Recently I watched the film "The Wind Rises" by Studio Ghibli in Japanese with English subtitles. I heard one of the children referring to an elder as [name]-さま. I was wondering, what is the difference between -さん and -さま?

Any answer would be appreciated.


Sama (様【さま】) is a markedly more respectful version of san. It is used mainly to refer to people much higher in rank than oneself, toward one's guests or customers (such as a sports venue announcer addressing members of the audience), and sometimes toward people one greatly admires and can be used for either gender.

See the Wikipedia article Japanese honorifics


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