There is a variety of words such as ”友” ”相棒” ”仲間”, etc. to describe a person as a friend or partner.

Is there a casual way to call out your friend in Japanese, instead of having to call his/her name everytime? Ex. English : Man, Guys, Bro, etc.

Mostly, I have only heard one being called by nickname.

2 Answers 2


Although 相棒 is not bad a translation for "bro" IMO, we usually don't need those friendship "pronouns" because the greeting words in Japanese are diverse enough to distinguish those nuances alone, unlike English basically has only "hi" and "hey".

For example (translation is not decisive, requesting improvements seriously):

  • やあ: "Hi!", "Hi ya!"
  • よう: "Hey bro!", "Wassup!"
  • よっ: "Hey dude!", "Hey man!"
  • おう: "A-yo!", "Hey!"
  • おっす: (most "jock" style) "Yo!", "Howdy!", "'Sup?"
  • おい: "Hey you!", "Yo!"
  • おーい: "Hey over here!", "Ahoy there!"
  • どうも: "Hello!", "Hi there!"
  • やあやあ: "What ho!"
  • +1 for よう, おっす, than I often heard. I have the feeling that おい is quite rude by the way.
    – wip
    Jan 1, 2016 at 11:14
  • And I would also add the variation あっどうも (among many others) to the list.
    – wip
    Jan 1, 2016 at 11:14
  • 1
    @wil The answer is under community wiki, that means you're welcome to edit and improve it anytime! Jan 1, 2016 at 12:43

The accepted answer is correct and the various greetings will be good enough in most cases.

However, to answer the question directly (just in case it's needed), there are some ways of informally addressing people without using their names (though it's usually rude or inappropriate unless you're close with them and/or the setting is very casual).

  • 相棒 (aibō): "partner", "mate", "pal", "bro", "buddy"
  • 兄弟 (kyōdai): "brother", "bro", "brotha" (lit. "sibling" or "brother")
  • 合い口 (aikuchi): "pal", "chum"
  • 二人とも (futari-tomo): "[you/those] two", "the two of [you/them]", "both of [you/them]"
  • 君/きみ (kimi): "you", "kiddo", "kid"
  • あなた (anata): "you", "dear/honey" (formal "you", also used by wives to address spouses)
  • あんた (anta): "you" (shortened form of anata; very informal/impolite "you")

If you want to make it explicit that you're addressing a group of people (or to make your reference explicitly plural), as in "you guys", there are some suffixes that can be used.

-[達/たち] (-tachi): Works similarly to "...& company" or "...and the others". (Informal)


  • 君たち (kimi-tachi): "you" (plural), "you guys", "you all", "you people"
  • 私たち (watashi-tachi): "us", "we" (lit. "[I/me] and company")
  • [name]-たち ([name]-tachi): "[name] and the others", "[name]'s group"

And these work in the same way as -tachi, but with different use-cases and formality levels:

-[共/ども/とも] (-tomo/domo): Humble if used with I/me to refer to self/own group, still informal (can be rude) if used in 2nd/3rd person.

-[方/かた/がた] (-kata/gata): Formal version, more polite than -tachi

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