I know there are a few ways to essentially say "husband" (夫、旦那、主人). Can all be used by a speaker to refer to themselves?

Examples I thought of:



I have a feeling I can't use 主人, but I'm not sure if that's correct, nor why.

How do I introduce myself in relation to my wife?

Related: How to introduce oneself in relation to ones husband?

  • In what sort of context: Are we speaking? Are writing a letter? Are we writing an academic paper?
    – virmaior
    Feb 11, 2017 at 4:49
  • 1
    @virmaior I was thinking speaking, but you (or anyone answering) are welcome to address different contexts and how they would be relevant. Feb 11, 2017 at 4:51
  • Btw, it might be worth considering that any tones of "old-fashionedness" might be totally acceptable in Japanese. E.g. the word for another's wife is 奥さん. (btw 旦那 is for other people to use about you in your relation to your wife.)
    – virgil9306
    Feb 12, 2017 at 1:32

1 Answer 1


主人 means 'master', so you shouldn't use it to refer yourself. When used by man to refer his relationship with his wife it feels rough, be careful. 主人 is polite when your wife refers you because it is considered as humbleness. Also it implies he is a bit serious person. This can be used by woman to introduce her husband in formal situation.

旦那 is almost similar to 主人 but implies he is somewhat rich, friendly and easy going person. This word is used by woman to introduce her husband with some friendliness to him and others listening to her speaking. Also used by man to refer other married man with friendliness.

夫 is normal. This word is safe to use always. Can be used in formal situation. To refer yourself as husband of someone, this word is almost only one you can use. To refer husband of other woman, this word somewhat lacks feeling of personal friendship to him, but safe.

To refer husband of other woman, 旦那さん is friendly and with some respect. To add more respect use 旦那様 or ご主人. They can be used in formal situation. You shouldn't use bare 主人 or 旦那 to refer other woman's husband because it lacks respect to him and his wife.

Also some people uses word 相方 to refer their husband/wife. This word can be used by woman to refer her husband, or by man to refer his wife. This word's feeling is friendliness and equality between them. But it is not very formal.

In corner case which you want to completely remove feeling of sexism, you can use 配偶者 to refer your wife. This word can be used by woman to refer her husband. But in Japanese society it is very rare. In almost case using 配偶者 feels like someone is taking too much care about sexism.


You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .