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Anonymous
Anonymous asked in Society & CultureLanguages · 1 decade ago

In Japan, what is the proper way to address everyone? First Name -san or last name? In person or email only?

plz offer some overview for good business conduct for my work.

By the way, what does -san even mean?

In some emails, I've seen Japanese colleagues use both my first name -san and then their last name -san so im confused.

thanks very much.

5 Answers

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    Keep in mind that a Japanese speaker may not be entirely sure which is your given name and which is your surname. -san can be attached to either. You should use the Japanese person's surname unless you come to consider that person a friend. -san doesn't really "mean" anything. It is a suffix attached to a person's name to indicate respect, roughly like "Mr./Mrs/Miss" -- but not quite. There are other suffixes for other occasions and people: -sama for very important people, -kun for close male friends, -chan for kids and people you want to be very familiar with.

  • 1 decade ago

    If it is a business situation, I would recommend using last name + san in speech and last name + first name + sama in e-mails.

    For e-mails, one common way to start would be to put the full name + sama, then write a letter generally talking about the weather and then transitioning into your business reason for writing. Also be as polite as possible (about ten times more than if you were writing an American) and your Japanese colleague should be very impressed by your Japanese-ness.

    Examples translated into English:

    1) Writing to an American:

    "I would like to take next Friday off from work."

    2) Writing to a Japanese:

    "Dear Sir. I am terrible sorry to bother you with my letter but as I have a personal matter of great importance that I must attend to this Friday, I would greatly appreciate it if it would somehow be possible to request that I might take that day off from work. I am very sorry and have no excuse for troubling you with my personal matter but hope that this might be possible. Thank you again for taking the time read my e-mail."

  • ?
    Lv 4
    5 years ago

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    weel yes and no. Kids in school will call one another by last name but use a diffrent name suffix like Kun or Chan -Kun is for a boy who is your friend or a young boy in general -chan is for a young girl in general or a girl that is your friend. with Kun and chan you can use a last name or first name Ex Adachi-chan ,Shinagawa-kun (last names) Ex. Mari-chan, Takeshi-kun(first names) However there is the suffix san which is polite such as we in the west use Mr. or Miss So generaly san is used with a last name Ex. Takehama-san, Maruyama-san In short yes they do ^_^ and your right it depends on how well you know a person

  • 1 decade ago

    last name-san is more common but first name-san works too

    you can use it for both in person and through email

    -san is the equivelant to the english mr. mrs. and miss

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  • 1 decade ago

    (family name) - san

    Source(s): me.
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