So I know that you usually call people by last name with honorifics, but I was wondering what the difference was between last name without honorifics and first name with honorifics? When would you use either of them? I know what just first name would mean, but what about the other two?

And on that subject, besides being linked with family, when would you start to not call people by last name honorifics? ありがとうございます

  • Japanese has many honorific suffixes, each with different nuances and levels of politeness. Some are commonly used with first names, and some are not, so it is hard to talk about all the possible combinations. Do you have a particular word or problem in mind? For example, if you limit the scope to さん and 様, it will be easier to explain.
    – naruto
    Feb 11, 2023 at 1:54
  • 1
    There's no simple answer. Related How does last name-kun/chan compare to 1st name-san?
    – sundowner
    Feb 11, 2023 at 12:25

1 Answer 1


I am not very good at English, but I wanted to answer your question, so I enlisted the help of DeepL. I apologize if some parts are not clear. Generally speaking, if you call someone by their first name only, it is most likely because they are the same age or lower age or position. There are not many situations where we use honorifics for lower names, but for example, when someone has the same last name, we may call them by their first name so as not to confuse them. However, if it is a person at work or an older person, it is impolite to use only the first name, so an honorific title such as "san" is added. In business situations, we rarely call people by their first names, no matter how close we are. If you are quite close to someone, calling them by their first name is preferred, but just because you call them by their last name does not mean that you are not close to them. If you are not friends or other equals, calling people by their first names when you first meet them is usually avoided.

私は英語があまり得意ではありませんが、質問に答えたかったのでDeepLの力を借りました。 わからないところがあったら申し訳ない。 一般的には、苗字だけで呼び捨てにする場合は、同い年か下の年齢や立場であることがほとんどです。 下の名前に敬語をつける場面はそう多くはありませんが、例えば同じ苗字の人がいる時、混同しないように下の名前で呼ぶことがあります。しかし職場の人や年上の人だと、下の名前だけでは失礼に当たることが多いので「さん」などの敬称をつけます。 ビジネスの場ではいくら親しくなっても呼び捨てにすることはほとんどありません。 かなり親しくなった場合、下の名前を呼ぶことが好まれますが、苗字で呼んでいるからといって親しくないわけではありません。 友達などの対等な関係でない場合、初対面で下の名前を呼ばれることは通常避けられます。

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