The concepts of ''sempai'' ("senior" or "upperclassman"; also spelled "senpai"[[labelnote:†]] While the word uses the 'n'-kana (ん or ン), an 'm' sound is naturally made as the lips try to move from that sound to the 'p' sound – ergo it is pronounced "sempai", and older romanization schemes like the original version of Hepburn render the character as 'm' before certain consonants – that's also the reason why the major Japanese newspapers transliterate their names as ''[whatever] Shi'''m'''bun'' rather than ''[x] Shi'''n'''bun''. The Kunrei romanization system used internally by the Japanese government and favored by some fansubbers is much more literalistic, and always translates the symbol as 'n'. Note that unlike most countries (China and the Koreas, for instance), Japan does not legally mandate a single romanization scheme, allowing people and businesses to transliterate names however they want, which occasionally results in some… [[XtremeKoolLetterz interesting]]… variants.[[/labelnote]]) and ''kouhai'' ("junior" or "underclassman") permeate Japanese society. In fiction, you see them used most often in school settings, but the system also applies after graduation, in the workplace. Older students (or workers with greater seniority) are known as ''sempai'', and junior students/workers (or ''kouhai'') are required to defer to them, and address them with the [[UsefulNotes/JapaneseHonorifics honorific]] -''sempai'' and polite speech patterns. In return, the ''sempai'' is obligated to look out for, and protect, the ''kouhai''.

In real life, this trope is part of [[Creator/{{Confucius}} Confucianism]]'s influence on Sinospheric (including Japanese) cultures.

For whatever reason, the Sempai/Kohai relationship is a rather popular one within the YaoiGenre and YuriGenre; compare LoverAndBeloved.

!!I hope sempai will notice these examples today:

* [[ This]] animated [=McDonald's=] ad by Studio Colorido (part of the restaurant's "Crew ni narou" campaign) follows the relationship between a new part-time hire and her manager, and is [[MemeticMutation becoming infamous]] for its overtones of RomanticTwoGirlFriendship.

[[folder:Anime and Manga]]
* In ''Manga/{{Beelzebub}}'', Takamiya refers to Fuji as his ''sempai'', [[spoiler:because they were both taught by Saotome]]. Fuji returns the sentiment in kind, calling him his ''kohai'', insinuating that [[spoiler:Saotome taught him before Takamiya]].
* In ''LightNovel/BeyondTheBoundary'', Akihito is Mirai's senpai. Mirai initially refers to Akihito as just "Senpai" out of politeness as well as to distance herself from him. It becomes something of an AffectionateNickname as the series progresses. [[spoiler: Notably, Mirai still calls Akihito this after they've already become a couple.]]
* In ''Anime/SuperDimensionFortressMacross'', Hikaru calls Roy (who was a more senior pilot in Hikaru's family airshow) ''sempai''. In ''{{Anime/Robotech}}'', this is changed to Rick calling him "Big Brother," which is not quite the same.
* Maya Ibuki in ''[[Anime/NeonGenesisEvangelion Evangelion]]'' calls Ritsuko "sempai", which was given [[{{Seme}} a whole]] [[GirlsLove new context]] in a scene in ''End of Evangelion''.
* Tatewaki Kunou in ''Manga/RanmaOneHalf'' yells at Ranma and other junior students whenever they fail to address him as "sempai". Surprisingly, Ranma usually does, though he's often being sarcastic. Even in the English dub, Akane always refers to Kuno as "Upperclassman Kuno".
* ''LightNovel/MariaSamaGaMiteru'':
** Sei Suga is thrilled to receive a visit from current Lillian students at her office, as all of them are her ''kohai''.
** The ''Soeur'' system is based on this as well.
** This is referenced in the TagTeam FightingGame ''[[VideoGame/{{Maribato}} Maribato!]]'', where the girls in Arcade Mode are paired according to the group they belong to (Yumi with Sachiko, Sei with Shimako, Rei with Yoshino, etc.)
* Hyatt and Elgala always refers to Excel as "Excel-sempai" in ''Manga/ExcelSaga''. In the English dub and manga translation, it's just "Senior".
* Likewise, Milly refers to Meryl simply as "sempai" throughout ''Manga/{{Trigun}}'', which is ironic considering Milly is almost as tall as Vash.
* Yakou Tenma is the kohai of Pegasus in ''Manga/YuGiOhR''.
* ''Franchise/{{Digimon}}'':
** In ''Anime/DigimonAdventure'', ''[[Anime/DigimonAdventure02 02]]'' and ''[[Anime/DigimonAdventureTri tri.]]'', Jou is the eldest, and thus ''sempai'' to the entire group, though it's mostly the girls who call him that. He takes his responsibility as such very seriously, even though no one else does. It's worth noting that Sora, Mimi, Koushirou, and Hikari still call Jou "Jou-sempai" six years later, even though he didn't go to the same middle school and high school as the others.
** Miyako also calls Koushirou "Izumi-sempai," as he was her senior in the computer club, and Daisuke refers to Taichi as "Taichi-sempai," as he was his senior in the soccer club.
** Taiki himself becomes a sempai to Tagiru and Yuu in the [[Anime/DigimonXrosWarsTheYoungHuntersLeapingThroughTime sequel season to Xros Wars]].
** Meicoomon in ''tri.'' insists on calling all of the other partner Digimon (and Leomon!) ''sempai.'' Leomon is whacked hard by the CutenessProximity.
