So, what’s the deal with Japan and calling people with –san
, as in Irie-kun? Or Kotoko-chan?
They’re known as honorifics and they show the relationship between speakers. Normally, you don’t use honorifics when referring to yourself, except sarcastically. There are many many many different honorifics out there, but I’ll only talk about those used in Mischievous Kiss.
For starters, Japanese usually call others with their last name and refer to people by their first name only if they’re close (as in relationship-close, not distance-close).
1. –san (ーさん)
The most common honorific that you’ll hear everywhere. It’s the one to use when talking to people you don’t really know, or if you’re not sure how to refer to somebody.
Like how Naoki calls Kotoko when their bentos were swapped.
2. –chan (—ちゃん)
When I hear –chan, my mind always thinks ‘cute’ and that’s what’s exactly what it’s used for. –chan is used to describe something cute like babies (aka-chan) or puppies (wan-chan), but also used between close friends especially girls.
Or between childhood friends, like Kotoko and Kin-chan.
Most guys don't usually use –chan to call on each other in real life (exception seen in comedy), like this one. Here are funny parents, Ai-chan and Iri-chan!
3. –kun (—くん)
Mainly used for guys, we hear this all the time when Kotoko calls Naoki, Irie-kun!
Basically, -kun is what you would use to call your guy friends, or a boy younger than you. Sometimes, very rarely, it’s also used for girls (I didn't spot any in MK though).
4. Onii-san/Aniki (お兄さん／兄貴分)
Is how you call your big brother,like how Naoki’s brother call him Onii-san. Since Naoki is the eldest, his parents also refers to him as Onii-san.
Aniki, on the other hand is kinda like a less polite/more casual form of Onii-san, which can be used between friends, to show respect, such as Kin-chan and his two minions.
The subtitle doesn’t say so, but his minions refer to Kin-chan as Aniki and Kotoko as Kotoko-nee san (for big sister), but refer to Naoki as simply Irie.
5. No honorifics
It can either indicate they’re close (Kotoko and Kin-chan) or the speaker doesn’t think highly of the other person (Kin-chan and Naoki, as described above).
6. -sensei (ー先生）
While the other honorifics must be used with the person's name, -sensei can be used with or without the name. In MK, sensei is used by the students to address their teachers. It can also be used for other authority figures, such as lawyers, doctors and politicians.
Let's see if we can spot these on next week's long-awaited episode! If you have any questions, just drop a comment below :)