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Useful Notes: Japanese Honorifics
"Honorific", in linguistic lingo, refers to the little prefixes, suffixes, or titles that are added to a name in most languages, like "Mr.", "Mrs.", "Dr.", "Sir" and the like. Japanese, naturally, has them. One interesting feature, however, is that there are far more of them with far more nuances of meaning than there are in other languages. They can be either attached to the end of a name, or in some cases (such as "sensei", much like the English "Professor") as standalone substitutes for names.

Etiquette is a critical part of Japanese language and culture, and honorifics are a key element in that. In general they are expressions of respect or endearment, but as with many terms in many languages, delivery — tone and emphasis — can change a title of utmost honor to a sarcastic insult. Using the wrong honorific, or the right honorific in the wrong way, can result in anything from simple disdain to (in feudal times, at least) clan warfare.

More and more often, they are used without explanation in English translations, more often in subtitles or translations of manga than in dubs. This makes sense in some contexts, such as when the characters are in a context that has a lot of Japanese cultural elements anyway, or when they are needed to prevent things being Lost in Translation, but translators have a tendency to just overdo it overall.

Of course, while keeping most of these definitions in mind, when one is speaking actual Japanese to actual Japanese people and is unsure which honorific to use, it is always best to just ask, and then use what they tell you. Even if he's 6'6" and captain of the soccer team, if he wants you to call him "Dai-chan"... you call him "Dai-chan".

See also Japanese Pronouns, Keigo, Korean Honorifics.

Honorifics used only as suffixes

-san
The most common honorific, and the one most familiar to non-Japanese. Roughly equivalent to most everyday English honorifics, it is generally employed with someone of the same social station as yourself, but can be used any time you need to be generically polite. This is commonly translated and most closely related to the English "Mr." or "Ms." However, it's often dropped entirely in translations, since it's used in contexts where any honorific at all would seem excessively formal in English. (Example: high school students addressing each other with "Mr." or "Ms." would come across as overly formal)

-han
Kansai-ben version of -san. Not used very much if the vowel sound of the last character ends with "i" , "u" or "n".

-sama
A term of great respect, one step higher than -san. In fantasy or historical contexts, it's generally translated as lord/lady or a similar term, but since modern English really has no honorific expressing such extreme deference, Mr. or Ms. usually has to do. In situations where there isn't a massive gap in social status between the speaker and the person being addressed, the use of -sama can border on grovelling. However, it has some standard uses: it's a flattering way for a business.company to address its customers and clients; it's used when addressing letters to friends; and a young woman may playfully use it for a guy she has a massive crush on.
  • In rare cases, -sama can also be used sarcastically to indicate extreme disrespect. The pejorative second-person pronoun kisama is written with kanji that mean something like "honored sir," but today the real meaning of the term is more along the lines of "you bastard." (In military parlance, it keeps its old respectful sense, which is an endless source of jokes among civilians.) Men who want to express over-the-top arrogance can attach -sama to the macho and aggressive first person pronoun ore and refer to themselves as ore-sama, something like "my magnificent self". This is often Woolseyized to Third-Person Person.

-dono
Originally "lord," in the feudal sense, once denoting a higher level of respect than -sama. However, while -dono denotes high status on the part of the person being addressed, it does not imply lower status on the part of the speaker, unlike -sama. It thus serves as a face-saving way for high-ranking Jidai Geki characters to address others of high rank. Today, it's considered slightly less respectful than -sama due to the lack of self-humbling. However, it's rather archaic to use at all these days; in anime it's sometimes used as an anachronism to indicate the speaker's age (Cologne in Ranma ˝, Washu in Tenchi Muyo!, etc), or in feudal/historical settings. The only place it's still more or less widely used is the military, cf. "kisama".

-kun
Used with boys' names to denote familiarity or endearment; also used between peers by men, or when addressing someone younger or of a lower social standing. Despite its predominant usage with males, it can be used with girls as well, such as addressing a coworker of lower position. In particular, teachers will often use -kun for older female students. This is a way of preserving the difference in social standing, while avoiding the intimacy of an honorific such as -chan which might be considered inappropriate between teacher and student. Also typically used with a Bokukko character, for obvious reasons.

-chan
A general, informal term of endearment with overtones of intense cuteness, most frequently used for (and between) girls, but also applicable to pets, small children regardless of gender, friends, or lovers. Making it part of a nickname is even more so, and is done primarily for little kids, Kawaiiko teen girls, close friends (regardless of gender), or lovers (for whom it is especially intimate). Sometimes translated as 'little'; for example, "Robin-chan" becoming "little Robin", sometimes translated as "-baby" (as in Kunô-baby). Literally speaking, it's the diminutive — a cultural equivalent to calling your friend "Jimmy" instead of just plain Jim. Technically speaking, it's what would properly be termed the affectionate diminutive. However, as the "Kunô-baby" example shows, it can also be used as a derisive diminutive, depending upon context and tone.

-chin
An even more diminutive variant of -chan. Most commonly used by young girls who are very close friends. This is often contracted to make it easier to roll off the tongue, for instance Yukari-chin would become Yukarin.

-tan
A small child's slurred mispronunciation of -chan. If it is used by an adult at all, unless speaking to an infant or toddler, the person is most likely either being sarcastic, ironic, or a poser Kawaiiko. A non-anime example of this is a certain fast food fried chicken chain's mascot in Japanese advertising, an adorable little girl, "Bisuke-tan," who carries an enormous biscuit on top of her head; her name can probably best be translated as "Widdle Biscuit." This is also how the name for the OS-tans, the Super-Deformed mascots representing operating systems and software programs, was derived — and by extension, any young female anthropomorphization.

-tama, -chama
Similarly, these are baby-talk versions of -sama, with the exception of "obocchama" which is used to address the son of someone who is of higher social standing, roughly equivalent to "young master."

-pyon
A slang honorific, indicating that the speaker is being very cutesy/sweet/lovey-dovey with the person he is addressing.

-pi
A cutesy honorific for small pets. (ex. of redundancy: P-Chan)

-me
A derogatory honorific, used when you refer to people, things, or concepts you're a) pissed at, b) deem despicable/inferior. Not as common in real life as anime and manga would have you believe, and it's usually used jokingly or sarcastically. Adding "-me" to your own name or a first person pronoun has a self-humbling effect.

-gozen
Indicates nobility; most commonly applied to women.

Honorifics also used as regular/standalone words

-senpai/-sempai
Usually translated as "upperclassman" in stories set in high school or college, but it more precisely means "mentor" or "senior", depending on context; it is also used in workplaces, clubs, organizations etc. for employees/members with seniority in relevance to the speaker. Due to differences between romanization systems, it can be spelled in Western languages as either "senpai" {Kunrei} or "sempai" {Hepburn}. (Both spellings are technically correct; the former is a closer transliteration of the Japanese spelling, but the latter better reflects the actual pronunciation.) Senpai/sempai can be attached to the end of someone's name or be used on its own.

-kouhai
The inverse of -senpai/-sempai, meaning someone of a lower class year or lower seniority than the speaker. It's not strictly speaking an honorific since it's not normally attached to a name, and it's considered rude to use to a person's face.

-sensei
Literally means "one who has come before". Usually heard in English referring to martial arts masters. Also applies to doctors, teachers, and masters of any profession or art. It is also standard for professional writers who are classed as teachers. In short, the rule of thumb runs thus: doctors, teachers, lawyers, writers and scientists who got their doctorates are called "sensei" automatically; with the others it's debatable. In recent years this has become an all-purpose suck-up word, and is now more often used sarcastically or ironically than as a genuinely respectful term. This has brought complaints of Dude, Where's My Respect? from real masters and artists. Those who routinely read the liner notes of manga will notice that this is still used as a term of respect for - and between - prominent manga artists (e.g. "Akamatsu-sensei" for Ken Akamatsu).

-shishou
Similar to -sensei, but limited to certain traditional Japanese arts and crafts, including martial arts. When used as a stand-alone word, it's usually translated as "master". It also denotes extreme respect from the speaker to their target; this is lampshaded in Naruto and G Gundam.

-hakase
Used when addressing an academic whose expertise is VERY high. Technically this means "Doctor", but in practice it's actually reserved for even higher ranks and is more or less equivalent to addressing someone as "Professor". On the other hand there's little hard and fast rules in this area and the correct usage depends more on the personal preferences of the addressee.

