In America, parents can address their son as son. For example, "Son, could you open the window for me?" Do Japanese parents address their son as 息子?Thanks.

  • 1
    In my experience, parents say this in the movies or TV as a quick means of establishing relationships. Or in books due to bad writing. In real life, I don't think this would be very common in modern usage. (Or perhaps it's a regional thing?)
    – mattdm
    Dec 9 '17 at 15:28
  • What you say may be possible as I am not a native English speaker myself. However, I have seen and heard myself a father addressing his son son in real life a few years ago in America. That's why I ask. Agreed, it isn't as common as using his first name. Dec 10 '17 at 16:56

No, we basically never do that in Japanese culture, which is why it took me and my classmates by surprise to learn, in our English class back in junior high school, about that custom in the English-speaking world.

We would use the actual name or nickname of the son nearly 100% of the time.

The only time that I could think of parents (mostly fathers) addressing their sons as 「息子{むすこ}」 would be in very serious/important letters or poems. In such cases, it would generally be 「息子」 instead of just 「息子」.

Even on those occasions, however, many parents would still just use the actual name.

  • 2
    Thanks. That's very interesting. I have always been wondering about this but have not been able find the answer. Dec 9 '17 at 2:41
  • How about when they address them directly without using a name? For example, would a father call a son or daughter お前? Is that too strong?
    – kandyman
    Nov 4 '19 at 22:35
  • Using words like「きみ」「おまえ」 requires that the listener be aware that the speaker is talking to them. If you’re trying to get the listener’s attention, something like 「おい」 would be more situationally appropriate. Not a good practice though, as l’electeur said, it’s name or nickname almost 100% of the time. Nov 5 '19 at 9:24

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