I know that generally あなた shouldn't be used when referring to superiors. However, I find it difficult to rephrase the following sentences which refer to a superior using あなた in an indirect manner:

He said you are a Japanese teacher.

It is said you are a Japanese teacher.

Are there alternative ways to phrase such sentences which are more natural or is using あなた here acceptable?

2 Answers 2


That's exactly what 敬語(尊敬語・謙譲語) is for... ^^



日本語の先生でいらっしゃるうかがいました or お聞きしました

日本語の先生をしていらっしゃると、XXさんからうかがいました or お聞きしました

「あなた」などの人称代名詞の代わりに、尊敬語・謙譲語を使って表現しましょう ^^

  • (sorry, my Japanese keyboard has broken) You wrote "日本語の先生をなさっているそうですね", is "<job> をする" idiomatic for "to exercise <job>"?
    – Right leg
    Commented Feb 5, 2019 at 20:59
  • @Rightleg that's right. In this context なさっている means "doing".
    – Daishi
    Commented Feb 6, 2019 at 0:01
  • 1
    そうですね・・ I think it can be.. "to do <job>" eg 「医療器具の製造・販売をしています」「飲食店で接客(業)をしています」 and "work as a <role/position>" eg 「看護師をしています」「百貨店で販売員をしています」
    – chocolate
    Commented Feb 6, 2019 at 3:22
  • Thanks! Does Japanese has a more formal word for "exercise" a job? I understand though that "exercise" seems pretty rare in English - we have the same in French, but it's much more common, so I'm a bit misled.
    – Right leg
    Commented Feb 6, 2019 at 8:59
  • 1
    「製造・販売に携わっています」「農業に従事しています」「看護師として勤務しています・勤めています」「販売員として従事しています」とかですかね・・・? 教師だったら「教鞭をとっています」とかもあります
    – chocolate
    Commented Feb 6, 2019 at 18:03

In the cases as you quote, we usually use a title or courtesy title such as Bûcho, Senpai, Sensei,Goshujin, Okusama, Oniisan(sama), Danna, Master, etc, instead of calling the counterpart “Anata.” It is considered to be more polite than calling the senior person あなた ー You.

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