-niisan/-neesan
Literally refers to one's older brother or sister, respectively, but can also be used to refer to a relative within your generation that is older than you (i.e. an older cousin) or a slightly older close friend that you consider to be like a brother or sister, similar to -senpai. note  To directly address your brother or sister, add O- to the beginning (it denotes respect), but if you don't feel particularly respectful feel free to omit it. Siblings trying to be cute will sometimes refer to their older counterparts as Onii-chan or Onee-chan. An alternate way of being very casual, typically seen more in fiction than reality, is to drop the san and address the subject as "<name>-nii" or "<name>-nee".

-jisan/-basan
Literally refers to one's uncle or aunt respectively, but also used to refer to middle-aged adults with whom the speaker is already acquainted. Changing it to -jichan or -bachan denotes familiarity and is like saying Aunty. Not seen as insulting unless the person is sensitive about their age. (A woman under 30 is likely to be insulted, though.) Be careful with how long you draw out the i and a sounds, lest this suffix become...

-jiisan/-baasan
Literally refers to one's grandfather and grandmother, but also used to refer to much older adults with whom the speaker is already acquainted. Changing it to -jiichan or -baachan is like saying Gramps or Granny. Not seen as insulting unless the person is sensitive about their age.

-bouzu
One level below -kun on the formality ladder. It's an affectionate masculine diminutive, how one might address a particularly young niece or nephew. Roughly equivalent to addressing someone with a nickname like "squirt" or in a friendly tone calling them "twerp", or to express mild irritation/annoyance.

Other things

As noted above, -dono comes from the word tono, meaning "lord". Several other terms for social rank seem to be used as honorifics as well, most notably -oujo and -hime, both of which mean "princess". "-ojou" or "-ojousama" is regularly used for girls from very well-to-do families.

Using no honorific at all (called yobisute) is also an honorific — it's a "null honorific", and it means the speaker is addressing the person to whom he is speaking in an intimate and familiar manner usually restricted to family, spouses or one's closest friends. Usually, this is only done when First Name Basis permission is granted by the subject. Using no honorific without such permission is a grave insult; this is a subtlety lost on many foreign visitors, who offend people with no idea that they're doing so (although nowadays this is generally not the case for most foreigners since most Japanese understand that most foreigners do not use honorifics). Addressing someone in yobisute for the first time frequently marks an important point in a Romance Arc or friendship.