* [[DropTheHammer Shin]] of ''Manga/{{Dorohedoro}}'' is [[StatuesqueStunner Noi]]'s sempai. They happily makes bets on who will kill the most or eat the fastest. Despite being basically assassins, they're [[PunchClockVillain pretty]] [[CrapsackWorld decent]] [[GreyAndGrayMorality guys]]. Shin only allows Noi to call him like that though.
* ''Anime/CodeGeass'':
** Andreas Darlton and Gilbert G.P. Guilford begin treating Suzaku Kururugi in this fashion after he wins their respect, and even moreso after he's selected as Euphemia's Knight (they're both Knights of Euphemia's older sister Cornelia). In the second season, Guilford offers him some friendly advice and, when Suzaku expresses surprise, he openly admits to trying to play the sempai. (Despite the fact that in terms of status, Suzaku has surpassed Guilford at this point by becoming a Knight of the Round.)
** Princess Cornelia, despite her royal status (she's officially fourth in line for the throne, and unofficially closer to second in line), treats Nonette Enneagram, the Knight of Nine, as her sempai in the audio dramas.
* Subverted in ''LightNovel/HaruhiSuzumiya''. Mikuru is ([[VagueAge officially]]) Haruhi's sempai, but still gets [[TheChewToy used like]] [[CosmicPlaything a dishrag]] by Haruhi.
* In ''Manga/AiYoriAoshi'', the university-going characters seem to be in the same year, but they have sempai/kohai relationships based on who joined the photography club first. Taeko always attaches "sempai" to Kaoru and Tina's names. Kaoru in turn is kohai to Tina and ThoseTwoGuys, but he's close enough with them that he doesn't call them sempai.
* In ''Anime/YourName'', Taki has a crush on his sempai at his part-time job, Miki, and Mitsuha uses their [[FreakyFridayFlip body-switching]] to try and set them up. [[spoiler:It ultimately doesn't work out between them, since [[MatchmakerCrush Taki and Mitsuha]] end up falling for each other instead.]]
* ''Manga/{{Naruto}}'':
** When it comes to ANBU, Kakashi is sempai to Yuugao and Yamato. He convinces Yamato to pay for a ramen lunch by suggesting that while he may be his sempai, Yamato is the only kohai he respects, and the two are essentially equals. The anime and light novels also imply he had a similar relationship with Itachi prior to the massacre.
** Sakura refers to Shizune, Tsunade's first apprentice, as a sempai, and in an omake, Tsunade chides Shizune for not showing enough confidence in her junior disciple Sakura's chances of passing Kakashi's test.
** Suigetsu, an once-aspiring member of the Seven Mist Swordsmen, calls the members "sempai", despite the fact that his goal is to kill them and steal their weapons. It's mainly due his lingering respect of them, as they were once comrades of his older brother, Mangetsu.
** Ino refers to Shizune as "Shizune-sempai" in the anime, which plays up her involvement as a medical ninja and suggests that she learned medical ninjutsu from Tsunade. In the manga, she just calls her "Shizune-san".
** Pain jokes that as they shared a master, Naruto should consider him his Sempai. Naruto is not amused.
* ''Manga/{{Bleach}}'':
** Hisagi is the sempai to the year group Kira, Hinamori, Renji and Rukia were in. Renji continues to refer to him as sempai more than forty years after they've all graduated.
** Yoruichi was both Soifon and Byakuya's sempai. Byakuya also regards Ukitake as a sempai.
** Kyouraku and Ukitake regard Unohana as their sempai... a very, very scary sempai.
* In ''Manga/YuYuHakusho'', Yusuke initially greets [[EvilCounterpart Sensui]] as "sempai," as he was the previous Spirit Detective, but he's being sarcastic, because Sensui is now attempting to destroy the world and commit genocide. ([[BatmanGambit Sort]] [[ThanatosGambit of.]]) Later, when Yusuke meets Kuroko Sanada, the ''first'' Spirit Detective, who retired with a modicum of her sanity in tact, he is ''incredibly'' respectful towards her, although he addresses her as "Kuroko-san," not "sempai." Either way, it's the most (conventionally...) respectful Yusuke is to anyone, ''ever.''
* In ''Manga/MinamiKe'', Kana passes off "Mako-chan" as a kohai of hers in order to explain why a girl Chiaki's age keeps visiting her. Meanwhile, Haruka and her friends deal with Hosaka, whose attentions are unwanted but can't just be ignored because he's their sempai.
* ''Manga/AzumangaDaioh'': When the girls start their second year, Chiyo-chan is furious at not being taken seriously by the new freshmen (who are of course still older than her). She finally accosts a random student on the stairs and makes him call her "Mihama-sempai", then walks off giggling at the sound of it. The official translations use "Miss Mihama". In the dub, she makes him call her "Senior Mihama", a somewhat literal translation of it (like when she calls her classmates "Miss (Name)", instead of "(Name)-san"- for example, "Miss Osaka"). It should also be noted that he's not entirely "random" – in the anime he asks "What's a kid doing here?" which makes her think she's been denied the respect she deserves.
* At the school where ''LightNovel/StrawberryPanic'' is set, each new student is assigned a pair of sempais whose room she'll have to clean regularly. Nagisa and Tamao get Chiyo as room temp, and Hikari and Yaya get Tsubomi. Later, the temp Shizuma and Rokujou had a couple of years ago turns out to be important to the story.
