Let’s talk about Family in Japanese

Let’s talk about Family

The term ‘Family’ in Japanese is composed of Father, Mother, and Children. The Japanese Family is traditionally patriarchal.

The Japanese term for Family is かぞく or ごかぞく。 ごかぞく is a term used for Family members of a family other than ones own.

The Kanji of かぞく is the combination of the Kanji of house いえ() and clan/tribe ぞく()


Let’s learn the terms for Family:

Family –  (kazoku)

Parents – りょ (ryoushin)

I –  (watashi)



Formal term

Informal term













Elder Brother



Elder Sister



Younger Brother



Younger Sister
















As you can see both, Grandfather and Uncle have almost the same Japanese term. The ‘じい’ in Grandfather is pronounced longer than the ‘’ in Uncle. Same as the Japanese term for Grandmother and Aunt. The ‘ばあ’ in Grandmother is pronounced longer than the ‘’ in Aunt. Sometimes, it can be mistranslated as mostly Japanese speaks fast, that’s why, always be careful when speaking.


In Anime, we always hear the words ‘じじ’ and ‘ばば’. These terms are casual terms used for close family members but in Anime, these terms are translated into old person, like じじ as ‘Grandpa’ or ‘old man’ while ‘ばば’ as ‘Grandma’ or ‘old woman’.


Young children often call their parents as ‘パパ’ and ‘ママ’. But as they grow up, they call their parents as ‘おとうさん’ and ‘おかあさん’. Some calls their parents as ‘おとうちゃん’ and ’かちゃん’.  These terms are more like an affection towards their parents, less formality. In Anime, we always hear ‘おやじ’ for Father. Mostly men (boys) call their father as ‘おやじ’.


For older brother and sister, we often hear younger ones calling them as ‘おにいちゃん’ and おねえちゃん’ or ‘あにさん’ and ‘おねさん’. In some brotherhood group of youngsters or underground group, calls their older brother or person they looked up to as ‘あにき’. We often hear this term in Anime.


Other terms:

Grandchildren –  (mago)

Great Grandchildren – (himago)

Cousins – (itoko)

Relatives – (Shinseki)

Son – (musuko)

Daughter –  (musume)

That's all for today. 

This is Ringo. 

If you want to learn my previous post, you can check it through the link below: 

Related Topic:
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📙 Nationality and Language in Japanese

Japanese Kanji:
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📘 Kanji: 空
📘 Kanji: 気

Japanese Grammar:
📗 Monthly Grammar 2023: Animals in a sentence Part I
📗 Monthly Grammar: Part III – Appreciating someone
📗 Monthly Grammar: Part II – Age in Japanese Conversation

Latest Update May 18, 2024