I am sending a gift to a Japanese family (friends of ours). Rather than address the gift to one individual I want to address it to the entire family.

How do I write

The Tanaka Family

in Japanese?

I have read a bit about the possible use of mina (to represent all) and sama. Maybe it should be "Tanaka-mina"?

Please also answer in rōmaji.

  • 2
    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because this is not a question about Japanese language. If you want to write entirely in English, you can forget Japanese grammar and do in the way which you think is natural in English.
    – naruto
    Commented Nov 17, 2016 at 5:42
  • Although this question is not about the use of Japanese characters, it is about Japanese language. I can assure you that 'san', 'sama' and 'mina' are not english.
    – user18693
    Commented Nov 17, 2016 at 6:05
  • 1
    This might answer your question: japanese.stackexchange.com/questions/5172/…
    – Tommy
    Commented Nov 17, 2016 at 6:26
  • Thank you for the link to the similar question. Unfortunately, I need to use english characters as opposed to japanese characters.
    – user18693
    Commented Nov 17, 2016 at 7:05
  • 1
    @user3033692 Mister, Frau, Monsieur, san, and such are not part of someone's name. You can show your respect in the way of your own language when you are using your own language. Write everything in Japanese, or forget '-san' altogether. Someone who does know both Japanese and English may casually mix 'san' with English, but you don't need to do such a thing.
    – naruto
    Commented Nov 17, 2016 at 7:49

1 Answer 1


Actually it's not a good idea to translate it. Japanese mail carriers can read envelopes written in English format, and a bizarre mix of the Japanese and English styles would make your envelope look worse. Rest assured that you can always write "The Tanaka Family" or "Mr. Taro Tanaka", using English alphabet, on the first line.

(EDIT: By the way, did you know that, by writing the name on the first line, you are already violating "the Japanese rule"? On Japanese-style envelopes/postcards, the address comes first and the name comes last. That's another reason why you should stick to one particular format.)

You can stop reading this here, but in case you're interested, the polite and orthodox way to write this in Japanese would be:

Tanaka-ke go-ichidō sama
(lit. Tanaka + family + (honorific prefix) + everyone + (honoric suffix)

Here 家 (け, -ke) is a suffix that follows a family name and refers to the family itself. A family name followed by さん (-san) refers to an individual person in the family, like English "Mr."

But honestly speaking, writing something like this using English characters looks even funny to me. If you really want to write Japanese words using English characters, IMHO it's sufficient if you wrote:

Tanaka-ke no minasama
(lit. Tanaka + family + 's + everyone + (honorific suffix))

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