Japanese Honorifics/Suffix in Anime Part 2

Mr. Qoo

In Part 1, we covered the common honorifics in the Japanese language, in Part 2, we’ll be taking a look at some other honorifics that are commonly seen in anime.

Senpai (先輩)

As mentioned in Part 1, Senpai is used to address an elder in school or at work. In a school situation, Senpai will be used by lower grade students addressing a student of a higher year. At work, senpai is used typically for those with more experience in the industry. The opposite of Senpai is Kouhai, but that is rarely used as a suffix.

Sensei (先生)

Sensei is most commonly used when addressing a teacher at school, but it is not completely exclusive to that scenario. Sensei is also used to address doctors, lawyers, and sometimes other authority figures including politicians.

Hakase (博士)

Hakase is similar to “professor”. It is used to address someone with high academic expertise.

Shisho (師匠)

Shisho is a title that is used for students to call their teachers, usually martial arts related.

Dono (殿)

Roughly translates to lord or master, used for a person with high social standing but not a noble. The difference between dono and sama is hard clearly define. The general difference is that dono is a rather old vocabulary which is rarely used in modern days. Modern day use of dono would be if you were writing a formal letter to someone of the same social status or lower. In anime, most characters with a historic Japanese era will typically use dono, stereotypically samurais.

Heika (陛下)

Your Majesty. Used exclusively for the king/emperor of a country.

Denka (殿下)

Your Highness, Royal family but not the ruler: prince, princess etc.

Kakka (閣下)

Your Excellency. This is usually used for high ranking government officials or army generals.

Are there any more you’re interested in learning? Seen or heard something you want to know more from anime? Let us know, maybe we can help you learn more!

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