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The way I understand it 彼【かれ】 means 'that person over there' and あちら also means 'that person over there'

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I think OP's talking about the あちら as in あちら(さま)は、どなた(ですか)?-- the politer version of あの人/あの方/あちらにいる人 –  Choko May 29 at 8:02
    
For example, 彼は医者です and あちらは医者です. –  Daniel May 29 at 8:10
    
こちら means this person, so I asume あちら means that person –  Daniel May 29 at 8:11
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So, going back to my original question, what's the difference between 彼(かれ) and あちら? –  Daniel May 29 at 9:49
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彼(かれ) means "he". あちら has many meanings, including polite "that person (over there)". The plain way of saying "that person (over there)" is あの人. –  user763305 May 29 at 11:15

2 Answers 2

彼 is strictly male and means "he" rather than "that person over there". Worth noting is that the he/she pronouns aren't as commonly used in Japanese as in English and 彼 can also mean "boyfriend". あちら is rather polite/stuffy for "that person (over there)" but it can also mean "over there" or "overseas".

あちらがお父様ですか? Is that (person standing over there) your father?

The most common expression for "that person" is however あの人, though it might be a little bit too casual depending on the context. A very impolite form that's sure to offend, on the other hand, is あいつ (or あのやつ).

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It depends on the situation but in this case 彼 is 'he', あちら is 'that person'. 彼 is just a little bit more friendly, あちら is formal.

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