Examples

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    Anime and Manga 
  • "Sempai" is frequently used without explanation in English dubs these days.
  • Revolutionary Girl Utena has power and hierarchy in relationships as a major theme, so it's no surprise that honorifics are used in all sorts of interesting ways to reveal this. (The dub tries its best to get the idea across, but can't always manage.) There's lots of examples, but one of the major ones is Anthy's habit of using -sama for the current winner of the duels. At the beginning of the show, she always addresses Saionji as Saionji-sama (translated here as "Master Saionji"). Then, after Utena defeats him, Anthy emotionally devastates him with one sentence:
    Anthy: "Take it easy, Saionji-... sempai."
  • As expected in a series revolving around the concept that words are spells, in Loveless honorifics are so important that the English translation of the manga simply decides to keep all of them.
    • To start off, after expecting Ritsuka to know him, Soubi addresses Ritsuka as just 'Ritsuka' upon meeting him. Ritsuka in turn starts immediately addressing him as simply 'Soubi' without any honorifics.
    • Upon meeting, Yuiko addresses herself with her own name (indicating her child-like nature and her massive insecurities), and insists that Ritsuka call her 'Yuiko' too, though she addresses him as 'Ritsuka-kun', (he simply continues addressing her as 'you'.) Later on when they agree to be friends, he begins calling her by 'Yuiko' alone, and only after he breaks her of the habit of referring to herself by her own name. When Ritsuka's friend Osamu shows up, calling him without an honorific, Ritsuka tells her she refer to him as just 'Ritsuka'. She tries this once before going back to referring to him as 'Ritsuka-kun' again.
    • When Shinonome-sensei meets Soubi, whom she starts off calling 'Agatsuma-san', but resolves to start calling him 'Soubi-kun' after he says he doesn't like older women after she becomes flustered around him and generally is a jerkass towards her, which is important on her part because this is how she refers to her male students.
    • Manchild Nagisa refers to Seven, possibly her only friend, as Seven-tan to demonstrate how childish she is, despite the fact that most of the people associated with Seven Moons Academy and Septimal Moon refer to each other without honorifics, with the exception of Ritsu and Soubi who refer to each other as 'Ritsu-sensei' and 'Soubi-kun.'
    • Mei calls Mimuro by just Mimuro, and complains when Mimuro doesn't address her as 'Mei-chan' or 'Mei' (he thinks it's creepy to use their real names), when even Neisei refers to her this way.
    • Mimuro admits to being unable to deny Neisei any requests because when making them he addresses him directly, using "Senpai, please" to ask for favors.
    • Viz's translation omits the honorifics, translating most of them either badly ("Nagisa-sensei" becoming "Miss Nagisa" is particularly glaring) or not at all (and the difference between "'Muro-senpai" and just "'Muro" is huge for characters who rely heavily on the senpai/kouhai dynamic). It's the one thing Viz isn't doing better than Tokyopop.
  • In the dub for one of the sequels to El-Hazard: The Magnificent World, Nanami runs around a castle calling for "Makoto-chan".
  • Haruhi always uses -senpai when talking to Tamaki, who is in the year above her, in Ouran High School Host Club. When she does the same thing during summer vacation, he shouts at her "I'm not your senpai! I'm just an acquaintance."
    • She even does this after they've been dating for 2 years.
  • In Suzumiya Haruhi, Haruhi refers to Koizumi as "Koizumi-kun" but Kyon just as "Kyon", implying more familiarity with the later. The ube-polite Koizumi addresses all the girls as "-san" which translates as "miss" in the English dubs ("Suzumiya-san" becomes "Miss Suzumiya.") Kyon also addresses the girls as "-san" except Haruhi, with whom he is on First Name Basis, but doesn't use honorifics when speaking to Koizumi.
    • In the Disappearance movie and The Vanishing of Nagato Yuki-chan, the version of Yuki involved is surprisingly respectful toward others, referring to even her best friend Ryoko as "Asakura-san" (dubbed as "Miss Asakura").
  • In Ranma ˝, teenagers Ranma and Ukyo have pet names for each other using the truncated name + -chan structure ("Ranchan" and "Ucchan", the latter doubling as a pun on her Kansai dialect). These date back to their initial friendship at age six. At least one background character, upon hearing their use, commented that this was "little kid stuff". These are carried over largely without explanation in the English dub, though Ukyo's habitual "Ran-chan" is often translated as "Ranma-honey" instead. Likewise, Soun and Genma always refer to each other as "Saotome-kun" and "Tendo-kun", reflecting their status as old friends and fellow students of Happousai. In their case it's supposed to sound more adolescent than juvenile.
    • Ranma repeatedly refuses to acknowledge the ultra-rich buffoon Tatewaki Kuno's insistence that Ranma show him the respect due an upperclassman by addressing him as "sempai". The dub translates this mostly literally as demanding to be called "Upperclassman Kuno."
      • Whenever Ranma does use -sempai he tends to either deliberately mispronounce Kuno's name so it sounds more like "no abilities" than "nine abilities", or (in the manga, naturally) use katakana to denote a mocking pronunciation of the term.
    • Likewise, Nabiki invariably refers to Kuno as Kuno-chan (translated as "Kuno baby" in the English dub) as a sign of contempt.
    • Ranma and Akane consistently address each other using yobisute, and the lack of honorifics underlines both their status as the Official Couple and the ambiguous Will They or Won't They? nature of their relationship. The reason Kuno first gets mad at Ranma for addressing Akane so casually was because Ranma was using yobisute.
    • Cologne refers to Ranma as "muko-dono" (son-in-law).
    • While this usage may not be entirely linguistically correct, it has long been traditional in Western anime fandom to use "Ranma-kun" and "Ranma-chan" to refer to Ranma when he is in his male and female aspects, respectively.
    • Kodachi will usually refer to Ranma as "Ranma-sama" (Dearest Ranma), which was translated as "Ranma sir" in the early manga and "Ranma Darling" in the dub.
    • Kasumi, as one might expect, uses (and receives) textbook-perfect honorifics (erring on the polite side) underlining her status as the resident Yamato Nadeshiko. She always uses "-kun" for the boys. Her sisters, being family, get either "imouto" or yobisute, and Akane and Nabiki refer to her with the affectionate oneechan. It's worth noting that Ranma, who tends to be either sloppy or sarcastic with his honorifics, always speaks respectfully to Kasumi, and even calls her "Kasumi-oneechan" (beloved big sister Kasumi) on occasion, just like the girls do. Kasumi herself addressed Ranma as "-chan" right after their very first meeting, when the Tendo sisters still thought she was just a girl.
    • When Ranma disguises herself as Akane's cousin "Ranko" in Nodoka's (Ranma's mother) presence, everyone addresses her as "Ranko-chan," even Ranma herself.
    • And at the height of arrogance, the character Saffron from the end of the manga refers to himself as "yo-sama" (yo being an archaic and extremely honorable first-person pronoun.) To take it further, to refer to oneself as "-sama" is considered extremely arrogant and rude.
  • In Rurouni Kenshin, Yahiko is once teased by a couple of Delinquents calling him "Yahiko-chan"; the Latin American dub leaves the "chan", implying he hates being called like that. In a side story, he gets quite annoyed when a girl calls him that, but ruefully accepts the title after failing to protect the girl from some thugs. Kanryuu becomes enraged when Aoshi refers to him without honorifics.
    • In Yahiko's case, when the manga was translated for Brazilian audiences, it was shown by having him called "Yahikozinho". The suffix "-zinho" turns his name into "Little Yahiko". In the anime, he was called "Garoto (Boy) Yahiko". He hates being considered a child and/or small.
    • There's also the titular protagonist's consistent use of "Kaoru-dono" to show that he genuinely respects her idealism.
      • He also refers to Misao, as well as Toki and Shigure from The Movie, as "-dono". Again, likely to show his respect to their thoughts and beliefs.
      • In Kenshin's case it's for the most part simply a normal way of old-school samurai speech. Kenshin as a rule speaks very politely and old-fashioned, so him using the "-dono" honorific is only to be expected, even if it hasn't yet fallen out of use even among the general population. Note that Kenshin technically isn't a samurai, but back in the Bakumatsu times anyone who can afford two swords was it... (Now, if he starts dropping said honorifics and switches his personal pronoun from sessha to ore... RUN.)
  • In Tenchi Muyo!, After discovering Tenchi's royal ancestry, Princess Ayeka almost invariably calls him "Tenchi-sama". In the dub this is translated as "Lord" matching the more archaic usage. (She also speaks in an archaic, formal Japanese which is rendered in English by the device of a British accent.)
    • Washu (who is 20,000 years old and the galaxy's greatest scientific mind) insists on being called "Washu-chan" ("Little Washu" in the dubbed version) by everyone (except Ryoko, who she insists should call her "Mom" instead), especially ultra-formal Ayeka. She generally refers to Tenchi as "Tenchi-dono", indicating her age.
    • Ryoko, being extremely informal and not at all interested in other people's concepts of what's polite, doesn't use honorifics. Tenchi, on the other hand, uses standard honorifics for everyone except Ryoko, who he addresses by name only.
  • In the English translation of Excel♥Saga, Hyatt almost always refers to Excel as "Senior Excel" or just "Senior" — a reasonable, if not exactly standard, usage that reflects the Japanese "Excel-sempai". Il Palazzo, their immediate superior, addresses Excel (as an example of its use in a context other than schoolboys) as "Excel-kun".
  • During a Flash Back in one of the later episodes of Steel Angel Kurumi 2, the English dub actually has a child using the -tan honorific without explanation.
  • The many different honorifics used in Ai Yori Aoshi are an important part of characterization. For instance, each member of Kaoru's Unwanted Harem addresses him differently. Aoi says "Kaoru-sama"; formal Miyabi says "Kaoru-dono" (rendered in English as "Sir Kaoru"); easygoing American Tina says "Kaoru"; younger student Taeko says "Hanabishi-sempai"; and rich girl Mayu says "Hanabishi-sama". In fact, the respectful honorifics that Aoi and Miyabi use should really be a problem for their cover story — clearly Kaoru is more than just a tenant to them.
  • Yobisute as a romantic turning point — or not: In the Death Note anime, Misa Amane horrifies Light Yagami by beginning to refer to him yobisute only moments after their mutually manipulative relationship is established. He comments, but is forced to acquiesce when she proposes a ridiculous nickname as the alternative. The English-dub rendition became, "Light, darling?" followed by an incredulous, "Did you just call me 'darling'?" He later grits his teeth and addresses her as Misa-chan, eliciting a wheeze from Ryuk.
    • The English translation of the manga initially includes honorifics, but they drop off in the second half of the manga.
  • In Naruto, within Team 7 alone, the kids use -sensei with Kakashi; this makes it into the English dub and the Latin-American dub (based off the English one.)
    • Naruto also calls the Fifth Hokage's "Tsunade-baachan"; this is actually affectionate and not as insulting as the translation "Grandma Tsunade" conveys. Sakura, who is Tsunade's apprentice, refers to her as shishou instead, indicating how she views Tsunade as her master and teacher.
    • Sai starts out calling Naruto "-kun" and Sakura "-san", but after becoming friends with them in the Sasuke and Sai arc and reading a book suggesting that continuing to use honorifics makes becoming closer to friends easier, decides to start using yobisute to become closer to them.