* Tsukuyomi uses this with Setsuna in ''Manga/MahouSenseiNegima'', both being closely-aged and similar-in-power members of the Shinmeiryuu, with Setsuna being both slightly older and stronger. Its implied that Tsukuyomi merely uses this playfully, not having quite the level of respect the title would otherwise connotate. And later on it becomes [[StalkerWithACrush pretty]] [[PsychoLesbian freaking]] [[AttemptedRape obvious.]]
* ''Franchise/LyricalNanoha'':
** In ''Anime/MagicalGirlLyricalNanohaStrikers'', Signum refers to herself as being the kohai of the renegade Zest when she encounters him since she used to be a member of the branch where he held rank as an officer.
** At the end of ''A's'', when Hayate mentions that she's joining the TSAB, she notes that it will make her Nanoha and Fate's kohai, although they never officially have that kind of relationship. Hayate even uses the term "kohai" in the English dub of that scene. Near the beginning of the season, Mary addresses Amy as "Amy-sempai".
** In ''Manga/MagicalGirlLyricalNanohaVivid'', Vivio refers to Einhart as her sempai, but calls her "Einhart-[[UsefulNotes/JapaneseHonorifics san]]" rather than "Einhart-sempai"
* Used repeatedly in ''Manga/ThePrinceOfTennis''. Main Character Ryoma Echizen's a special case. He was born and raised in America, as such he's oblivious to this trope. Later it's revealed he actually does know; he just doesn't ''care'': at some point, second year student Takeshi Momoshiro tells Ryoma to treat him with the respect a senpai deserves. Seigaku's resident InsufferableGenius simply states he doesn't see a reason to do so just because Momoshiro's a year older than him.
* ''Manga/RurouniKenshin'':
** [[NietzscheWannabe Shishio]] refers to [[TheHero Kenshin]], the government's previous [[ProfessionalKiller manslayer]] as his sempai. Similarly to the ''Manga/YuYuHakusho'' example, he's being kind of snarky about it, as Kenshin is kind of trying to stop his grand plans now. Since Kenshin [[TheFettered has sworn to never kill again]], it's also Shishio mockingly reminding Kenshin of his previous murders.
** There's also an exchange (with Kenshin borderline channeling his dark ''Battousai'' personality) where Kenshin dismissively refers to Shishio as his kohai.
* ''Manga/KatekyoHitmanReborn'':
** Skull constantly refers to the other [[EnfanteTerrible Arcobaleno]] as his sempai. He ''is'' the youngest, after all.
** Fran and the other Varia as well. Belphegor also once referred to Squalo as his sempai.
* In ''Manga/LoveHina'', Shinobu frequently calls Keitaro "sempai". And it is about the ''only'' form of direct, non-grudging respect he ever gets from anyone. Until [[spoiler:the manga's epilogue, when the regulars vociferously defend him to new girl Ema]].
* In the manga of ''Manga/GhostInTheShell'' Batou gets on Togusa's case (Togusa being the rookie of the pair) about not backing his sempai. Togusa replies that kind of thinking is obsolete. The translation used may actually be the most bizarre used yet, with "sempai" translated to "bishop."
* In ''Manga/{{Chobits}}'', Yumi is incessant in referring to Hideki as her Sempai, even in the English dub.
* In ''[[Anime/BurnUp Burn Up Scramble]]'', Lilika calls both her teammates sempai, even right after [[LesYay drunkenly kissing Rio]].
* In ''VideoGame/HarukanaruTokiNoNakaDe'', Shimon calls Tenma "sempai".
* ''Manga/KOn'':
** Azusa refers to the older members of the light music club as '-sempai', much to [[BishieSparkle Yui's delight]]. In the anime, they buy her a little tortoise because they think she wants a kouhai that badly. She doesn't, but the little guy does grow on her.
** Of course, in ''K-On! High School'', she, Ui, and Jun get their own kouhai in Nao and Tsumire, though it takes Azusa some time to get into the role.
** And in ''K-On! College'', Ritsu, Mio, Tsumugi, and Yui find themselves with senpai again, this time in Kana and Chiyo.
* ''Manga/SoulEater'' has an interesting example with [[MadScientist Stein]] and [[MoralityChain Spirit]]. Back when they were students in the DWMA, Spirit was Stein's weapon and Stein usually referred to Spirit as "sempai." A flashback does show that Spirit appears to be the older of the two. The interesting matter comes from how it was probably this realationship why Spirit stuck by Stein for five years, despite Stein having a few screws loose. However, when Spirit learns that Stein has been operating on him (learning this from the woman who would become his future wife), Spirit leaves Stein and becomes her weapon (and she's the one who turn Spirit into a Death Scythe.) They do patch things up when they are adults though.
* In ''Manga/OuranHighSchoolHostClub'' Haruhi adds -sempai to her upperclassmen's names, or sometimes will just call them "sempai". Hikaru and Kaoru also use -sempai for their upperclassmen except for Tamaki who they affectionately mock with the name "Tono" (meaning "lord") in reference to his sometimes archaic-sounding speech (like an old feudal lord). For a workplace example, Haruhi's mother Kotoko was the sempai of Kousaka Yuki, the Suou company's lawyer.
* ''Manga/{{Bakuman}}'':
** Iwase addresses Aoki as a sempai while they attend Tokyo University together, as Iwase is a freshman while Aoki is a graduate student. Hattori is Miura's sempai among the Shonen Jump editorial department.
** Mangaka refer to more experienced ones as "sempai", as Takagi refers to veteran mangaka Arai as "Arai-sempai". Some of [[spoiler:Nanamine's]] helpers decide to leave after hearing that he's going to "pick a fight with a sempai mangaka".
