Japanese Pronouns

Japanese Pronouns


What is Pronoun? According to Thesaurus.com, Pronoun is a pronoun used to refer to a speaker or the people/things that a speaker is referring to. It replaces a noun in a sentence. There are seven types of pronouns namely: the personal pronoun, the demonstrative pronoun, the interrogative pronoun, the relative pronoun, the indefinite pronoun, the reflexive pronoun, and the intensive pronoun. But today, I will only talk about personal pronouns.  

In Japan, pronouns can be omitted in a sentence if both speaker and the person the speaker is referring to know the context of the sentence. Also, pronouns give importance to hierarchy, like respect for elders, seniority, or social order. It denotes the characteristics of the speaker or the person talking to like age, gender, and their relationships.  

Pronoun in Japanese is (代名詞)read as Daimeishi.

Our focus for today’s blog is:



Personal Pronoun


Watashi  わたし ()  

è  This is the most used Japanese pronoun for ‘I’. It is both formal and informal. Formal when a male uses わたし in a sentence but a casual usage for women.

わたくし ()

è  It is both very formal and polite personal pronouns. Mostly used on official or business occasions. If you want to be polite, instead of using わたし, you can use わたくし. わたし and わたくし have the same Kanji.


Washi わし () or Ware われ ()

è  these pronouns are mostly used by elderly people. For younger ones, this is very formal.


Atashi あたし

è It is an altered word from わたし. It is an informal personal pronoun used by the younger generation mostly young females. Do not use this word when talking to anyone other than your friends. It is even rude to use this when talking to one of your older family members.

Bokuぼく ()

è Used mostly by Males. It is an informal word of わたしfor males.  It gives an impression of being modest when a male uses it. If you are female, do not use this word.

Ore おれ ()

è This is used by Males only, usually in an informal setting. But do not use this word when talking to someone older than you or a person in a higher position. It will be interpreted as rudeness.


Personal Pronoun


Anata あなた (貴方)

è This is the equivalent of You in English. あなた is sometimes omitted in a sentence, and the person’s name is replaced followed by the honorific suffix. It can be misinterpreted as being rude when it is used by addressing someone older or person in a higher position.

è It can also be translated to ‘Darling’ or ‘dear’ when the wife of a Japanese call him or a woman having or wanting an intimate relationship with a Japanese man.


è A short version of あなた. An impolite or informal way of saying You. It can only use among close friends.

Kimi きみ ()

è Can only use in an informal setting mostly to call subordinates or friends.  It is inappropriate when addressing senior people or strangers. The Kanji of きみ is the same as the honorific suffix when addressing a male’s name.

Omae おまえ (お前)

è Only used by males. It can be misinterpreted as rudeness when someone uses this word. Sometimes, husband calls their wives おまえ, a counterpart of あなた by the wives.

Χ  Preferably, avoid using the pronouns below for the word ‘You’.


è When these words are used, it expresses hostility toward another person. きさま used to be a formal word but now, it is very rude to use. In anime, we can always hear these words.


Personal Pronoun


Kare かれ ()

è Japanese pronoun for male (He). It can also be translated as a boyfriend (special male friend) in an informal setting.

Kanojo かのじょ (彼女)

è Japanese pronoun for female (She). It can also be translated as a girlfriend (special female friend) in an informal setting.

Plural form of personal pronouns:

When using the plural forms of each pronoun, we need to add the suffix for each pronoun. I will only use formal/informal pronouns.

To turn a personal pronoun to its plural form, use the suffix ~たち (~達). This suffix is the most common plural suffix. It can be added to any nouns that refer to people and animals. The other plural suffixes are ~がた and ~ら




Watashitachi わたしたち (私達)

è The plural form We. It can be used formally or in neutral.

Bokutachiぼくたち (僕たち)

è Plural form of ‘we’ used by males only.

Anatatachi あなたたち/ Anatagata あなたがた

è Plural form of You.  For formal plural use ~がた as the suffix. The usual plural form of ‘you’ is the suffix ~たち.

Karetachi かれたち (彼たち) / Karera かれら (彼ら)

è Plural form of ‘They’ of male groups.

Kanojotachi かのじょたち (彼女たち) / Kanojoraかのじょら (彼女ら)

è Plural form of ‘They’ of female groups.


Ø  あなた出身どこです
(Anata no shusshin ha doko desu ka?)

             Where are you from? (Where do you come from) 

è Let’s change あなた to a person’s name. We’ll use the name ‘Anna’.

Ø  アナさん出身どこです
(Anna-san no shusshin ha doko desu ka?)
Ms. Anna, where do you come from?


Ø  恋人です
(Kare ha watashi no koibito desu.)
He is my lover. 

This is Ringo!

And I'll see you soon! 

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>> Word of the week
>> Top social media platforms in Katakana Character
>> Japanese House

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