Jun 13, 2011

How to use "you" in conversation

Getting some idea from everyone, especially thanks to Dave this time, I am going to write about how to use "you" in Japanese.

Japanese language has several choices for you to call a person you are talking to (you).
Let's take a look at what the GNT members use...

Omae(you) : Casual/impolite way of saying you (for man)
This is used from senior to junior or between friends. You won't hear it from junior to senior.

An example is in the Reaction Dice Game.
@6:30 From Matsumoto to Tanaka "Ja omae tanomu de!(So I'm counting on you!)
@7:30 From Matsutmoto to the staff "Omaera ! (Damn you guys !)"

Anata(you): Formal/polite way of saying you
As for anata, it is formal and polite, but somehow, we don't usually use this to seniors in verbal communications. You may sound kind of unnatural if you don't use it properly.
You may notice by watching the skits that they don't use anata so often. They usually just call their names instead. I think it is more natural. (But it does not mean its wrong to use anata. Just we don't use it so often.)

Not only omae and anata, we also have other ways of saying you, such as kimi, anta, kisama etc…but these are not very commonly used, and not recommended unless you exactly know what you are saying.

Kisama: You won't have a chance to use this, but some men use this to show their hate or disrespect to the other.
Anta: Almost same as omae, but usually used by woman. not recommended to use.
Kimi: Senior to junior. More polite than omae but not as common as omae

I'm sorry if I made you confused. And this is just my personal opinion, so other people may have different ideas about this.


  1. Whaddyaknow! I thought I had this all wrapped up, and now I hear kisama. I won't use it, I usually stick to kimi because anta and anata were confusing me a bit. I like omae, and thanks to you and Zurui for teaching me that through KiKi.
    Here's another if you want to explain this: Someone once told me that Minna can be used to express You (sing.), You (pl.), We, They and I. I've come to discover that this person has given a lot of oversimplified, if inaccurate information in the past so I'm just wondering. I'm more interested to know how a kid learns the difference between "minna genki" and any other uses, and if minna does in fact mean the same a boku, then why use boku or watashi.

  2. I'd refer to myself, in case i have to introduce myself, as "Ore-sama". I think it fits very well,suits the atmosphere, and the People would know "Oh f*ck, its him! IT'S ORE SAMA!"

    Ha... such a shiny appearance...wonderful, isn't it?

    And no eChie-chan, its not confusing, but I'd use kimi, don't no why. Of course with people I'm familiar with, but to speak with the person and constantly mention his/her name is kind of awkward.

    And a last reference : I'd be happy if you use hiragana or kanji; It's always used in the GnT Skits, and probably some people will learn a few things.


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