    • Hinata and Lee uses it on virtually everyone. Both seem to be pretty polite speakers compared to others.
    • Itachi, Kabuto and Orochimaru at one point address Naruto with "-kun". Likely to mock him for being immature in their view.
    • Hidan of the Akatsuki addresses Pain "-sama" attached to his name but as a sarcastic insult, since the man was one where the phrase "respect those who can easily kick your ass" did not seem to ring a bell in his thick skull.
  • Konata from Lucky Star at one point wonders why Kagami doesn't have a "-chan" nickname like Tsukasa ("Tsuka-chan"), Miyuki ("Yuki-chan") or Konata herself ("Kona-chan"), even though she often calls her "Kagamin". Then Kagami asks Konata to call her "Kagami-sama". Konata, of course, acknowledges. Then Kagami feels it's really awkward and tells her to drop it.
  • The western fandom of Axis Powers Hetalia tends to suffix the "-tan" to the anthropomorphic incarnation of nations (as in "Country-tan"), partly as a way to accentuate the separation between the real country and the representation of it, and partly to remark the extremely Moe nature of the series.
    • Prussia's CD is called "Ore-sama no CD" (translated as "The CD of the Awesome Me"). It combines this with Japanese Pronouns.
      • Prussia uses this a lot to refer to himself, including "Ore-sama no Blog" ("The Blog of the Awesome Me"), and just generally referring to himself as "The Awesome Me" (Ore-Sama).
    • Hima-sensei-san-chan-nii-sama-papa-troll...
  • Change 123 offers three interesting examples of the use of honorifics:
    • For Motoko's three Split Personalities, three different honorifics are (usually) used: Hibiki-kun (due to Hibiki being a Bokukko), Fujiko-san (sometimes Fujiko-neesan when her maturity is to be accentuated) and Mikiri-chan (due to Mikiri being more child-like).
    • Since Mikiri-chan is such a Cheerful Child, she uses the "-chan" honorific with all people, regardless of the appropriateness.
    • The insufferable teen genius Kannami uses the "-kun" honorific with all the high-schoolers, even girls.
  • In Yu-Gi-Oh! GX, Manjyome always corrects anyone who doesn't give him any honorifics when saying his name with "san da" (essentially, "That's Mr. Manjyome, to you!). For some reason, every other character mistakes him as saying the Japanese pronunciation of the English "thunder", hence his now-longstanding nickname "Manjyome Thunder" (and variants).
    • In the manga, however, he doesn't seem to mind Judai just calling him "Manjoume", or Sho calling in "Manjoume-kun".
  • In Azumanga Daioh: Tomo calls her teacher "Yukari-chan" — an informality so outrageous that the manga translates it at one point as "Yukari baby".
    • Oddly enough, Chiyo uses "-chan" on Tomo despite addressing all her other classmates as "-san" (due to them being older); one possible explanation is this is due to Tomo's typical rudeness.
      • Sometimes Tomo even refers to herself as "Tomo-chan". This may either be a result of everybody else calling her "Tomo-chan" for her relative immaturity, or a demonstration of her self-attributed Kawaisa.
    • At one point, when trying to lure Yomi into a "trap", Tomo addresses her quite unusually as "Koyomi-kun". For some reason that does not alert her.
    • In the ''Azumanga'' dub, Chiyo is consistently referred to as "Chiyo-chan" by the other characters, although "Sakaki-san" is changed to "Miss Sakaki."
    • Chiyo at one point becomes insecure about the idea that other students don't respect her because of her age (as she's a child prodigy who was promoted to high school at age 10), and insists to a rather bewildered underclassman that he should be addressing her as "Mihama-sempai" rather than "Chiyo-chan."
    • At one point Osaka tells Chiyo not to worry about getting bigger, because a big Chiyo-chan wouldn't be Chiyo-chan at all — she'd be "just plain Chiyo!"
  • Nanoha, Dr. Ishida and Shamal use "-chan" on Vita, who looks like a young girl, despite her being Really 700 Years Old. Nanoha has Subaru and Teana call her "Nanoha-san" instead of her rank.
    • Nanoha goes from calling Shamal "Shamal-san" in A's to calling her "Shamal-sensei" ("Doctor Shamal") in StrikerS after she becomes her doctor.
    • During an argument between Yuuno and Chrono in the third sound stage of the first season, sparked by Chrono calling Yuuno a familiar, Chrono complains about Yuuno not using honorifics on him (although he doesn't seem to use them on anyone), and Yuuno claims he gave him permission to do so.
    • Fate uses "-kaasan" as a suffix in order to clarify whether she's talking about her biological mother (actually creator) Precia or her adoptive mother Lindy. ("Around Lindy-kaasan, it took a lot of time before I could call her 'mom' naturally").
  • In One Piece, Wapol's subordinates typically address him as "Wapol-sama," before and during his return to Drum Island. This causes a slight Dub Induced Plothole in the English manga, when they initially address him as "Captain Wapol" when he appears to be a mere pirate, but change to "King Wapol" after he is revealed as the former king, and when he makes landfall to reclaim his throne.
    • Sanji calls the ladies using these. There's Nami-san, Vivi-chan and Robin-chan.
    • Sogeking tends to use "Kun" for everyone, including himself (that is, Ussop when he isn't being Sogeking).
    • And In the original Japanese, Trafalgar Law favors the equivalent of a sarcastic "mister" when addressing anyone.
  • Sailor Moon uses -chan to address all the Inner girls, including Rei. Rei herself, on the other hand, uses -chan for Usagi once, then stops after Usagi angers her and from then on she refers to her as simply "Usagi". It's stated many times through out the series that Usagi and Rei are actually very close despite their bickering, which is likely why Usagi never complains. On the other hand, she refers to Mamoru as "Mamo-chan" as they become the Official Couple, and calls the Outer Senshi "-san" since they're older than them. Mamoru uses the pet name Usa-ko for Usagi.
    • Also, the R movie shows just how ingrained in Japanese culture the use of honorifics is. Rei is the only one not to use an honorific when shouting Usagi's name when Usagi briefly dies. (Marmou uses Usa-ko in this scene as well however)
  • In Code Geass, Zero refers to Jeremiah as "Orange-kun" in public to imply a preexisting relationship; the dub translates this as "Orange-boy." Eventually, he becomes just "Orange."
    • Also of note, the English dub uses honorifics for the Translation Convention, having scenes where Japanese characters use honorifics which implies that they're speaking Japanese to each other (and presumably English the rest of the time).
    • In Nightmare of Nunnally, Nunnally initially uses "-san" on Alice (as she does for most older people of no special status) when meeting her in a flashback, but uses "-chan" on her in the present after they become friends.
  • In Karakuridouji Ultimo Kumegawa Hiroshi threatens to take out his doji because Shiina Machi not using an honorific when speaking to him, though this later turns out to be Belligerent Sexual Tension
  • Bleach:
    • In the pilot, Rukia demands that Ichigo address her as "Rukia-sama" before she returns him to his body. In the actual manga, she asks that Hanataro not call her that, and he instead calls her "Rukia-san".
    • Ichigo also has a tendency to refer to both Toshiro and Byakuya by their given names instead of using honorifics when addressing them, annoying them both. ("It's Captain Hitsugaya!")
    • Rukia is infamous for adressing Kaien with "-dono" (infamous to the fanbase), which is a sign of how much she idolizes him.
    • Momo refers to Hitsugaya as "Hitsugaya-kun", which doesn't exactly please him either but isn't as upsetting as her calling him by the childhood nickname "Shiro-chan". On the other hand, she's more often than not referred to as "Hinamori" by him, Renji and Kira (her closest friends among the Shinigami), while others call her "Hinamori-kun" like Aizen. Pretty much the only one who refers to her as simply "Momo" is Shinji Hirako, and this only happens after he retakes his place as the fifth Division Captain; it's relatively common for captains to refer to their lieutenants by their first name.
    • Ichigo, Rukia and Chad refer to Orihime as "Inoue" (a rather rough way to refer to a girl), while Ishida uses the more polite "Inoue-san" and Tatsuki calls her "Orihime" to mark their close friendship. In return, Orihime calls the boys "(insert name)-kun", Rukia is "Kuchiki-san", and Tatsuki is "Tatsuki-chan". (Similarly, Riruka is "Riruka-chan" for her, and Riruka simply calls her "Orihime".)
      • Also, Shinji and Loly refer to Orihime as "Orihime-chan". This is a good way to lay some parallels about the use of such an honorific: Shinji uses -chan to express a desire to be friends with Orihime due to finding her cute and to blend better among the Karakura schoolers, while Loly does so to show her lack of respect for her.
    • Soi Fong refers to Yoruichi as "Yoruichi-sama", which is most often translated as "Lady Yoruichi" in the dub. Yoruichi tried to make her drop it in favor of "Yoruichi-san", to no avail. Soi Fong used no honorifics at all on Yoruichi's name during the 100 years they were separated after Yoruichi helped Urahara escape. Soi Fong started using "-sama" again when, after being defeated by Yoruichi, asking why she wasn't taken along.
    • Rukia refers to Byakuya as "nii-sama", emphasizing her respect for him and the distance between them. In contrast, Karin and Yuzu refer to Ichigo with much more affectionate terms: "Ichi-nii" and "Onii-chan", respectively.
    • The Fullbringers are a rather interesting case, as they tend to refer to each other and others in yobisute aka not using any pronouns. It's more understandable with Jackie Tristan (foreigner) and Yukio Hans Voralberna (half-foreigner, most likely has Scandinavian heritage). Pretty much the only one who uses pronouns regularly is Shukuro Tsukishima, who is rather polite speaker to get under the others's skins — and he doesn't use them with everyone, either. (I.e., he calls Moe "Shishigawara-kun", but refers to Ginjou with yobisute)
    • Yamamoto refers to his lieutenant simply as "Choujirou". In return, Sasakibe calls him "Genryusai-dono". In the past, Sasakibe called him "Eijisai-dono", due to his Embarrassing Nickname.
    • Shunsui tends to refer to his fellow captains and lieutenants by their given names plus honorifics, but manages to get away with it because he's hundreds of years older than most of them. He calls his own subcaptain, Nanao Ise (a young adult among Shinigamis), "Nanao-chan"; it's more understandable when you recall that Nanao has been a member of the Eight Division ever since she was a pre-teen Shinigami girl, thus Shunsui has known her from forever.
    • Hikifune from the Zero Squad refers to Ichigo and Renji as "Ichigo-chan" and " Renji-chan". Made even funnier because the ones she refers to as such are an older teenager and a young adult in Shinigami years and they're very rough speakers.
    • To give a sense of how much social information forms of address can carry, take a look at Isshin and Ryuuken talking in chapter 241. Isshin has a very warm and informal speech style, so his use of yobisute—"Ishida"—just indicates that they've known each for a long time. It's far more revealing when Ryuuken, whose style is formal to the point of frigidity, replies in kind: he doesn't feel the need to put up a front for Isshin. He also uses "Kurosaki"—Masaki's Quincy last name—to refer to Isshin, instead of "Shiba", a sign that he's finally accepted Isshin as an in-law.
  • In Kenichi: The Mightiest Disciple, when Kenichi becomes an uchi-deshi (a disciple living in the dojo), his masters insist that he begins to call them "shishō" instead of "sensei". At first, he is a little clumsy with using this honorific. Unfortunately, this important change of addressing was lost in some translations of the manga, which can confuse the readers.
