I'm just starting out learning Japanese, and I've read that when using honorific and humble forms and conjugations, you use humble forms to refer to yourself, and honorific forms to refer to others, such as the person you're talking to.

Is there any context in which a person might refer to themselves using honorific speech? A CEO, the Queen of England or Emperor Akihito, some fictional villain who thinks they're a God, someone trying to be insulting?

  • I've never heard it, even from characters in fiction who would refer to themselves as 俺様{おれさま}・私様{わたくしさま}.
    – Angelos
    Apr 22, 2019 at 3:41

1 Answer 1


In ancient Japanese, honorific verbs was used by very noble people to refer to their own actions (自尊敬語, "self-honorifics"). But you won't see this unless you learn archaic Japanese seriously. In modern Japanese, even Prime Minister and Emperor use humble verbs properly to refer to their own actions.

You may see a high person use humble verbs to refer to someone else's actions. A typical example is 参れ ("Come!") said by a governor in historical samurai dramas. Beginners can forget this for now, but this is something an advanced learner may encounter. See: Humble language for other people as an insult

In addition, you may see someone use honorific name suffix to refer to themselves. 俺様 is a typical "arrogant" first-person pronoun. In fiction, you may even see a stereotyped arrogant girl called エリカ call herself エリカ様 ("Miss Erika"), for example. This is a stereotyped arrogant speech, and real noble people never speak like this.

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