* In ''Manga/MaiOtome'', each second-year Pearl Otome serves as an OneeSama to two Coral Otomes (on average, one of the two does not make it to the second year). While most are addressed as "-onee-sama," Nina and Arika refer to Nao, and other Pearl Otomes, as "-sempai." In the English dub, this is translated as "big sister," with no difference given between -onee-sama and -sempai. Even the Meister Otome whom Arika calls "-san" get "Big Sister".
** In the ''Anime/MaiHime'' sound drama, "As the Cherry Blossoms Bloom", Shizuru, believing that Natsuki will never return her feelings, decides to be a good friend and sempai to her, until the Carnival starts, causing her 1)to realize that Natsuki will die if Shizuru loses and 2)to gain some hope that Natsuki will accept her feelings. Yuuichi also refers to Reito as "[[LastNameBasis Kanzaki]]-sempai" or just "sempai".
* Souta Takanashi from ''Manga/{{Working}}'' only ever refers to [[SpellMyNameWithAnS Popura]] Taneshima as "Sempai"(she doesn't reciprocate); this might have something to do with her being OlderThanSheLooks.
* In ''Manga/{{Kochikame}}'', Kankichi Ryotsu is often called Sempai by most of the fellow police officers.
* ''Anime/YuGiOhGX'': At the start of the second season, Juudai is thrilled to finally be one of the older students, especially during his first duel against Edo, who refers to Juudai as 'sempai'. A few episodes later, Edo's final words to Ryou in their Pro duel have him calling himself Ryou's sempai, since he's been in the Pro Leagues longer than Ryou has. After that, Edo switches to calling Juudai by his name instead of "sempai". Also, Kenzan continually refers to most of the older students with the sempai honorific (except for Juudai, who is his aniki).
* In ''LightNovel/{{Durarara}}'', Tom and Shizuo still hold something of a sempai-kohai relationship long after both of them have graduated from school (with Shizuo now working as Tom's bodyguard). When Tom hires another bodyguard alongside Shizuo, Shizuo is elated that he gets to have a kohai of his own, completely oblivious to the fact that said kohai is plotting to kill him.
* In ''Manga/HidamariSketch'', Sae and Hiro are Yuno's and Miyako's sempai. They all seem to get along pretty well, so they don't seem to treat it like an obligation. In volume 4 of the manga and the third season of the anime, they all get two new kouhai: Nori and Nazuna. (Incidentally, Yuno moved into the room occupied by Hiro and Sae's sempai, Misato.)
* ''Manga/SgtFrog'': Tamama often refers to the older members as '-sempai'; the only one who doesn't get this treatment is his beloved Gunsou-san. Kururu also refers to Giroro as his sempai at times; in his case, however, this is more to antagonize by reminding him that the scientist is younger than him, yet Kururu outranks him.
* In ''Anime/{{Shuffle}}'', Asa is Rin and Kaede's sempai, but tells Rin to stop calling her "Asa-sempai" [[spoiler:when they start dating]].
* In ''Manga/{{Freezing}}'', Pandora and Limiters enhance their powers by establishing an Ereinbar Set with each other, through a ritual known as a baptism. For some reason, the Ereinbar Set is the strongest when the Limiter is younger than the Pandora, and so most Limiters refer to their Pandora as ''sempai''. Pandora/Limiter relationships are also frequently romantic in nature, and it's mentioned that Pandora often marry their Limiters after completing their tours of service with the Chevalier.
* In the fifth episode of the anime for ''Anime/WelcomeToTheNHK'', Satou refers to Hitomi exclusively as ''sempai'' during their meeting. At the end of it, [[{{Lampshading}} Hitomi jokingly asks him if he still remembers her name.]]
* ''Anime/PuellaMagiMadokaMagica'':
** Mami is Madoka's and Sayaka's ''sempai'', both in school, and as a MagicalGirl, although they call her "Mami-san" rather than "senpai". She becomes motivated to protect them because of this.
** [[AllThereInTheManual One of the drama CDs]] included with the Japanese BD release reveals that Mami and Kyouko once had a similar relationship before the events of the series.
* In ''LightNovel/{{Oreimo}}'', [[spoiler:Kuroneko]] becomes Kyousuke's ''kouhai'' in their school after she transfers. The episodes [[spoiler:after Kirino leaves for the US]] focus on how their relationship grows [[spoiler:without Kirino]].
* Rather frustrating to fans of the ship is the example from ''Manga/SkipBeat!''. Kyouko and Ren, lead girl and lead guy respectively, have a sempai/kouhai relationship as Ren has been in show business longer than Kyouko has. It's also a romance series with the biggest [[AnchoredShip Anchored Ships]] you've seen in a shoujo in a ''long'' time.
* ''Anime/{{Planetes}}'' has [[JerkWithAHeartOfGold Hachirota's]] sempai to [[WideEyedIdealist Ai Tanabe's]] kouhai.
* From the one time she's seen doing it, Konata from ''Manga/LuckyStar'' seems to enjoy surprising first-years by status-dropping when she goes to see her cousin in her class. Given that Konata is still short and flat enough to look like she's not old enough to be in high school even after she later graduates, it's quite a shock.
* ''Webcomic/AxisPowersHetalia'':
** Subverted. Hutt River claims to be Wy's sempai (translated as senior in scanlations), but Wy doesn't pay him much respect: she is less than willing to greet him when she goes by his home and she even agrees with Molossia when he calls Hutt River a "lameass bastard". Still, Hutt's ridiculously snobby attitude doesn't help.
