I've been watching Death Note and in Episode 14, Yagami Light refers to Misa as Misa-chan.

In this episode, Yagami meets Misa. They're going to be combining forces, but Misa adds a condition that they be boyfriend and girlfriend. Yagami is not happy about this. He tries explaining that he'll have to be dating lots of girls. This annoys Misa. It's at this point that he calls her Misa-chan and tries to calm her down. Yagami's partner hears this and comments "chan ka yo?".

So I was wondering, is Light being condescending to Misa (afterall he is rather annoyed with her) or, in this context, since she wants him to be her boyfriend, is he playing the role? Would a high school boy call his girl friend using "chan"?

  • From what I remember, he wants to show her that he's playing along with what she wants (even though he really only wants to use her as a tool).
    – Blavius
    Dec 31, 2015 at 20:31
  • Real Japanese vs. Japanese used in fiction. The differences are huge.
    – user4032
    Jan 1, 2016 at 0:58
  • 4
    @職場恋愛小説執筆中 would you care to elaborate?
    – A.Ellett
    Jan 1, 2016 at 2:22
  • @A.Ellett Well, if you don't mind with reading Japanese, this article would be a good introduction to this phenomenon. Jan 1, 2016 at 18:05

1 Answer 1


Some boy students call his girl friends using "chan", and others use "san" or nothing. An affable person use "chan" or "san". An abrupt guy don't use "chan" or "san" for his girlfriend. It's not true that all boys say their girlfriend's name with "chan". That totally depends on their personalities, relationship and situations.

Light is an prideful boy and has an haughty attitude to everyone in his mind. So, under normal conditions, he don't use "chan" to call his girlfriend. It's the same about the naughty and stupid girl, however he fervently wanted Misa's special power of Shinigami and needed to humor Misa well in that situation. Therefore he sweetly said "Misa-chan" that doesn't match his charactor. Ryuk was amused at that wording and ridiculed Light's behavior filled with lies.

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