  • In Fruits Basket, ultra-rude Kyo Sohma never uses honorifics (and more often than not, doesn't use names, relying on "you"), while ultra-polite Tohru Honda uses "-san" for everyone outside of four characters who get "-kun" and two who get "-chan". Also, she nearly always refers to people exclusively how she was first introduced to them, followed by "-san", resulting in Ritsu becoming "Ritchan-san", Mitsuru as "Mitchan-san", and Kazuma "Shishou-san."
    • There's also Shigure bargining with Haru to let Yuki live with him. What Shigure wants is for Haru to call him Sensei, as he is a writer after all (but no one respects him enough to call him sensei he says, except for Mitsuru). Hatori also gets referred to as sensei occasionally (normally not by the rest of the zodiac though, he's a doctor). Same goes to Kazuma until Kyo decides he's "shishou"; that's is the honorific most people call him now, the older ones tend to use sensei or dono though.
      • Kazuma is also called 'Shihan' by his young martial arts charges (except Kyo). The translator's note says that Shihan = Shishou.
  • In InuYasha, Kagome initially calls Sango "Sango-san" during their first conversation, but Sango suggests that she just call her "Sango." Afterward, the two use "-chan" on each other. Miroku uses "-dono" for pretty much every woman he meets except for Sango. Inuyasha, as the resident Jerk with a Heart of Gold, uses honorifics for no one, but does call Kaede and Myouga "Kaede-baabaa" and "Myouga-jiijii," which in both cases is a rude comment on their age (Kaede lampshades the rudeness); Kagome uses the more affectionate "Kaede-baachan" and "Myouga-jiichan," roughly equivalent to calling them "Grandma Kaede" and "Grandpa Myouga."
  • In Nagasarete Airantou, Kagami (a 27-year old woman with a very girly mind) insists the teenage Ikuto call her Kagami-chan, actually attacking him when he refers to her as Kagami-san. This is to contrast her with her far more mature eleven-year-old daughter.
  • In Paprika, Atsuko Chiba claims to be annoyed when Tokita addresses her as At-chan. Although one initially assumes that it's because such a form of address is way too intimate between co-workers, it later turns out that it's because she herself is in love with him.
  • Kirby of the Stars: Meta Knight addresses Escargon (and Kirby in earlier episodes) with -dono.
    • He's also called Meta Knight-kyou by nearly everyone, and simply "Kyou" or "Tono" by his subordinates. In general, "-kyou" is the honorific used for knights in the series.
    • Fumu is referred to as Fumu-sama by Kine (and sometimes Sword or Blade), and as Fumu-tan by her creepy otaku stalkers.
  • Lordgenome (yes, one word) is either called this or Genome-sama. However, there's at least one occasion where he's called Lordgenome-sama...
    • Kamina also refers to himself repeatedly as Kamina-sama. And when he first names Lagann, he uses "Lagann-sama".
    • Then there's Andine's habit of addressing the protagonists with "ningen-domo"note . She also calls Nia hime-sama. ("Princess")
      • Nia herself addresses Lordgenome as "otousama" ("Lord Father")
      • "Hime" is actually more a normal word than an honorific, and so is itself able to take honorifics. It's indeed almost always used as "hime-sama".
    • In the epilogue, Simon calls the boy bozu who in turn calls him ojiisan. He's not offended by it since he's in his forties at the time.
  • Mahou Sensei Negima!:
    • An example of using 'kun' on females: Takamichi refers to all his students in this manner. Asuna-kun, Konoe-kun etc.
    • Various ways in which Negi's students address Negi (nobody, of course, ever using his last name!):
      • The polite ones (e.g. Nodoka, Chachamaru) address him with -sensei.
      • More frivolous ones (e.g. Makie) address him with -kun.
      • Some of them (particularly those who have somewhat patronizing attitude towards him, like Kaede or Chao) use the -bozu suffix, creating both an expression of playful endearment and a Punny Name, since the full name Negi-bozu can also be translated as 'Onion-head'.
    • Negi himself refers to all of the girls as -san, since he's a Keigo user; the time he referred to a girl merely by her name ("Anya"), the girls actually were worried since it was obvious he felt close enough to her to drop honorifics.
    • There was also another incident involving yobisute, but that was almost entirely for the sake of humor.
    • Sayo uses the -san honorific for all her colleagues, probably because this was the social norm in the year 1940 when she died. She even adds the -san honorific to Nodoka's affectionate nickname "Hon'ya" ("bookstore keeper") with wich -chan naturally goes.
  • In Sayonara, Zetsubou-Sensei, protagonist Nozomu is called Itoshiki-sensei by his class, which creates some confusion when Kafuka meets his identical twin brother, a doctor, who would also be addressed as "sensei", who she initially confuses for him. The girls address each other as x-chan, and in one instance, when Nozomu's sister is addressed this way by a student who has only met her once, she gives a dirty look. In one episode/chapter, Nozomu "becomes" a high school student again, and is thus addressed as Itoshiki-kun.
  • Because his Li persona is so seemingly harmless and adorkable, Black Shinigami Hei of Darker Than Black is generally addressed as "Li-kun" by Hero Antagonist Kirihara when interacting with him in that identity.
  • In The Tatami Galaxy, the nameless protagonist is always addressed as "sempai" by potential love-interest Akashi, since he's a bit older than her.
  • The English title of Desert Punk is a translation of Sunabōzu.
  • In Hayate the Combat Butler, title character Hayate uses the -san title for everyone, in keeping with their high-class standing, including Nishizawa who sees herself as lower in stature, except Nagi and Sakuya, who he calls 'Oujo-sama'. Nagi is his master, but there seems to be no forthcoming explanation for why Sakuya is included.
    • When he gave Athena the childhood nickname of 'A-Tan', it was pointed out how the nickname made her name longer to write out.
  • -me is dropped left and right in Digimon Xros Wars. Even Akari, the resident Team Mom, does not abstain.
    • Blastmon also calls Tactimon "Tac-chan". The implications of this are still unclear.
  • In the first season of K-On!, Sawako, who was, at the time, the Light Music Club's advisor but not any of the club members' teacher, was referred to by the girls as 'Sawa-chan'. Much to her dismay, however, when she did end up becoming their homeroom teacher in the second season, the girls continued calling her 'Sawa-chan', prompting the other students to follow suit. Yui sometimes goes to the trouble of calling her 'Sawa-chan-sensei'.
    • When Ui tried to impersonate Yui so she could fill in for her sick sister, one of the things that threw up a flag that something was off was that she called Azusa "Azusa-chan" instead of the nickname "Azu-nyan", and can't guess her nickname when challenged. In the anime, she also adds "-san" to "Ritsu" and "Tsumugi" instead of the more familiar "Rit-chan" and "Mugi-chan". Not the clincher, but it made Sawako's claim that "Yui" was Ui right afterwards (Ui's chest is bigger) easier to buy.
    • Ui normally calls her older sister's childhood friend "Nodoka-san" around other people who also do so, but she occassionally lets her formality slip and calls her with a "-chan", such as when it's just the three of them, or when she's congratulating Nodoka on getting into the school of her choice. This latter example confirms Azusa's suspicions that they're like sisters.
    • When Nodoka jokingly wonders if Yui and Ui didn't come out in the wrong order, the two briefly play the roles, Yui calling Ui "Onee-chan!", and Ui calling her "wittle Yui-chan".
    • When Ritsu is about to give Megumi a giftnote  for bringing study guides, she calls her "-dono".
    • In K On High School, Jun calls her brother Atsushi "At-chan". Nao is apparently surprised at this.
  • Toward the end of SHUFFLE!, Asa makes Rin stop calling her "Asa-senpai" after they get into a relationship, and he starts calling her "Asa-san" instead.
  • In Bakuman。, Fukuda finds it odd that Nakai is calling Nizuma, the author for whom they both work as assistants, “-sensei”, even though he's 17 years older than he is; Fukuda tends to use "-shisho" on Nizuma. Mashiro also finds it a bit strange that Takahama, one of his assistants, uses “-sensei” on him, and Takahama starts calling him "Mashiro-san" instead. The main characters are surprised to see that one of their assistants is female (despite having told Miyoshi that they would be male) because Miura used "-kun" on their last names.
  • In ''Hidamari Sketch X365", when Miyako calls Yuno "Yuno-chan", Yuno tells her she doesn't need to add the "-chan", so Miyako tries out her name with various honorifics and suffixes, of which only "-pi" (the "cutesy for small pets" one) is currently listed here. Then Yuno addresses Miyako, who responds "Nani, Yunocchi?" This causes a light show which expresses approval of this honorific.
    • When the main characters go to a bathhouse (in both the anime and the manga) they see "masa no yu" written in kanji on the chimney outside. But then they see it written on curtains in hiragana, intended to be read as columns of one letter each (right to left). Yuno and Miyako mistakenly read it as though it were intended to be read horizontally (left to right), i.e. "Yuno-sama" Yuno is shocked, and Miyako wonders why she's a VIP there.
    • Yuno's "-cchi" is sometimes left off when her hair decorations aren't on. One time, Miyako put them in her own hair, prompting Yuno to call her "Miyacchi?!"
    • When Yuno and Miyako are looking for dried squid to bring Sae, Yuno finds a package calling the contents "Ika-kun". In the manga, Miyako says she doesn't think it's an honorific in this case; in the anime, she explains that it probably means "jerky".
    • When the girls are watching the Show Within a Show Lovely Detective Chocolat, the girls muse that Chocoyama is getting too old to be called "-kun".
    • Miyako sometimes switches up when referring to Nori ("Noripe", "Norisuke"), throwing her off a bit.
  • In CLANNAD, honorifics are important in a variety of situations:
    • Tomoya's father starts calling him "Tomoya-kun" instead of just "Tomoya" after they got in a bad fight. It made Tomoya feel like a stranger to his father, and the relationship only went downhill for the next several years.
    • Kotomi Ichinose insists on being called "Kotomi-chan", and literally does not respond to anything else. This very familiar form of address is pretty awkward for most people meeting her for the first time, which may be one reason why she doesn't have any friends. This goes along with her childish nature in general. This is also a plot point when it's Tomoya who she asks to call her "Kotomi-chan", as it turns out that Kotomi was his childhood friend.
    • Sanae generally refers to her husband as "Akio-san", and Akio himself lampshades this at one point. However, this probably indicates more playfulness than coldness in their relationship, as they are quite Happily Married.
  • Keroro refers to everyone in the Hinata family by the respectful honorific -dono. Yes, even Natsumi (who constantly abuses him).
  • Samurai 7 has a very frequent use of -dono, which is preserved in the English dub. One clearly deliberate use of it is that Heihachi will add that to the name of the peasant-born Kikuchiyo when he wants to flatter him.
  • During Gundam SEED Ace Pilot Mwu La Flaga addresses newbie Kira Yamato as "Bozu" in the Japanese dub. Kira refers to him as "-sempai".
  • Just count how many times Alphonse Elric says nii-san while watching Brotherhood.
  • Shinji of Neon Genesis Evangelion never uses anything other than san. Even then, he only uses it to adults and never uses honorifics within his own age group. He in turn receives kun from everyone else. Even Rei who never uses honorifics to anyone but a simple last name + rank addressing.
    • Gendo never uses honorifics. The only exception is his old professor, Fuyutsuki, whom he calls "Fuyutsuki-sensei".