** In another instance, when [[CheerfulChild Sealand]] learns that [[IJustWantToBeNormal Iceland]] also attempts to auction himself on eBay due to financial difficulties, he proclaims that the two should be friends because of their being in "similar circumstances," and that Iceland should call him his "senior" and "rely" on him. Iceland doesn't know what he means, which drives Sealand to despair.
* Kagura and Ayase in ''Anime/OkusamaWaMahouShoujo'' use these terms, even after Kagura has left the school.
* Happens a lot with BoysLoveGenre and {{Yaoi}} works, whether set in a school or an office environment. For example, Souchi's sempai to Morinaga's kouhai in the university in ''Manga/TheTyrantFallsInLove''. It also frequently shows up in {{yuri|Genre}} works, especially since they're often set in schools.
* In ''Anime/WaitingInTheSummer'', one of the mysteries of Remon is ''everyone'' addresses her as sempai, even some characters who appear significantly older. Apparently, she's been in HighSchool for a long, long, time.
* In ''Manga/SekaiichiHatsukoi'', Masamune Takano (fomerly Masamune Saga) is the Sempai while Onodera Ritsu is the Kohai from when they were in high school and now work. Ritsu still calls Takano "Sempai" on occasion.
* ''Franchise/LoveLive School Idol Project'':
** When the school announces that it is closing and will cease taking in new students for subsequent years due to a lack of applicants, the first-years are especially heartbroken about it because they'll never experience the joy of having kouhai. [[spoiler:Fortunately, towards the end of the first season, the school receives enough applications to reverse this decision.]]
** In the BeachEpisode, Eli decides the group should stop using sempai/kohai among members to "break down the sempai barrier" and make everyone [[ThePowerOfFriendship friendlier with each other]]. Much awkwardness ensues.
* In ''Anime/{{Free}}'', both Nagisa and Rei are kouhai to Haruka and Makoto's sempai, but by far the most obvious example is Rin and Nitori, who always refers to the former with 'Matsuoka-sempai' and then later [[FirstNameBasis 'Rin-sempai']] and definitely has a bit of an idol crush on him.
* In ''Manga/{{Saki}}'', this is a common mode of address for junior members of a school's mahjong club to senior members when they don't use titles like ClubPresident or "Captain". Momo, in particular, seems to almost exclusively refer to her [[RomanticTwoGirlFriendship close friend]] Yumi as just "Senpai", with the occasional "[[LastNameBasis Kajiki]]-senpai" to specify the person she's talking about.
* In ''Manga/{{Stretch}}'', Ran always addresses Keiko as "Senpai" or (very occasionally) "Keiko-Senpai".
* In ''Anime/GirlsUndPanzer'', the first-years typically refer to Miho and her friends, who are [[SecondYearProtagonist second years]] as "senpai". Saori tries to convince Mako to come to a match at 6 a.m. by saying that if she quits the team over that, she'll get held back and have to call her "Saori-senpai", something that Mako, who typically calls Saori by her first name without honorifics, apparently finds unpleasant.
* Unusually for a series set in a Japanese school, this does not show up much in ''Manga/{{Genshiken}}''. One significant exception: Oguie consistently refers to Sasahara as "sempai," even when she's at her {{Tsundere}}-est.
* In ''Manga/SevenDays'', Yuzuru is Seryou's senpai. However, the relationship between them is fairly egalitarian.
* In ''Manga/ElfenLied'' (the manga, anyway), this is how Yuka originally knew Nozomi, before she became the final member of the harem. She also becomes devoted to Kouta in that way - among others, making her one of three actual 'harem' members to openly show romantic feelings for him.
* ''Anime/GochuumonWaUsagiDesuKa'': Sharo always refers to Rize as 'Rize-sempai', and even went to her high school to begin with because she was so entranced by the way Rize gallantly saved her from a rabbit one time. Naturally, [[SchoolgirlLesbians she has an obvious crush on her.]] This is the only sempai/kouhai relationship in the series, though, because the girls are split up into different schools, and all the other schoolmates are in the same year.
* In ''Manga/{{Yotsubato}}'', Yanda is an old kohai of Koiwai's, and can get away with mooching off him for that reason. This only extends so far – when he picks on Yotsuba, Koiwai is obligated to pick on him in return.
* {{Subverted|Trope}} in ''Manga/VenusVersusVirus''. When Sumire began junior high she tried to begin calling high schooler Nene "Nene-sempai", but Nene got annoyed. She pointed out that they're ''cousins'', calling her "Nene-chan" is just fine.
* Yuki from ''Manga/SchoolLive'' has a pretty strong reaction to Miki referring to her as "sempai". Yuki is [[KiddieKid younger acting]] and [[OlderThanTheyLook younger looking]] than Miki.
* ''Manga/ShokugekiNoSoma''
** Isshiki is ''sempai'' to the rest of the Polaris dorm. Makes sense, since he is a year older than the others, as well as [[AbsurdlyPowerfulStudentCouncil Seventh Seat of the Elite Ten.]]
** Azami, in spite of having graduated nearly twenty years earlier, is still obsessed with gaining approval from "dear Saiba-sempai" from high school, taking things well into MadLove territory.
