと)anejabito.He from Kagosima.And his home state`s [
    you] is おまんさぁ omansaa,this is deformity from お前様(おまえさま)omaesama.
    My grand mather called her old brother 兄さま(にいさま)niisama.She from Yamaguchi.
    My aunt call her mother お母様(おかあさま)okaasama,and call her father お父様(おとうさま)otowsama,she grew up Tokyo.

    …Yes,the truth is anything but 100!

    • Hello 小川さん

      Thank you for pointing out the 貴殿 and 貴公 mistake. They are fixed now.

      And thanks for all the great additions. You’ve included a lot of good ones!

  2. Depending on what anime you watch, you may hear 貴官 (きかん) fairly regularly towards military officers. Aside from that, quite an impressive list. And as much as possible I avoid using any of them, haha.

    • Nice one. I’m sure in current day Japan there is not much opportunity to use it in a real situation.

      You make a funny point. Here is this list of a massive amount of ways to say you, yet the real goal is to avoid it all together.

  3. Adam, I have a request. Can you hide English on these kind of posts? Pretty please? I always want to read your compilations… But I am worried if english would spoil the experience for me.

    • There’s really no way to do it without requiring a ridiculous amount of work (I’d have to tag every single word individually), and making the post look ugly in the process.

      However, I think this topic (accidentally seeing English when you are going full J-J) is worthy of a post, so I will write about it. In short though for now, it’s not that big a deal to accidentally see English when reading through Japanese (though it feels like it is, and I experienced this same worry also when I was at your level).

  4. perhaps my only two complaint no romaji (despite the hiragana) not everyone is well versed in hiragana and it would be nice to be able get a feel for the word rather than hunt and search. this is deterring for new learners and tedious for those just doing some research on their own.
    second complaint is that you don’t really state what the words actually mean
    you state the idea but you don’t really give the meanings behind the individual words to get a sense of how it would be used in a sentence. like:

    sonokata means “that person” how would this be used? yes, you say of one of higher status speaking to someone of lower status, but in what context? how does this set the mood of the sentence? i love this article but those are two key factors.

    • I would have to argue against listing things in romaji. Romaji is really only needed until you actually start studying Japanese. It should be the very first thing you learn and can be learned to a comfortable level in 3-4 hours.

      I think it is a mistake that so many Japanese learning resources are filled with romaji which really is mostly in the way once you get past the initial hurdle that it is. It is difficult not to read the romaji when present, even though I can read the hiragana right next to it. My brain is wired that way, and I expect most japanese learners will probably feel the same.

      If a learner is deterred by the lack of hiragana on a site like japaneselevelup, then I would argue that they have come to the wrong place/language. If a learner finds hiragana to be an obstacle that they cannot cross, then what is going to happen when they discover kanji?

      Regarding your second complaint, I agree. I would be great with examples of use. Without it the article is good for a laugh, but not really for learning.

    • With enough practice hiragana is as readable as English (or your native language, and it really doesn’t take long (katakana is another matter)). I’ve never once studied romaji and in fact when I do see it, I tend to say the word out loud (and in my head) with a very distinct (American) English accent.

      I’m not trying to become familiar with English letters. I would complain if I saw this site filled with romaji.

    • I just want to chime in with Jesper and Kevin saying that romaji has no place on Jalup. The human brain is wired to be lazy, so whenever romaji is present it is very difficult to look away and only read the hiragana (or kanji). I even start to feel that way about furigana, that I will eventually have to read sources without them to be able to comfortably read kanji, otherwise I just read the kana and not the kanji.

      I just recently noticed that I have finally gotten enough practice reading hiragana that it almost feel as easy as reading roman letters (English or other languages using the Roman alphabet) – that is a great feeling!

      @Johnette Williams, it is difficult at first and it will be slower than reading romaji for a while. However any consistent learner will move past it and see it as just another challenge conquered!

  5. For romaji, everyone answered what I would have said.

    As for going into detail behind each word with examples, it would have created wayyyyy too long a post, and this article was more meant to be a general introduction.

  6. You can also add the old ways of calling a family member like: 母上、父上、姉上、兄上、etc. Or the one ones used in yakuza and other gangs like 兄貴、姉貴。。。

  7. Missing 僕(ちゃん) and お姉ちゃん/お嬢ちゃん which are pretty common when talking to small children.

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