I was watching a video of a Japanese comedy show and at one point one of the comedians accidentally spilled a hot food on his superior. After that, his peers referred to him as "Tanaka-han" a couple of times. I figure it sounds like something mocking, but what does that mean, exactly?


2 Answers 2


はん is a name-suffix used almost exclusively by people from Osaka/Kyoto.

The level of politeness はん has depends on the speaker. Manzai comedians, geisha, or stereotyped heavy Kansai-/Kyoto-ben speakers in fiction may use はん everywhere, even when they're being very polite (e.g. お客はん, 社長はん). But I believe most real Kansai-ben speakers consider it as a colloquial and less polite version of さん, and use it sparingly.

Either way, it doesn't have any derogatory or mocking nuance. I guess you heard Tanaka-han simply because some people tend to speak in dialect when they're excited or want to make someone laugh.

  • 1
    – user4032
    Commented Dec 7, 2015 at 10:02
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    – naruto
    Commented Dec 7, 2015 at 10:06
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    It would make sense if /s/ was less likely to weaken to /h/ before the high vowels /i/ and /u/ because those are the vowels where the tongue is closest to the roof of the mouth, and the Kansai /s/→/h/ weakening is (historically) caused by a loss of contact between the tip of the tongue and the roof of the mouth. If they're already very close, the loss of contact might not happen. (This is just speculation, though.)
    – user1478
    Commented Dec 7, 2015 at 18:51
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    I'm from Osaka/Kyoto area, but はん is not really used except very old people and geisha in Kyoto. It's used to impress someone from Osaka/Kyoto in a story or to joke Kansai dialect in these days. Basically, you can attach はん after the specific name like '田中' regardless of the ending vowel of names. 私は関西出身ですが、「はん」はものすごくご年配の方か花街の方以外はあまり使用されることはありません。マンガやドラマなどお話の中で登場人物が関西出身だと誇張したいときや、関西弁をわざと使いたいときに使われるのかと。使い分けに関して言えば、基本的に人物名だと母音かかわらず使用可能です。「奥はん」「御陵はん」を言わないのは、「奥さん」「御陵さん(ごりょんさん)」という語としてすでに確立しているためです。
    – nomithekid
    Commented Dec 8, 2015 at 0:03

It’s probably the comedians using Kansai-ben for さん?

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