I knew the general idea of -tachi, as explained e.g. here: "Hey Bro!" how to call out friends

However, in one ラノベ I read the following situation: Assume there is a supervisor Asahi and 2 employees Kimi and Mashi of same "grade" sitting at the same table. And Asahi addresses both of them ("you two"/"both of you") using "Kimi-tachi".

Isn't such a call-out insulting to Mashi? I mean, the translation would be "Kimi and the other one", "Kimi's group", etc., correct? But since Kimi and Mashi are of the same social standing, isn't just naming one of them strange?

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    In this context kimi clearly is a friendly second person pronoun meaning "you", so kimi-tachi just means "you guys", not "Kimi and others". In light novels this pronoun is often written as キミ, too. If the name of the character happens to be Kimi, that's a mere coincidence.
    – naruto
    Jul 2, 2018 at 4:25
  • I've also heard "みぎわの子供たち" from a well-spoken anime antagonist, even though only 1 of the 5 people she's addressing was actually Migiwa's child. So there are probably examples available that wouldn't be ambiguous between a pronoun and a name.
    – Soron
    Jul 2, 2018 at 6:25
  • Sorry for the confusion. Made an edit explaining the situation. Jul 2, 2018 at 19:27
  • The only uses of “-たち” that I’ve encountered are 私達{わたしたち} “we/us” and 子供達{こどもたち} ”children”. Is it really that common to use outside of these context? In Japanese, plurals can often be left to infer from context.
    – Tom Kelly
    Jul 3, 2018 at 0:54

3 Answers 3


You don't usually address people that way unless you indicate one group in contrast to others. Even if you do so when there doesn't seem to be a good reason, I don't particularly feel anything.

I'd like you to consider that you couldn't do that to begin with if there was such connotation for one who doesn't happen to be representative.


「きみ」 as a personal name and the pronoun 「君{きみ}」 are pronounced so differently that at least among us native speakers, there would be no confusion or misunderstanding.

「きみたち{HLLL}」 = "Kimi and the gang"

「きみたち{LHLL}」 = "Y'all"

Mashi will know without thinking which one was said just by the pronunciation.

Hope I am not misreading your question.

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    – Sjiveru
    Jul 1, 2018 at 23:52
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    @Sjiveru どうなんでしょう。この質問を最初に読んだ時はl'électeurさんと同じことを思いましたが…(質問文はローマ字なので状況がよくわかりません) Jul 2, 2018 at 0:41
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    I believe you did misread the question. It is just a coincidence that OP used someone named "Kimi" as an example. The question is not about the person's name being similar to the pronoun. The question is about choosing to explicitly mention one person's name and omitting the other in favor of "-tachi" instead of saying both names.
    – Pedro A
    Jul 2, 2018 at 2:36
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    @Hamsterrific This whole thing happened, I'm fairly certain, because the OP misunderstood what was going on.
    – Angelos
    Jul 2, 2018 at 5:53
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    setting aside whether the "kimi" in the example is a name or "you", is anyone going to answer his specific question about whether it's perceived as rude or insulting for someone to address a group using "individual's name-tachi" style of address? I'd also like to know, in cases where this happens (and it does happen, I have personally heard it) how does the speaker in such cases choose, generally, which person's name in the group to use? Jul 2, 2018 at 10:29

Correct me if I’m wrong but I feel that it wouldn’t be offensive because they would use it quite often.It’s literally just the first name that you think of, and I don’t think anyone would think to much into it. Though a better reason would be that especially with Japanese people, they prefer to worry about the group rather than themselves which is why they are always apologising and using phrases like ‘しょうがない’.

I’d guess that they’d choose the name of the older employee, because I’m pretty sure in Japanese culture the people who serve longer are more important within a specific rank. Especially the people with more experience. But if they have almost equal experience I’d think it wouldn’t matter.

Unlike us westerners their group mentality is quite strong and don’t care about selfish fame like their boss using their name to refer to the group rather than someone else. So they’re probably more likely to think ‘I’m sorry our boss used my name instead of yours’. I’m not Japanese ore anything, and this is just my speculation from my knowledge of Japanese culture so take it with a grain of salt.

  • You consider who is in charge of the matter, but not other factors. You couldn't even do that if you minded everything.
    – user4092
    Jul 3, 2018 at 3:36

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