Whenever I play Fate/Grand Order, one thing I often hear when I use that game's version of Nero Claudius is her using 余 when referring to herself. Looking it up shows me that this particular pronoun has an archaic and formal flavor to it, as well as having an oratory function. That last bit is what's kinda got me scratching my head.

In what way is 余 oratory? What the proper way to use and understand 余, as a pronoun, and in what context is it most often used?

  • Are you asking for an explanation of the term "oratory"?
    – Leebo
    Commented Apr 7, 2020 at 11:47
  • Specifically how 余 is oratory Commented Apr 7, 2020 at 18:32

2 Answers 2


余 is one for a classic king or a person of equivalent status.

Here are some characters whose first person pronoun is 余:

  • 徳川茂々(『銀魂』) Tokugawa Shigeshige (from Gintama,) a shogun
  • メルエム(ハンター×ハンター) Meruem (from Hunter x Hunter,) the king of the Chimera Ants

Moreover, though I can't remember certain character, 余 is also known as 殿様(lord)-ish pronoun.

  • Hmm. Do you know where I can learn more about these sorts of pronouns and language? Commented Apr 7, 2020 at 20:52
  • "Archaic personal pronouns" in this page lists classic pronouns like 余 en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Japanese_pronouns
    – Spoonail
    Commented Apr 9, 2020 at 11:51
  • Note: What written in "Level of speech" and "Gender" columns is doubtful. "Notes" column is not so weird at least in "-I/Me-" section and "Archaic personal pronouns" section.
    – Spoonail
    Commented Apr 9, 2020 at 11:52
  • I love this page though it's a mess a bit... w.atwiki.jp/aniwotawiki/pages/8696.html
    – Spoonail
    Commented Apr 9, 2020 at 11:54

余 is a first-person pronoun that is virtually heard only in fiction today. Its user is limited to a king, an emperor, a shogun, a demon load or someone of equal status in fantasy/historical works. A female person may use it, too.

I think it's oratorical because it's a highly stilted pronoun mainly used in official audiences, meetings, speeches, etc. When a user of 余 talks to his close friends or children, he may use 私, わし or even 俺 instead. (Of course this depends on the character.)

You must log in to answer this question.

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