* ''Anime/{{Pokemon}}'':
** In the ''Anime/{{Pokemon}}'' anime, it isn't rare for gym leaders to teach a bunch of unexperienced boys and girls the art of Pokémon battling; but we find a unique example in the Olivine Gym, where Jasmine, the leader, only has one pupil, Janina. The latter is enthusiastic about connecting with her Onix so they can battle effectively, but completely misunderstands one of Jasmine's teachings: she thought Jasmine wanted her to eliminate Onix's weakness against water with wax, instead of talking with him so they could come up with proper defense strategies. When Jasmine notices this, [[BewareTheNiceOnes she gets pretty angry]], which stands out in comparison with her depressed state in the episode "Fight for the Light". Fortunately, Janina eventually understands what Jasmine was talking about and makes a strong connection with Onix to defeat Team Rocket. This appears to settle things between master and student.
** A radio drama exclusive Team Rocket member named Mondo refers to the TerribleTrio as "Musashi-sempai", "Kojiro-sempai", and "Nyarth-sempai".
* For the most part, ''Manga/FairyTail'' and the other guilds in the setting [[AvertedTrope don't use this concept]], and in the ''Fairy Girls'' spinoff, Wendy(one of the youngest and newest members of Fairy Tail) tells Sumire as such when she joins. That said, when Sumire [[spoiler:despite having infiltrated Fairy Tail for her employers, does a HeelFaceTurn and risks her life to protect the friends she betrayed]], Wendy comes to her rescue, saying that it's a senpai's responsibility to protect the kohai. Outside the guild, though, [[spoiler:Lucy, working as a reporter for a temporary job during the second TimeSkip]], calls her coworker Jason "Jason-senpai.
* In ''Manga/MissKobayashisDragonMaid'', Kobayashi ends up taking Elma under her wing when the latter ends up working at the same company. [[ClingyJealousGirl Tohru]] doesn't take it well, especially because Elma is her arch rival. Elma also refers to Takiya as senpai in later chapters.
* In ''Manga/WanderingSon'', [[NoSocialSkills Chiba]] causes a scandal at her middle school when she treats two of her sempai poorly.
* ''Manga/OnePiece'' features an unusual example, in that Bartolomeo addresses the Straw Hats as a whole as his senpais, despite him being older than most of the crew. In this case, the honorific denotes great respect, as Bartolomeo is a huge fan of the Straw Hats, whose actions and achievements inspired him to set out to sea.
* ''Manga/KaguyaSamaLoveIsWar'': Kaguya ends up developing this sort of relationship with Ishigami, helping him study, [[ItMakesSenseInContext letting him borrow her uniform]], and [[spoiler:getting the guy who turned him into a pariah kicked out of the school]]. Rather surprising, given their first onscreen interaction involved her giving him an ImpliedDeathThreat.
* ''Manga/BloomIntoYou''
** Touko is Yuu's sempai, being a year ahead of her in school, and often helps her study. Sayaka is also sempai to Yuu and the other first-years on the student council, but while the first-years respectfully call her "[[LastNameBasis Saeki]]-senpai," there isn't as much of a mentorship aspect in their relationships with her.
** Yuu also has two kouhai from her middle school softball team, who, to Yuu's dismay, are already taller than her.
** Sayaka also has a senpai from her old school, [[spoiler:who also happens to be her ex-girlfriend. The older girl had gone out with Sayaka for a little while, only to abruptly break it off with her due to believing that they were outgrowing the RomanticTwoGirlFriendship phase]].
* ''The Talented Sempai and the Useless Kouhai'' plays with this. The main character, Shiori Ochiai, is a third-year at her school, but virtually everyone knows that she's terrible at basketball, resulting in some of her kouhai bullying her and sticking her with the chores. Meanwhile, Hiromi Tsukioka, the kouhai, not only is extremely talented, but ends up being something of a mentor to her senpai.

[[folder:Audio Play]]
* Atsushi from ''AudioPlay/YandereHeaven'' is the protagonist's senpai. It's never stated how he and the protagonist were introduced to one another, but their relationship grew to the point where Atsushi regularly offers her rides to school and the restaurant they both work at and the protagonist provides meals for him.

* Much to Kyon's delight in Fanfic/KyonBigDamnHero, Kanae addresses him as Sempai. Haruhi lampshades this extremely quickly. Kyon is also very protective of her, and treats her like his little sister.
** As of Chapter 32, Kanae also refers to [[spoiler: Haruhi as 'Suzumiya-sempai']], which seems to provoke an interesting reaction...
* FanFic/AGrowingAffection: Yugao sometimes refers to Kakashi as senpai, which Naruto teases her for after he learns she and Kakashi are a couple. The Kouin sisters refer to Sasuke as 'kohai' and Kabuto as 'senpai'.
* From Chapter 3 and onwards in ''Fanfic/ANecromancersWildCard'', a VideoGame/{{Persona 3}} and LightNovel/{{Is This A Zombie}} [[CrossOver crossover]], Ayumu Aikawa usually addresses Minato Arisato as "Senpai" or "Minato-senpai", and Minato considers Ayumu a kouhai.
* ''Fanfic/DoingItRightThisTime'': Maya still refers to Ritsuko as "sempai" even after their RelationshipUpgrade. Given they've shot way past LoverAndBeloved and held an outright ''[[UsefulNotes/{{BDSM}} collaring ceremony]]'' it kind of makes sense.

* ''Film/RisingSun'': Smith, [[RaceLift played by Wesley Snipes]] and renamed Webster, remarks [[ValuesDissonance "That wouldn't happen to mean 'master', would it?"]]

* In Creator/MichaelCrichton's ''Literature/RisingSun'' John Connor instructs Peter Smith that to the Japanese they will be interacting with, Connor will be sempai to Smith's kohai.

