Is using the honorific postfix -氏{し} usaged biased towards men or is it equally appropriate to be used for women as well?

Building from this excellent answer about honorifics: What does 氏 mean after a name, how is it different from さん or 様?

1 Answer 1


There used to be a clear bias toward men, but today you can safely use 氏 for women as well. If you read articles written in the Meiji or Taisho period, you'll probably see 氏 used for men and 女史 for women with a high social status. I found an example here. Note that horizontal sentences were written from right to left in those days.

Today, 女史 has almost fallen out of use, and 氏 has become almost completely gender-neutral.

That said, 氏 tends to be preferred for a person with a higher social status. You may find a recent interview article where 氏 is used for a male CEO and さん is used for his wife and daughters.

Here's a relevant explanation on Wikipedia (From 敬称):





  • 3
    Interesting bit of history. I only ever hear/read it in news reports, and even then only with respect to people who don't have another title that can be appended to their name. I get the (not necessarily justified) impression that it serves as a replacement for さん in contexts where the latter would sound to casual but no other appropriate title is available.
    – Philippe
    Jul 5, 2017 at 12:09
  • These 氏 and 女史 were reassigned or created to translate Mr. and Ms. in English.
    – user4092
    Jul 5, 2017 at 22:42

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