    • Ritsuko is alternatively called hakase and senpai by Maya. The latter is almost never used by anyone else, except Asuka briefly calling Kaji senpai in episode 8.
      • In the English dub of End of Evangelion, it should be noted that in the Instrumentality sequence, Maya does not say "Senpai! Senpai! Senpai!" as in the original, but rather, repeats her superior's name several times. Notably, she was implied to be secretly love with Ritsuko, so yeah.
    • Interestingly, the admiral in episode 8 uses kun with KAJI, of all people. The "-kun" is not a term of endearment (usually) so in this context it probably refers to the fact that Kaji is both younger than the admiral and a civilian.
    • The only exception to the rule regarding Shinji is Kaworu, whom he calls "Kaworu-kun".
  • While Steins;Gate doesn't have any particularly unusual uses of honorifics, there is one scene that bears mentioning: during conversation, Kurisu casually refers to the protagonist by his first name, Okabe, with no honorific. When he flies into a rage, she hastily tries to explain that, despite how he view their relationship (scientist -> assistant), she doesn't actually have any respect for him. Even though it turns out he's only angry because she called him "Okabe" rather than "Kyouma" and couldn't care less about honorifics, the fact that she was genuinely afraid he was about to start beating her over it does illustrate just how seriously this can be taken over there.
  • In Mai-Otome, when Yukino calls out "Haruka-chan!" after Haruka falls off a cliff (having forgotten to get permission to activate her GEM from Yukino), Haruka tells her that she "told (her) not to use -chan in public", as Yukino tends to call Haruka "Meister Haruka" or "Brigadier General" when on official business. Mashiro tends to not use honorifics on anyone, but uses "-me" on Nagi after learning about how horrific his plan really is toward the end. Mashiro is also called "Mashiro-chan" by Arika and Mai, but never complains about this.
    • Shiho uses "-san" on most of her classmates and juniors, regardless of whether she's trying to be polite. However, when Rosalie (a senior Otome with whom she does not get along), laughs at her when she trips during a confrontation with her, Shiho screams Rosalie's name without honorifics.
  • In Mai-HiME, Akira is still called "-kun" even after being revealed as a girl. Natsuki is also the only person Shizuru does not use honorifics on, which is a sign of their closeness.
  • In Saint Beast, while the god Zeus is called Zeus-sama by most angels, some of the high-rank angels will use -dono for both Zeus and each other to convey (often sarcastic) respect without belittling their own station. When not making subtle digs at each other they almost always drop honorifics altogether, whether friends or enemies.
  • In G Gundam, Domon used to refer to Master Asia as Shishou since he was his mentor and martial arts teacher, but stopped doing so after Asia's Face-Heel Turn. Since Domon has very rough speech patterns (he uses ore and omae to refer to himself and others, and almost never uses honorifics on people unless they're highly-ranked), he calls Master Asia by full name from then on, which is seen as Domon losing all of his respect for Asia. When Domon calls him shishou again, it's when the old man is actually dying, and Asia himself is very surprised at that fact. "After all I've done to you... do you still respect me and call me 'master'?")
    • Similarly, Domon referred to his brother Kyouji as "Oniisan", and reverted to calling him by name too due to hating him after his Face-Heel Turn. After learning the truth of his involvement from Kyoji's clone Schwarz Bruder, he refers to Kyouji again as "Niisan". And when he has to Mercy Kill both Kyouji and his clone Schwarz, he breaks down crying and screams "NIIIISAAAAAAAAAN!".
  • In Gundam Wing, Dorothy always refers to Relena with -sama. At their first meeting Relena specifically asked her not do do this, despite the fact that it's appropriate since she's a princess, but Dorothy refuses to since "how else would I call you?". On the other hand, she doesn't mind when Noin or Quatre call her that, so it might be that she knows Dorothy (who is The Mole) is using it facetiously. The English dub renders all instances of this as "Miss Relena".
    • In an earlier episode, Duo greet Relena as Jouou-san, a respectful term for a young woman of high social standingnote ; the dub changed this to "Hey, good-lookin'!", presumably more in line with how they were trying to portray Duo.
  • In Digimon Tamers the twins, Ai and Makoto, refer to each other without honorifics both pre and post Character Development. It seems to be a sign of closeness for them.
  • In Futari Ecchi the young Happily Married couple Makoto and Yura keep calling each other using the honorific "-san". (Oh, yes, even while having sex!) In one episode Makoto's colleagues at work laugh at this fact, considering it too old-fashioned and possibly a sign of Makoto's submissiveness towards Yura. This makes him try to behave towards Yura like a typical dominant macho Japanese husband, but comically fails at this.
  • The Hitaachin twins often attach "-dono/tono" to Tamaki's name, teasing his status as "King" of the Host Club.
  • In Shinryaku! Ika Musume, when the title character isn't called straight "Ika Musume", she's called Ika-neechan (dubbed to "Squid Girlie") by Takeru, and "Ika-chan" ("Squiddie") by her #1 fanfin-girl Sanae, and her best friend Kiyomi.
    • Also, when Nagisa is pretending not to be afraid of Ika anymore, she calls her "-senpai".
  • In GA Geijutsuka Art Design Class, Miyabi calls even her friends "-dono".
    • When Miki is affecting a Kyoto accent, she uses "-han" with Namiko's name.
  • Yuri Tokikago of Mawaru-Penguindrum refers to her own fiancé as "Tabuki-kun" rather than his first name, even when no one else is around and despite them knowing each other since primary school. It might at first seem like an extension of her Ojou persona, but late in the series it turns out to have been foreshadowing of the fact that their relationship is fake, and Tabuki is The Beard to her. She also refers to Ringo as "Ringo-chan", likely due to Ringo's extreme youth and because she sees her as a borderline Replacement Goldfish for Momoka, Ringo's dead sister and Yuri's first love whom she's still mourning for.
    • Ringo refers to the Takakura boys by name and attaching "-kun", since they're on the same age bracket; she also calls their sister "Himari-chan", since Himari is younger than her. On the other hand, Shouma and Kanba call her "Oginome-san" (likely to be polite and to keep some distance from her, like they do with almost everyone else) and Himari refers to her as "Ringo-chan".
    • Masako is a high-class girl with VERY formal speech patterns, and she refers to almost everyone as "-san". Including her maid Renjaku and her little brother Mario. The only one she doesn't use this with is Kanba, whom she uses yobisute with because they're Half-Identical Twins.
  • Captain Tsubasa gives rather interesting spins on the trope, depending heavily on who is talking. On one hand we have Nice Guy Tsubasa, Misaki and Princely Young Man Misugi, who are rather soft-spoken and refer to their fellow sport boys as "-kun". On the other side of the spectre there's low-class Self-Made Man Kojiro Hyuuga, who uses yobisute aka no pronouns with people his age. In the middle there's Genzo Wakabayashi, who also is a Princely Young Man but, unlike Misugi, tends to use yobisute with others.
  • Hanamichi Sakuragi from Slam Dunk uses honorifics (more exactly, "-san") almost exclusively towards women — complete with rather polite speech patterns, indicating his Gentle Giant side. In regards to his gangster friends, Sakuragi resorts to yobisute aka referring to them without any pronouns, which exemplifies their True Companions bond. And towards all other dudes... well, he's The Nicknamer, but some of these nicknames do include honorifics (Kogure is "Megane-kun" and heterosexual life partner Miyagi is "Ryou-chin", both very affectionate by Sakuragi's standards, while OTOH Deadpan Snarker ex-Delinquent Mitsui is "Micchin" specifically to piss Mitsui off.) And if Sakuragi absolutely has to use the dude's real name, he'll go for yobisute.
  • Satoko Houjou from Higurashi no Naku Koro ni frequently uses the nickname "nii-nii" (derived from O-niisan) when referring to her older brother, or Keiichii in some arcs. This carries over to the English dub without any explanation other than it's extremely cute and endearing.
    • She also uses "nee-nee" (derived from O-neesan) when referring to Shion at least once in Kai. (It wasn't dubbed, just noteworthy)
  • In Durarara!!, Izaya refers to Shizuo as "Shizu-chan" (dubbed as Shizzy) while Shizuo refers to Izaya as "Izaya-kun." Both cases come from the utter contempt they feel for each other.
  • In Girl Friends, the first chapter depicts Akko, a fellow classmate Mari had never really interacted with, suddenly talking to Mari out of nowhere and whisking her away to go hang out with her...and referring to her as 'Mari-chin'. Mari expresses much confusion mentally, but is so overwhelmed by everything Akko is doing, and is just pretty shy in general, so she doesn't say anything outwardly.
  • In Hikaru no Go, the regulars at the Go salon refer to 12-year-old Akira as "Akira-sensei." This isn't ironic; he's really that good.
  • Practically all of Lala's inventions in To Love-Ru are referred to with "-kun", despite them being lifeless tools; "Maru-Maru Change-kun", "Go-Go Vacuum-kun", "Suke-Suke Goggle-kun", etc.
  • Nichijou brings us Sakamoto, a talking cat who regularly insists that his owners Professor and Nano call him "Sakamoto-san". Unfortunately, whenever he addresses this, the duo call him "Sakamoto" without the "-san" several more times out of ignorance until he flips his shit over it.
  • In Saki
    • Koromo gets annoyed when people treat her like a kid, such as when Saki, who's a year younger than she is, calls her "Koromo-chan".
    • Professional Mahjong players are typically referred to by their last name and "-pro". Amusingly enough, in Saki Biyori, when Sukoya Kokaji and Kouko Fuyuko go to a restaurant and Kouko registers their names, the waitress calls out to Sukoya as "Kokaji-pro-sama", and Sukoya wondered why her name was written down with "pro" on the end.
  • Girls und Panzer
    • Yukari tends to address most of her friends by their last name and "-dono", which is noted as being strange and overly formal in-universe. This is partly because Yukari didn't have many friends due to her obsessive interest in tankery, and partly out of her extreme respect for Miho, the main person she addresses this way.
      • In the manga, Saori calls her "Yukarin" (see -chin in the description), which is her first nickname. This spaces her out such that she can't tell she's leaving the others behind.
    • Interestingly enough, Hana's mother, who speaks very formally, uses "-san" on her own daughter's first name.
  • One notable example in Bakemonogatari is a sequence in which Senjougahara asks Araragi to call her "Senjougahara-sama", and he replies by sarcastically calling her "Senjougahara-chan" and promptly gets poked in his eyes.
  • Ghostinthe Shell Stand Alone Complex
    • Major Motoko Kusanagi is almost universally addressed as "Shousa", a reflection of her prior JGSDF rank (she also wears a JGSDF uniform in lieu of police dress uniform), rather than any part of her name. The lone exception is Batou'S thorough mocked "MOTOKOOOO!!!" moment, and the Major's girlfriends, who also use the name.
    • Members of her team, however, are referred to with "-san" rather than any sort of rank (even though at least three others were previously in the military before Section 9).
  • In Tonari no Kashiwagi-san it's discussed by Kazuki and Sayaka once their relationship advances enough. He goes through "Sayaka", "Sayaka-chan", and "Sayaka-san", with various negative responses from her, before settling on simply "Saya", which causes her to blush, when deciding what to call her after they've been dating for a while.