[[folder:Live Action TV]]
* ''Franchise/SuperSentai'':
** Despite technically being the senior officer in ''Series/TokusouSentaiDekaranger'', Tetsu ([[SixthRanger DekaBreak]]) fondly refers to Red Ranger Ban as "sempai", mostly because Ban showed him a way to fulfill his duties with passion instead of the hardnosed indifference he was taught.
** In the various ''Sentai'' [[{{Crossover}} team-ups]], the members of the younger Sentai team tend to defer to the older, sempai team.
* In ''Series/TomicaHeroRescueForce'' [[TheHero Hikaru]] commonly refers to [[TheLancer Kyosuke]], [[ActionGirl Rei]] and [[TheMedic Juri]] as this until he found out that the teams SixthRanger was DaChief he reffered to R5 as "Dai-Sempai".
** ''Series/TomicaHeroRescueFire'' has a similar example, Tatsuya refers to Hikaru and the rest of Rescue Force as "Sempai". As for the team itself, [[TheHero Tatsuya]] calls [[TheBigGuy Yuuma]] his sempai, who is in turn seen as a sempai by [[TheChick Jun]].
* Invoked in ''Series/ThirtyRock''. After the death of his mentor, GE CEO Don Geiss, Jack Doneghy tells Liz Lemon that Geiss used to call him ''kohai'' in private, while Jack reciprocated, calling him ''sempai''. Although Jack [[MenDontCry won't admit it]], he is very shaken by Geiss' death (or more accurately, [[HumanPopsicle preservation]] [[ShoutOut in]] [[StarWars carbonite]]), masking it by working himself up at the possibility that he'll inherit something from Geiss. He inherits Argus, Geiss' pet peacock. Long story short, [[spoiler: Kenneth--who knows how to interpret peafowl calls--tells Jack that the bird had said, "sempai, kohai." Jack becomes convinced that Geiss' spirit had inhabited Argus, leading him to pour out to the bird. He ends up reconciled to Geiss'...Geiss'...what happened to Geiss.]]

[[folder:Video Games]]
* One Double Battle trainer class seen in ''VideoGame/PokemonRubyAndSapphire'' is a pair of schoolgirls literally called "Sempai and Kohai" (translated as "Sr. and Jr." in the original games and "Teammates" in the remakes). The sempai is overly concerned with being a role model to the kohai and the kohai is overly concerned with impressing the sempai.
* ''[[Franchise/ShinMegamiTenseiPersona Persona]]'':
** In ''VideoGame/Persona4'', [[ButtMonkey Yosuke]] is surprised to find that the tough, rumored-to-be-in-a-biker-gang (he's not) [[{{Delinquents}} Kanji]] is his kohai. Similarly, Chie's surprised when, in their first meeting at school, the usually rude and abrasive Kanji is quite polite to them, and he says it's because they're his sempais. If you romance Naoto and talk to her in the dungeon with Kanji present, Kanji misinterprets her embarrassment as rudeness and calls her out for acting that way toward their leader and sempai.
** One of the big differences between ''VideoGame/Persona3'' and ''4'' is that in ''Persona 3'', the main character trio are the underclassmen (although your main character gives orders in battle because he is the most skilled in the use of his Persona) and sempais Mitsuru and Akihiko are calling the shots (to the point where they won't allow you to do any missions if both are not present), but in ''Persona 4'' the main character trio (and later Yukiko as well) are the sempais and are in charge of the entire Investigation Team with the later members as their underclassman. The only third-year with a name in ''Persona 4'' is Saki, who's killed off early on.
** Taken even further in ''VideoGame/Persona4DancingAllNight''. The team decides to [[LetsSplitUpGang split up]] to find the missing idol singers, and the split is directly along the sempai/kohai line. Members of the kohai team even talk about doing their best to impress the sempais. The members of Kanamin Kitchen also consider Rise a sempai, even though Rise's essentially their rival.
** In ''VideoGame/PersonaQShadowOfTheLabyrinth'', this is averted on a few occasions. When Rei and Zen join the group, since no one is able to conclusively determine how old they are, the others decide to treat them as first-years in high school, but neither of the two considers the others sempais. When the two groups learn that the ''Persona 3'' team is actually from two years before the P4 group, making even the second-years older than anyone on the P4 group, Junpei is delighted to have girls calling him sempai, only for the girls to point out that while he's older than they are, since they don't go to the same school, he's not a sempai to them.
** ''VideoGame/Persona5'' actually mostly averts this with the Phantom Thieves. Third-years Makoto and Haru insist that their juniors simply call them by name, and ([[{{Hikikomori}} technically]]) first-year Futaba acts ''very'' informally towards her seniors.
* In ''VideoGame/PokemonMysteryDungeonExplorers of Time/Darkness/Sky'', Bidoof is delighted when your team joins the guild, since his seniority makes him your sempai, despite his own inexperience. [[spoiler: One of ''Sky's'' [[ADayInTheLimelight Special Episodes]] reveals he even wished for a buddy or two to help mentor. [[CrowningMomentOfHeartwarming Awww...]]]]
* In ''VideoGame/KingdomHeartsChainOfMemories'', Axel gives a hearty "Jaa na Sempai" to [[spoiler:Vexen]] before [[spoiler:he [[KillItWithFire murders him]] in front of Sora]]. He's likely being snarky about it, though, because the other Organization members simply address their elders by name.
