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How do Japanese address their wife?


Japan is a country renowned for its rich culture and traditions. As such, it is not uncommon to find unique customs and practices that are specific to the Japanese people. One of such customs is how they address their wives. In this article, we will explore the different ways the Japanese address their wives and the cultural significance behind each method.

Addressing Wife as “Tsuma”

The most common way Japanese men address their wives is by using the word “tsuma.” This word directly translates to “wife” in English, but it is more than just a name. It carries a deeper meaning that signifies mutual respect and love between spouses. In Japanese society, addressing someone by their full name is considered rude, so using “tsuma” is a way to show endearment to one’s partner.

Japanese Snack Box

Addressing Wife as “Kanai”

Another way Japanese men address their wives is by using the word “kanai.” This term means “inside the house” and is used to signify that the wife’s role is primarily domestic. While this term may seem outdated or sexist, it is still common in some households where traditional gender roles are upheld.

Pet Names

In addition to formal titles, many Japanese couples have affectionate pet names for each other. These names are typically reserved for private conversations and are not used in public settings. Pet names often reflect the couple’s personalities or a shared experience that they cherish.

Respectful Language

In Japanese culture, respect for elders and authority figures is highly valued. As such, it is common for husbands to use honorific language when addressing their wives. Honorific language involves adding suffixes such as “-san” or “-sama” to denote respect and reverence. This practice shows that the husband holds his wife in high regard and values her contributions to the family.

The Role of Gender

Japans’s patriarchal society has influenced how husbands address their wives. Traditionally, Japanese women were expected to be submissive and obedient to their husbands. This dynamic is reflected in how husbands address their wives with honorific titles that signify subservience.

Modern Changes

However, with changing social norms and increased gender equality, there has been a shift towards more egalitarian relationships between spouses. Many modern Japanese couples use informal language when addressing each other to show equality and mutual respect.

Cultural Significance

The way Japanese address their wives reflects their cultural values of respect, honor, and tradition. The use of formal titles like “tsuma” or “kanai” shows respect for traditional gender roles while affectionate pet names signify intimacy and love between partners.

International Marriages

With an increase in international marriages involving Japanese individuals, there has been a rise in cross-cultural communication between couples. In these cases, it is not uncommon for couples to use informal language or adopt the customs of their partner’s culture when addressing each other.


The way Japanese men address their wives varies depending on factors such as tradition, gender roles, and personal preferences. However, regardless of how they address each other, it is clear that mutual respect and love are at the center of these relationships.



How do you address a married woman in Japan?

The Japanese language has different terms for referring to one’s spouse depending on the context. “Tsuma” is used in public to refer to one’s wife, while “okusan” is a more affectionate term used at home. When speaking about someone else’s spouse, “goshujin” is used for the husband and “okusan” for the wife.

How do Japanese call their partners?

In Japanese culture, men are addressed using a suffix of “chan” or “kun” added to their name, while women are addressed using only their given name. This practice has been in place for a long time.

Can a husband call his wife anata?

In Japanese culture, it is not typical to refer to one’s partner as “my love” or “sweetheart.” Instead, using their name is sufficient. However, it is not recommended to use the word “Anata,” which is commonly translated as “you” in Japanese textbooks.

Do Japanese take wifes name?

In Japan, it is a legal requirement for married couples to have the same last name, which can be either the husband’s or the wife’s. This rule is unique to Japan as no other country mandates spouses to share a surname.

What husband call his wife in Japanese?

The primary Japanese term used for ‘wife’ is okusan (奥さん / おくさん), but there are also other words like tsuma (妻 / つま) and kamisan (上さん / かみさん). It can be challenging to know which term to use when referring to a wife in Japanese. It is common for husbands to address their spouses by their first name when talking to each other.

What is honorific for wife?

Mrs is a widely used English title for married women who do not use any other title or rank, such as Doctor, Professor, President, or Dame. The American English pronunciation is “misses,” while the British English pronunciation is “misses-iz.”

While the use of formal titles and honorific language when addressing wives is still prevalent in Japanese society, there has been a shift towards more casual and informal language in recent years. This is particularly true among younger generations who prioritize equality and mutual respect in their relationships. In fact, some couples have even adopted Western customs of using first names or nicknames when addressing each other.

It is worth noting that the way Japanese men address their wives is not necessarily representative of how all Japanese marriages function. There are many couples who have equal partnerships and address each other informally without any gendered titles or honorifics. It is also important to recognize that not all Japanese women identify with the traditional roles and expectations placed upon them by society.

In addition to the various ways Japanese men address their wives, there are also cultural practices surrounding how couples interact with each other in public. Public displays of affection, such as kissing or holding hands, are not as common in Japan as they are in Western cultures. Instead, couples may show their affection through non-verbal cues such as walking close together or exchanging small gestures like a smile or a light touch on the arm.

Overall, the way Japanese men address their wives is deeply rooted in cultural values and traditions. While there may be some gendered expectations attached to certain titles, it ultimately comes down to personal preference and the dynamics of each individual relationship. As society continues to evolve, so too will the customs surrounding how couples address each other.

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