    Film 
  • "Sensei" has been used unadorned in English since the kung-fu craze of the '70s, used as an equivalent for "master".
    • Same goes for "-san", especially ever since Miyagi-sensei started calling Daniel Larusso "Daniel-san".
  • "Sempai" and "Kohai" were sprinkled liberally throughout the movie of Michael Chrichton's Rising Sun by Sean Connery (the Sempai) and Wesley Snipes (the Kohai).
  • In You Only Live Twice, Tanaka addresses 007 as 'Bond-san'.

    Live Action TV 
  • Alex calls Nikita "Sensei" in the revamped version of the show starring Maggie Q as Nikita.
  • In Kamen Rider Fourze, protagonist Gentaro refers to all his friends with yobisute, partly to reflect his image as a yanki, partly because he's all about The Power of Friendship, and maybe partly due to the copious American influence on the show. He even does it with people he wants to befriend, as seen in episode 8 where he calls Shun Daimonji just "Shun", in spite of the fact that Daimonji is actively antagonizing him. In the previous episode, he does this with the detention teacher and is forced to study while doing a handstand as punishment.
  • In one of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer novels, Giles gets "Watcher-San" and "Giles-Sensei".
  • In Angel Gunn shows off his Japanese skills, addressing a businessman as Morimoto-San.

