After saying a person's name in Japanese, usually you add on "San" or "Kun" or "Chan". What do they mean?

I read manga series and watch anime, and there are so many of these added words after saying a person's name, I can't tell what they mean! Please tell me what the ending words mean, and what person to say them to after you said their name. Thanks!

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  • 1 decade ago
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    -san is a sign of respect, like saying "Mr." or "Mrs." it's a fairly safe way to address pretty much anyone, teachers, doctors, anyone you just met.

    -kun is for young men/boys, say 12-20 years old. It's saying that they are older than little kids (chan) but not quite old enough for -san. Peers and adults would use this for boys this age.

    -chan is used for all little kids and all females under the age of 20 (and even then sometimes). It's like adding a diminiutive to a name, like calling someone Sandy instead of Sandra or Billy instead of William. It's also used between very good friends of any age as a sign of their close relationship.

    Source(s): I speak Japanese
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  • 4 years ago

    It's a very difficult question. They are generally mean Mr., Mrs., or Miss in English. Since Japanese language needs to read circumstances where you are in, a Japanese native naturally should know which one to be suffixed, however, even a Japanese, he sometimes misuses it and makes someone upset. There's a sort of rule which is already explained by some answers, but they are sometimes irregularly used. That's why, even for a Japanese, he sometimes misuses. "Sama", "San" and "Chan" are same origin. "Sama" is the original and "San" has a change in the end of the word. Then, for an infant, it's difficult to pronounce S sound, so S changes to T or Ch. As some answers explained, "Sama" sounds relationship far and it chooses the situation to be used. It's used when a customer, client or guest is called by a shop clerk, secretary, receptionist and so on. Nowadays it's seldom used in other situation except in writing. "San" is more commonly used in conversation and generally it doesn't upset anyone. In a school " San" is mainly used when you call a female or you call a person who is higher grade. Then "Kun" is used when you call a male in a school. However, out of a school, it is not really choosed by sex. It can be used whether a person who you call is higher in status or not. However, as other answer explained, when you call a higher person, his/her position is more likely suffixed. "Chan" is originally used for infant. So it's can be used in a family, close friends, a group, or similar to such relationship. And also, generally, a person who you call should be equal or lower in status. "Kun" is a little bit complecated. However, as other answer explained, it's generally used when you call a person who is male in sex, equal or lower in status. However, when you watch telecast program of Perlament, you can hear "Kun" when the chairman of perlament calls a congressman. If a person who is really close in relationship and equal or lower in status, you can call him/her without such a suffix. But if you are not so confident, "San" is recommended. There are some tacit rules inside a closed group, however, for non-native Japanese, you'll be allowed even you mistake. There are some others like "Dono", however they are seldom used in conversation.

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  • 1 decade ago

    "San" is like the Japanese counterpart of Mr./Ms. or Mrs. only instead of a prefix it is used as a suffix. As someone earlier pointed out, if the the person is a young male, "kun" is used, however it is used by someone who is older or in more or same authority as him. A younger brother for example does not address an older brother as "kun". A junior employee also does not address a senior as "kun".

    "Chan" has a similar use to "kun" but may be used both for male and female. It's like the informal version of "san". Same as "kun", the level of authority on its use is also observed.

    Lastly, noone addresses his own self as "san", "kun" or "chan". These are used to address persons other than one's self.

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    San it's kind off like friend, Chan means small or young and Kun it's used for a young male as far as i know :P

    hope that can help you

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  • Belie
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago

    They don't mean anything that's adequately displayed in the English language. They're used to show a person respect and different titles carry different levels of respect.

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  • John S
    Lv 6
    1 decade ago

    It's a sign of respect.

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  • 1 decade ago

    It's cool 2 noe dat u learn japanese thru anime! I tink dat it is a more informal kinda greetin' . Dont ya tink so??? =.=?

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  • 1 decade ago

    you just add it on to their names when you feel like it

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