In real life, if I were to meet a stranger who is a young woman around my age in Japan, how would I--a man--call her without knowing her name? For instance, how should I say, "Excuse me, miss, you're up (in a queue)."

A search on the Internet turned up one result dominantly--お姉さん.

However, from memory I believe I've heard another term (if not more often) in Japanese films and anime--お嬢さん.

Somehow I feel calling any random young lady on the street お姉さん slightly off.

  • 1
    " also a young woman around my age" <-- @Yeti Apeさんは若い女性ということですか? 若い女性が同年代の女性を「お姉さん」「お嬢さん」とはあまり呼ばないような気がします。。。
    – chocolate
    Commented Feb 13, 2018 at 10:00
  • Excuse my poor English, but I see your point. In my case, I mean as a young man, how would I address a woman around my age. Sorry for the confusion.
    – Yeti Ape
    Commented Feb 13, 2018 at 10:51
  • Now that you've mentioned it, I'd also love to know how young women address other women of their age who are strangers.
    – Yeti Ape
    Commented Feb 13, 2018 at 11:04

1 Answer 1


"お姉さん" would work just fine, or if you are doing it for a job "お客様" there are many ways to indirectly reference someone. The best way I have found in informal situations is to insinuate your intentions, get their attention via gesture or "済みません", if they are busy "ちょっといいですか?", then state your intended question or start a conversation. If you wish to know their name just ask them "お名前は何ですか" and then refer to them as such.

  • I am not quite sure why this answer could be thought as not useful... am I missing something here? Commented Feb 13, 2018 at 10:51
  • Thank you for the reply. Just to be sure, does that mean お嬢さん is not really used in daily life? I can just call a young woman お姉さん even if I appear to be older? I guess I'm hesitant to do this because I sort of feel that a lot of women can get offended being made older than they want to be/appear.
    – Yeti Ape
    Commented Feb 13, 2018 at 11:00
  • Incidentally, wasn't me who voted your answer down.
    – Yeti Ape
    Commented Feb 13, 2018 at 11:01
  • 1
    Someone may get offended, some may actually be flattered by both お姉さん, or お嬢さん. It depends on the person, I would say if you really want to get the hang of Japanese you should just experiment and learn from the mistakes. Trust me you will learn Japanese so much faster by just experimenting. Commented Feb 13, 2018 at 11:17
  • I'm not your downvote, but might I suggest using carriage returns to separate each of the options rather than blending them together in a weird paragraph?
    – virmaior
    Commented Feb 13, 2018 at 12:28

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