Family Members in Japanese

The Japanese language loves to create numerous declensions, especially depending on the interlocutors' ages and social ranks, and the family members are among those that illustrate the most these possibilities.

In Japanese, "family" is called 家族 kazoku (or ご家族 gokazoku to speak about the family of a higher social rank interlocutor).

When the following words end with the -san suffix (the most formal), it is generally possible to use -chan with a closer relationship. Also, if we talk about several identical interlocutors, we will add たち -tatchi, for example 娘(さん)たち musume(-san)-tatchi “my (your) daughters”.

Parents

(Your) parents: (ご)両親 (go)ryôshin'

  • Mom: 母 haha / ママ mama
  • Mother: お母さん okaasan
  • Dad: 父 chichi / パパ papa
  • Father: お父さん otoosan

Grandparents

Do not forget to lenghten the double vowels not to confuse them with aunts and uncles (see below).

  • grandmother: お祖母さん obaasan
  • grandma: 祖母 sobo
  • granny: ババ baba
  • grandfather: お祖父さん ojiisan
  • grandpa: 祖父 sofu or ジジ jiji
  • grandchildren: (o)mago(san)

Siblings

Brothers and sisters (siblings): 兄弟 kyodai

Sister:

  • my elder / your elder: 姉 ane / お姉さん oneesan
  • (your) cadet / younger sister: 妹 imôto

Brother:

  • My elder / your elder: 兄 ani / お兄さん oniisan
  • (your) cadet/ younger brother: 弟 otôto

Husbands, wives and spouses

  • my wife: 家内 kanai / tsuma
  • your wife: 奥さん okusan
  • my husband: 夫 otto
  • your husband: ご主人 goshujin
  • girlfriend: 彼女 kanojo
  • boyfriend: 彼(氏) kare(shi)

Children

  • child: 子供 kodomo
  • baby: 赤ちゃん akachan
  • daughter: 娘 musume(-san)
  • son: 息子 musuko(-san)

Others

  • aunt: 伯母さん obasan
  • uncle: 伯父さん ojisan
  • (your) niece: 姪(御さん) mee(gosan)
  • (your) nephew: 甥(御さん) oi(gosan)
  • cousin: 従兄 itoko
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Posted by Gael
Editor in chief
Gael is founder and responsible for Kanpai's publication. In love with Japanese culture, he travels to Japan regularly since 2003 and shares his information and tips.
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