Family Members

Before learning how to say each family member in Japanese, we need to understand that, unlike in Portuguese, the words vary depending on whether we are talking about our own family or someone else's. But why is that? In the Japanese language, respect is an extremely important concept. Therefore, if we are referring to someone else's relative, we use a more respectful form; if we are talking about our own relative, we use a more humble form.

For example, if I am talking about my father to someone else, I would say "Chichi" (父). However, if I am talking about someone else's father, I would say "Otou-san" (お父さん). This latter form is also used to address primary family members directly.

Family Members in Japanese

In EnglishSomeone Else's FamilyMy FamilyAddressing Them
Older Brotherおにいさんあにおにいさん
Younger BrotherおとうとさんおとうとBy name
Older Sisterおねえさんあねおねえさん
Younger SisterいもうとさんいもうとBy name
HusbandごしゅじんおっとBy name or "you"
WifeおくさんかないBy name or "you"
ChildrenおこさんこどもBy names
SonむすこさんむすこBy name
DaughterおじょうさんむすめBy name
CousinいとこさんいとこBy name
NephewおいごさんおいBy name
NieceめいごさんめいBy name
GrandchildおまごさんまごBy name
Father-in-lawぎりのおとうさんぎりのちちBy name
Mother-in-lawぎりのおかあさんぎりのははBy name
Older Brother-in-lawぎりのおにいさんぎりのあにBy name
Younger Brother-in-lawぎりのおとうとさんぎりのおとうとBy name
Older Sister-in-lawぎりのおねえさんぎりのあねBy name
Younger Sister-in-lawぎりのいもうとさんぎりのいもうとBy name
Son-in-lawぎりのむすこさんぎりのむすこBy name
Daughter-in-lawぎりのおじょうさんぎりのむすめBy name

As with any language, there are exceptions and variations in Japanese family terms, much like in English. For instance, terms of endearment like "daddy" or "mommy" may be used in place of formal titles. However, the ones listed here represent the standard conventions. As you delve deeper into your Japanese studies, you'll encounter additional expressions and subtletie