Culture of Japan
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Name of Month
Japanese letters
Write your name in Japanese
Write your name in Kanji
Write your name in Japanese
Find kanji for your name.
Japanese Alphabet
(Iroha Uta)
Japanese Numbers
How many I's do you have?
How many You's are you?
How do you call your wife?

How do you call
How do you call
brother and sister?
How Japanese laugh?
Why Japan is Japan?
How Japan became Japan?
How many I's a Japanese has?

  I have three I's. Or, exactly I use three I's according to the situation where I am.

Ordinary I use (watashi) as I. This is the most standard I that can be used in any situation.

To tell the truth, I mostly use (ore) as I. This I is only used in usual life and never used in official situation or to senior person. Sometimes, I use (boku) as I. This word has the original meaning of "servant" but used at the situation of equal partner.
  There are a number of words for the pronoun I probably more than hundred if we include local tongue and also many a words for you. Can they be called pronouns? Here I prepared a table of I's

The use of male "I" and female "I" is not forced by laws. Sometimes younger people use interchangeably to make things funny.

* A remark is provided about the way of scripting japanese using a,b,c....

Expressions for I
word for I
in chinese
pronunciationdirect meaningsituation to be usedmalefemale
IThis I is most proper expression in any situation for both male and female. The pronunciation "watakushi" sounds sort of formal and square but "watashi" is well used as formal expression. "atashi" is rather colloquial pronunciation. But females usually use this pronunciation because it sounds soft. "asshi" is a very colloquial pronunciation used by merchant and craftsmen.standardstandard
concubinecan be distinguished only in literal expression and used only for female. This character has amiable and sexy impression.neveryes
Inever used at official occasion or to a superior person. It is I for male. But in local tongue old females use this pronunciation. Pronunciation "ora" is heard only in local tongue. "oira" is an old style pronunciation sometimes used in comedies.yesno
bokuservantThis I is for use to a superior person. But sometimes, it gives too intimate impression and used within well acquainted persons. This is the typical I of boys.yesnever
IThis I sounds sort of arrogance mainly used to inferiors. The colloquial pronunciation used by craftsmen has no impression of arrogance. The pronunciation "washi" is probably an abbreviation of "watashi". It is said in older days, this word was mainly used by females. Nowadays only males use this word.yesin older

wareIThis I is never used in conversation but only in literal expression. The plural form "wareware" is used to demonstrate the unity of a group. is a character that shows the continuation of the same character. Sometimes plural form is formed by it . However never or .no gender but rather males are imaged
my part
Some people use this I to his superiors. This I has a tone of stressing self identityyesnever
Actually this I means humble myself. Not used in conversation but in literal expression.yesno
wagahaia guy
like me
meaning is like humble myself but sounds stressing self identity. There is a famous nobel by Sohseki Natsume titled "Wagahai am a cat", a diary of a cat observing persons at a house.yesno
broadly used local tongue in western region, mostly used by females in stead of "atashi" This I has very intimate impression. Originally "uchi" is thought as the noun of 'in' or 'inner' then the meaning of 'something belong in me' or 'something belong to me', typically a 'home', 'house'. 'I' is also a typical belonging to 'me'.rarelyyes
Ia local tongue in Kansai area. What is strange about this word is that it sounds decent if used by people of Kyoto area while it sounds vulgar if used by other area like Osaka. It is a standard I for Maiko the dancer (the highest grade of Geisha girl)
06/Jan/17 Recently someone came to this page searching for the literal meaning of Geisha. The meaning of Gei is art and the one of sha is person. So Geisha means artist but used only for female entertainers.
waiIa local tongue in Kansai area as rather vulgar expression. Strangely enough, this word is also used for you. You must discern the two meaning according to the situation.yesrarely
frontAn old word used by merchant and craftman. This word is also used for I (the guy in front of you) and you (the guy in front of me). "temee" is a rude variation.yesrarely
oraIA local tongue in central Japan still used by old.yesyes
oiraIAn old local tongue in central japan used among boys. It is a variation of "ora"yesnever
wachikiIAn old word used by Geisha girl in Edo eranoyes
Samurai the warriors used this word.Samurainever

   There are many other variations in local tongues.

Here is the japanese words for You.
To German speakers, A German, Nora translated this page into German please take a look at it.
Here is a view about japanese Pronouns including I and more about japanese grammar by a english speaker.