    Video Games 
  • In Disgaea, Laharl start to use yobisute on Flonne after a particular event in the story.
  • In Red Steel, the player character is often called "Scott-san", and Tony Tanaka calls Sato "Sato-sama".
  • In Mass Effect 1, Maeko Matsuo, the chief of security for the corporate stronghold on Noveria, freely uses honorifics in her otherwise straight English speech. She even uses -sama to refer to the Salarian director of the place, as well as Matriarch Benezia after the geth start springing their attacks. Since Mass Effect is a Canadian-made game, this is either an example of Shown Their Work or just an indication of otaku on the dev team. Given the presence of universal translators, probably the latter.
  • In both Persona 3 and Persona 4, all honorifics were left in the English localization.
    • One worthy of note: In 3, Junpei consistently calls Yukari "Yuka-tan". Aside from showing how little politeness he possesses, it's also a heck of a bad pun.
      • In the Japanese version he instead calls her "Yukaricchi". Presumably this was changed due to "-tan" being rather more familiar to English-speaking fans.
  • In Wing Commander, Mariko "Spirit" Tanaka refers to Christopher Blair as "Blair-san", and the colonel on the ship as "Colonel-sama," even while speaking English. She does not do this in Wing Commander II...much.
  • The English version of Shenmue features the cast using honorifics.
    • But everyone in Ryo's town always refers to him as "Baby-boy Ryo", much to his dismay.
  • The placeholder item in Pokémon Gold and Silver is called "Teru-Sama", which means the rather nonsensical "Lord Sunshine". However, this may simply be a misspelling of "Teru-Tama" ("Sunshine Ball"), which makes more sense because it is treated by the game as the GS Ball.
  • In the Japanese version of Final Fantasy Tactics A2 mission "A Bride for Montblanc", Montblanc call Fras (Furansoa in that case) with -chan, while Fras calls Montblanc with -sama. It's possible that Montblanc is older than her, which the Vieras's life expectancy is three times longer than the Hume's.
  • Final Fantasy VI: Cyan's way of speech in the Japanese version is peppered with the phrase "de gozaru", which is typically used by samurai (his class) in media. This became the basis for his use of medieval terminology like "thou" in the Woolsey-penned script.
  • In Mega Man X8, Pallette, a newly-recruited Bridge Bunny, addresses X with a truncated "Ekku-san".
    • In Mega Man Zero, most people address X as "X-sama", appropriate for the ruler of Neo Arcadia. This is usually rendered as "master X" in English. Vile-sama, on the other hand, becomes "Lord Weil". In a drama track, Harpuia realizes that the Eight Gentle Judges are not themselves when they refer to Vile this way.
    • Here's an analysis of the honorifics and pronouns used in the original Japanese version of Mega Man Battle Network. The translation did manage to adapt some of them, such as the high formality of Yai's Navi and programs.
    • In the Battle Network anime, Meijin (Mr. Famous) is always called Meijin-san, which he thinks is unnecessary; he always replies "No need for formalities." The English has him insist that "It's just Famous." He has no such objections in the games.
  • In Grand Theft Auto Liberty City Stories, Toshiko typically calls Tony "Toni-san".
  • In Shining Force, Nova usually address Max as "Max-dono".
  • In Katawa Shoujo, despite the story being set in Japan, almost nobody uses honorifics. The most blatant case of their use would be Misha, who attaches "-chan" to her close friends's names: "Hicchan" for Hisao, "Shicchan" for Shizune, "Yucchan" for Yuuko, etc.
  • In The King of Fighters: Kyo, we have Kyo Kusanagi referring to his older cousin Souji as "Souji-san". Keep in mind that Kyo is a rather rough speaker and uses yobisute with almost everyone, so this shall give you an idea of how highly he thinks of Souji.
    • Several people call Kyo by his name and with yobisute. Each case lays parallels about First Name Basis in Japanese: i.e. Yuki's "Kyo" is affectionate and sweet, Iori's "Kyo" is about him taking their Feuding Families and rivalry VERY personally, Daimon and Benimaru's "Kyo" comes from their bond as Fire-Forged Friends and True Companions, Kensou's "Kyo" is playful since they're fellow fighters, etc.
    • Kyo's fanboy and sort-of apprentice Shingo Yabuki refers to him as "Kusanagi-san".
    • Athena, who is quite a polite speaker compared to others, calls Kyo "Kyo-san" since he's older than her and one of the strongest fighters around. Actually she tends to use "-san" on almost everyone (Iori, Kim, Terry, etc.); the closest to exceptions are Bao, Momoko and Kensou, who get yobisute from her.
  • In Danganronpa, the Otaku Hifumi Yamada refers to pretty much everyone with the outdated "-dono". It's a plot point after his murder.
    • Similarly, the Fortune Teller Yasuhiro Hagakure uses "-chi" (diminutive of "-chin") for the others.
  • This is a gameplay mechanic in some installments of the Tokimeki Memorial series; choosing the wrong honorific when addressing a potential love interest may have unfortunate consequences.
    • In particular, a couple of the characters from Tokimemo 2 have an unusual aversion to being called "<name>-chan", and prefer the player to address them in yobisute even when their relationship isn't that close (the expected progression would be from -san to -chan and finally yobisute). Examples include Homura and, unusually, Kaori.
  • In beatmania IIDX 20 tricoro, the Professor always addresses the player's Q-pro character with "-kun", even if the player has designed the character to be female.
  • In Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney - Dual Destinies , Simon Blackquill, a prosecutor who's also a convict and something of a Samurai, sometimes refers to the attorneys as "-dono" in the English version, when he's not making up various nicknames for them.

    Web Original 
  • In the Whateley Universe, Generator (deceased Japanese mother and trying to regain her lost culture) uses these: Chaka-sempai (her martial arts tutor), onee-san and onee-sama for her roommate Billie who she treats like a big sister, ...

    Webcomics 
  • In General Protection Fault, Nick addresses Ki's Japanese-born father (now Nick's father-in-law) as "Oshiro-sama" (Oshiro being his family name). Mr. Oshiro usually calls Nick "gaijin".
    • He calls him "Nick-san" when apologizing to him. He initially starts out referring to his daughter Ki as "Kyoko-san," having lost a bet to determine whether Ki would get a Japanese or Chinese name, but is eventually persuaded to call her "Ki-chan."
  • Another Western example: Nick from Skin Horse appears to have started calling Unity "zombie-chan".

    Western Animation 
  • The Japanese dub of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic for some bizarre reason avoid using too many honorifics, even the ones for addresing important people: Both Celestia and Luna are addressed in Japanese as Princess Celestia and Princess Luna in English (instead of Celestia-hime and Luna-hime) and even when they're mentioned, the rest of the cast calls them Princess instead of hime-sama, Celestia-sama, etc. The same goes to Granny Smith, as she's called as such, instead of Smith-obaa-san.
  • The Japanese dub of The Simpsons is pretty inconsistent about the use of honorifics: The biggest offenders are the titular family themselves: Lisa in Japanese address Bart sometimes as Onii-chan (Big Brother) and sometimes address him by his name without honorifics. Marge addresses both Bart and Lisa (but not Maggie, oddly enough) as Bart-kun and Lisa-chan and sometimes drops the honorifics entirely.
    • For some reason, Barney Gumble is addressed as Mr. Gumble in English in the dub, rather than Gumble-san.
    • The only character who use honorifics in continuous fashion is Apu, who use Keigo to simulate his Indian accent.

    Others 
  • Duel Academy R 2 players uses Japanese Honorifics when appropriate.
  • Japanese honorifics are used in Japanese translations of The Bible, mostly as a Woolseyism, but, oddly enough, rarely used in Japanese translations of The Qur'an, especially when the prophet Muhammad or Allah are involved. As an example, Muhammad is never addressed in Japanese as Muhammad-samanote , but Yogensha Muhammad instead (literally the Prophet Muhammad). In the same way, Allah is always Allah, never Allah-sama.note 
    • On the other hand, Japanese Christians doesn't have any qualms to address Jesus Christ as Jesus/Iesu-sama (the same rule applies to any Christian saint and sometimes with his apostles) and God as kami-sama, despite the name is normally used to address any kind of god, regardless the religion involved.
    • If Kami-sama is mentioned without any qualifiers it is Abrahamic God (usually Christian, though), no exception.

It Can't Be HelpedUsefulNotes/Japanese LanguageOba-san
Gender and Japanese LanguageUseful NotesJapanese Pronouns

alternative title(s): Japanese Honorifics
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