* ''[[VideoGame/AdvancedVariableGeo Advanced V.G. II]]'': [[{{deuteragonist}} Tamao]] joined the tournament to meet her role model, [[TheProtagonist Yuka Takeuchi]], whom she refers to [[CoolBigSis as "Sempai"]] (switching to "Yuka-sempai", when speaking to her directly). In turn, Yuka refers to her as, "Tamao-chan" and looks after her [[ as her new student.]] So they double as [[StudentAndMasterTeam master and apprentice.]]
* The ''VisualNovel/TokimekiMemorial'' series, being a HighSchool romance DatingSim series, obviously loves this trope. Every flagship game of the series (save for ''Tokimeki Memorial 3'') had a Kohai as a winnable LoveInterest, and several [[GaidenGame side games]] introduced other non-winnable Kohai. However, winnable sempai weren't introduced until late in the series, the first one appearing in ''Tokimeki Memorial Girl's Side 2''.
* Creator/{{Nintendo}} has a couple of prominent RealLife examples. Early on in the company's game-making career, Creator/GunpeiYokoi, inventor of the UsefulNotes/GameAndWatch and GameBoy as well as game series such as ''Franchise/{{Metroid}}'' and ''VideoGame/KidIcarus'', was the senpai to a young up-and-coming programmer named Creator/ShigeruMiyamoto. When Miyamoto eventually became a big name in the company, he would become the senpai of another programmer, Satoshi Tajiri, the man who would create ''Franchise/{{Pokemon}}''.
* In ''VideoGame/MegamanZX'' Vent referred to Girouette as his sempai in the original Japanese dialogue. His female counterpart Aile, however, simply referred to him as his nickname Giro.
* ''VideoGame/YandereSimulator'' is all about trying to win the affections of your character's senpai, a task that is accomplished by [[MurderTheHypotenuse disposing of any and all romantic competition by any means necessary]].
* ''VideoGame/TokyoXanadu'' has Kou, Asuka, and Rion as {{Second Year Protagonist}}s, with Sora and Yuuki as their kohai and Mitsuki and Shio as their sempai. Before Rion was announced, the party would've consisted of [[GenderEqualEnsemble 1 male and 1 female in each year]].
* While the Western versions of the game have no reference to this aspect of their friendship, the Japanese version of ''VideoGame/Splatoon2'' has Ida (Marina) regularly refer to Hime (Pearl) as "sempai" due to the latter both being [[OlderThanTheyLook older than Marina]] and having more experience in the music business.
* In the Japanese version of ''VideoGame/SonicAdventure'', Eggman describes his previous robot models to Omega as them being his sempais. In the English dub, this is translated as them being his older brothers.
* Mash Kyrielight of ''VideoGame/FateGrandOrder'' refers to the player character as her senpai, even though the player just joined Chaldea which should give her seniority. Later, it's explained that she sees the player character as her senior in terms of "living" since she's lived her entire life within the walls of Chaldea while they live the kind of average yet upright life she would like to live.

[[folder:Visual Novels]]
* In ''VisualNovel/{{Tsukihime}}'', Shiki calls Ciel "Sempai" almost exclusively, even in his narration. Arihiko does the same. One point where you notice this is the first scene after Ciel [[spoiler:wipes the school's memory of her; when Shiki asks Arihiko about her, he doesn't say "Who's that?", he says "Which sempai?"]]
* ''VisualNovel/FateStayNight'':
** Shirou is Sakura's sempai. He takes this responsibility seriously, and it makes him feel a bit awkward about being attracted to her. Rin is also her sempai, and that's unfortunate -- it's [[spoiler:one more edge that Sakura's sister has over her, one more reason to be bitter.]]
** Much like Shiki with Ciel, Sakura ''always'' refers to Shirou as "Sempai" (even when in the presense of other people who are also her Sempais, like Rin). Even in the HF True epilogue, where [[spoiler:they've been in a relationship for several years]] and he's no longer even her Sempai, she ''still'' uses it (and Taiga calls her out on it).
* From the GirlsLove VisualNovel ''VisualNovel/SonoHanabiraNiKuchizukeWo'', we have Yuuna as sempai and Nanami as kohai as part of a SchoolgirlLesbians pairing. Kaede and Sara are also sempai and kohai but it isn't emphasized as much.
* The English translation for ''VisualNovel/HatofulBoyfriend'' leaves this out, but it can be seen elsewhere, including in the translations of the manga. Upperclassman Sakazaki Yuuya is called Sempai by many. We see in the games that he is indeed protective and good to his kohais.
* Yasumi and Shouko in ''VisualNovel/AoiShiro''. Yasumi joined the kendo club as manager because she thought Shouko looked so cool doing a demonstration at the beginning of the school year, and she consistently calls her 'Shouko-sempai' through the game. Though in this case, while she tries to take care of her, Shouko also has a great deal of respect for Yasumi and often shows how impressed she is by her dedication.

[[folder:Web Original]]
* Jade from the Literature/WhateleyUniverse refers to her friends, particularly her roommate Tennyo, as 'sempai', and tends towards this kind of attitude.
* When Steely Dan is blackmailing Jotaro during the Lovers mini-arc in ''WebVideo/VaguelyRecallingJoJo'', he forces him to be his sempai and calls him [[Manga/ThePrinceOfTennis Kabaji]].
* LetsPlay/PewDiePie has "Notice me, senpai!" as something of a CatchPhrase.

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* As a part of the [[{{Woolseyism}} adaptation]] in the Japanese dubbed version of ''ComicStrip/{{Peanuts}}'', Marcie address Peppermint Patty as sempai, instead of "sir" like she normally does in the original version.