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What do Japanese couples call each other?


Japanese culture is well-known for its unique customs and traditions, and one aspect of this is the way that couples address each other. In Japan, it is not uncommon for couples to use special terms of endearment instead of each other’s names. This article will explore the different names that Japanese couples call each other, as well as the cultural significance behind these terms.

The use of honorifics

In Japan, it is common to use honorifics when addressing people based on their social status or relationship to you. This includes using “-san” for acquaintances or strangers, “-sama” for respected individuals, and “-chan” for children or close friends. When it comes to couples, they often use honorifics as well, such as “-kun” for boys or young men and “-chan” for girls or young women.

Japanese Snack Box

“Koibito” – a term for lovers

One common term that Japanese couples use to refer to each other is “koibito.” This translates to “lover” in English and is often used as a more romantic and intimate term than using someone’s name. It can also be used to describe a person’s significant other, boyfriend, or girlfriend.

“Danna” and “Okusan” – husband and wife

Married couples in Japan often use the terms “danna” and “okusan” to refer to each other. “Danna” means husband, while “okusan” means wife. These terms are often used in a formal or respectful manner, but can also be used affectionately between spouses.

“Kare” and “Kanojo” – boyfriend and girlfriend

For couples who are dating but not yet married, the terms “kare” and “kanojo” are commonly used. “Kare” means boyfriend while “kanojo” means girlfriend. These terms are often used in a casual or playful way and can also be used by friends to refer to each other’s partners.

“Anata” – a term of endearment

Another term that Japanese couples sometimes use to address each other is “anata.” This translates to “you” in English but can be used as a term of endearment between romantic partners. While it may seem impersonal at first glance, using “anata” can actually be a sign of intimacy and affection between couples.

The importance of context

It is important to note that the terms that Japanese couples use to address each other can vary depending on the context of the situation. For example, using more formal honorifics may be appropriate in professional settings or when meeting someone’s family. Couples may also switch between different terms depending on their mood or the nature of their relationship.

The influence of Western culture

In recent years, there has been a trend towards using Western-style terms of endearment among younger generations in Japan. This includes using words like “baby,” “honey,” or “dear.” While these terms are not traditionally Japanese, they have become more popular in modern relationships.

The role of gender in naming conventions

It is worth noting that there can be differences in the terms that men and women use to address their partners in Japan. For example, men may use more formal or traditional language when addressing their wives compared to women who may use more casual or affectionate names for their boyfriends.

Cultural significance of naming conventions

The way that Japanese couples address each other reflects broader cultural values around hierarchy, respect, and intimacy. Using honorifics shows respect for others while using intimate terms like “koibito” or “anata” indicates a level of closeness and trust in a relationship.


Overall, the way that Japanese couples address each other reflects unique cultural norms and values around relationships. Whether it’s using traditional honorifics or adopting Western-style terms of endearment, the names that couples use can reveal much about their level of intimacy and the dynamics of their relationship.

What do Japanese call their boyfriend?

In Japanese, ‘Kareshi’ (彼氏 / かれし) is the most frequently used term for referring to a boyfriend.

What is the nickname for couple in Japanese?

There are endearing terms for partners, such as “danna” meaning “hubby,” or “dannasan” adding cuteness to the endearment. Another term used for wives is “yome,” meaning “wifey” or “bride.”

What do boyfriends call their girlfriends in Japanese?

The term “koibito” in Japanese refers to a loved one or significant other, and is made up of the characters for “love” and “person”. It can be used to describe a girlfriend, boyfriend, husband or wife, regardless of their gender.

What do Japanese call their husbands?

In Japanese, there are multiple ways to refer to a husband. The most common term is otto (夫 / おっと), but shujin (主人 / しゅじん) and danna (旦那 / だんな) are also frequently used.

What do Japanese people say to their lover?

Koishii desu (恋しいです) is a Japanese phrase that can be used to express love and longing towards someone. It is a romantic phrase that is often used in serious relationships to convey strong feelings of affection. Its direct translation is “I yearn for you.”

What do you call boys love in Japanese?

The genre known as “Boys Love” in Japan is also referred to as BL, while in the Western world it is still commonly called yaoi, despite the updated Japanese name being more prevalent.

It’s worth noting that the use of special terms of endearment is not unique to Japan. Couples in many other cultures also use special names for their partners as a way to express love and affection. However, the specific names and terms used can vary widely depending on the culture and language.

In Japan, the use of honorifics is deeply ingrained in society and reflects the importance placed on social hierarchy and respect. This can be seen in the way that couples address each other, with more formal honorifics used in professional or public settings and more intimate terms used in private or personal situations.

At the same time, Japanese culture also places a strong emphasis on emotional expression and intimacy in relationships. Using terms of endearment like “koibito” or “anata” can be seen as a way to bridge the gap between formal social norms and personal emotional connections.

Overall, the way that Japanese couples address each other is just one example of how culture shapes our relationships and interactions with others. By understanding these naming conventions and their cultural significance, we can gain a deeper appreciation for the richness and diversity of human relationships around the world.

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