Working in a Japanese based company I often see that in written English which is (directly or indirectly) addressed to Japanese the suffix -san is attached to names.

With some basic knowledge of Japanese I have some understanding how -さん is used in Japanese. Having in mind that it would seem unnatural for me to encounter Herr Müller instead of Mr. Müller in an English text I am wondering how natural it is for a Japanese to see -san being used in an English conversation a) attached to a (romanized) Japanese name or b) attached to an English/German/... name.

I hope this question will not be marked as opinion-based because I am actually interested in a general answer to help improve my conversation with Japanese people.

  • 1
    Well, whether it's opinion-based or not, it's not related to Japanese, right? I mean, it's about communication in English.
    – Leebo
    Apr 30, 2018 at 13:04
  • @Leebo I see your point, but does it not rather fit here than -say- the English language stackexchange?
    – elzell
    Apr 30, 2018 at 13:25
  • It's a dupe of an already closed question: japanese.stackexchange.com/q/28259/28162 Apr 30, 2018 at 15:12
  • 5
    Possible duplicate of How to address and greet Japanese people in an english email Apr 30, 2018 at 15:12
  • I know it's been answered elsewhere, but a point of note is to greet people based on the conventions of the language being used. Saying "Ms. Nakamura-san" is sort of like saying "Ms. Ms.Nakamura" which is nonsensical
    – psosuna
    Apr 30, 2018 at 20:50

1 Answer 1


San is often used in informal e-mail. San or Kun is maybe good to show friendliness. This depends on the custom of the organization.For me, it seems a little strange. I always feel why you suddenly use Japanese in English email?. In my mind,it sounds like the foreign people's unnatural pronunciation.

You must log in to answer this question.

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