How to Say You in Japanese: 13 Ways & How Natives Say "You" (2023)

Maybe you know how to say I in Japanese

But, how do you say you in Japanese?

You might’ve heard anata, kimi, omae and other variations. And you probably realized that the meanings and nuances vary. So, it’s natural to wonder about the differences of variations like kimi vs anata or anata vs omae. Anyway, don’t worry.

In today’s guide, YOU will learn how to say YOU in Japanese.

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A. How Japanese people use “you”

So, first, let’s talk about “you.”

Not, you you, but you…. the pronoun.

In Japanese, the word “you” is actually unnecessary. You can omit it and still be grammatically correct.

How to Say You in Japanese: 13 Ways & How Natives Say "You" (1)

At the same time, there are also many different ways to say you in Japanese — as you obviously know. This concept can be strange for us English speakers. I mean, a sentence in Japanese without the “you” can apply to different people, and you’ll have to figure out who they are talking to based on context.

So, because “you” is unnecessary, Japanese people only say it in specific circumstances and situations. You’ll learn about those below.

To add meaning and context to your sentences, the different words for “you” can show if you’re trying to sound casual, polite, or rude. In general, it’s more natural to say the person’s name directly or omit the pronoun completely. Whenever you’re not sure about which “you” word to use, remember that you can always take out the word “you.” A common mistake among English speakers learning Japanese is to add too many “you” words.


  • “You” is usually omitted by Japanese people
  • Japanese people will use the person’s name instead of saying “you,” or as a way to say “you”
  • There are many types of “you’s” in Japanese, but they’re only used in specific contexts

So, let’s look at all the ways of saying you in Japanese.

B. Nice & Casual Ways to Say You in Japanese

In casual situations, you’ll most likely use the person’s name or leave out “you”. Although there are casual words like anata, kimi, or omae, it’s easy to sound rude if you say them to the wrong person.

1) Say their name

Simply using the person’s name is the best way to say you in Japanese. In fact, that’s what you would use instead of “anata,” which is mentioned below.

You should add honorifics like chan or kun to make it sound more friendly. If the other person is a family member or very close friend you could also say their name without honorifics.

2) あなた / Anata

Another way to say “you” is by using anata.You’ll often see anata translated directly as “you,” even though Japanese people don’t use this word that often.There are 2 situations where you can use this word and be nice:

  1. In a casual context, it is for wives to show affection to their husbands. As in, anata meaning darling.
  2. You could also use “anata” if you don’t know a person at all. For example, if someone drops a wallet, you could use “anata.” As in, “kore wa anata no saifuu desu ka” (is this your wallet?)

Is anata rude? Yes, it can be considered rude. Especially if you already know that person. Saying “you” is a lot like pointing a finger in someone’s face — it’s too direct in the Japanese language. So, it’s not really used in casual conversations. In fact, anata is included down below in the “rude ways to say you in Japanese.”

3) きみ / Kimi

In many mangas and anime series, this word shows up frequently to mean “you.” However, it’s usually a masculine style of speech used towards those lower on the social hierarchy. It can show a feeling of closeness where the other person is taking care of and looking out for the lower hierarchy person.

If you’re wondering about kimi vs anata

Remember, kimi is for talking to friends who may be younger than you, or lower in some hierarchy — like for someone in a lower grade. And anata, well, it’s not really used too much with friends.

4) おまえ / Omae

Looking for the omae meaning?


A casual but slightly rude way to say “you” is omae. This can be said between male friends as a part of masculine speech, and it has a brotherly tone to it. It is super casual and can sound rude, so it’s best to be careful. You wouldn’t want to use it with people you don’t know.

C) Polite Ways to Say You

If you’re trying to be polite, a name or title is the best way to say “you.” Anata could work, but you have to use it in the correct situation.

5) Their Name + honorific

In most polite situations, you’ll want to use the person’s name and an honorific like san or sama. This shows that you respect the other person, and you don’t have to worry about offending the other person. You can choose whether to use their last name or first name. Typically a last name is more polite, and a first name means you already know the other person well.

6) Their Title

Using the person’s title is also a great way to say “you” while respecting their position. For example, you could use the word for a professor (hakase), teacher (sensei), or customer (okyakusan) in place of their name or “you.”

7) あなた / Anata

This word was in the casual section, but it also applies in certain polite situations. You typically only want to use this word when you’re indirectly talking to someone, which only happens in questionnaires and surveys. In most speaking and writing, you should avoid using this word as it can even be rude.

And remember, in a polite setting — you can use “anata” if you don’t know a person at all, and have to get their attention.

D. Rude Ways to Say You

There are many ways to say “you” in a rude way. This is because you usually don’t need to say “you” unless you’re trying to add more meaning. In the case of rude “you” words, you can make phrases sound like an insult just by using them.

8) てめえ / Temee

Temee can be offensive, and you won’t hear it unless people are shouting and fighting. This word feels aggressive, and it’s used primarily by men and shows that you’re looking down on the other person.

9) おめえ / Omee

This might be the omae meaning you’re looking for… if you’re watching anime.

This is a ruder version of omae. It’s not as harsh as temee, but you could also use it in a fight or when you’re angry. It’s also a way for people to talk to sound rougher and manly.

10) このやろう / Konoyarou

One of the rudest ways to say “you” is konoyarou; it means “you horrid person” and can act like a swear word. You can use it in angry contexts when someone has wronged you.

11) きさま / Kisama

Wondering what the kisama meaning is? Well….

It is another rude way to say “you” that you should only use when feeling angry. Since there are many fighting scenes in anime, you might notice the characters using this word in those situations. Like the word konoyarou, it can sound like the equivalent of a swear word in English.

12) きみ / Kimi

Kimi was also in the casual section, but it can also be rude. If you say it to someone who is actually of a higher social hierarchy than you, you could offend them. It can sound like you’re degrading the other person.

13) あんた / Anta

Another way to rudely say “you” is anta. It is an altered version of anata and sounds rude and harsh. Women use anta when they are annoyed at someone or want to show that they are looking down on you. It’s typically not as common for men to use this word.

E. Conclusion: Back to “YOU”

Alright, you…

Now you know all of the fun ways to say you in Japanese.

For the most part, you don’t want to use “anata” and the person’s name instead. That may be the safest approach of all.

Did this clarify your thoughts about all the variations like kimi vs anata and anata vs omae?

Leave a comment!

– The Main Lingua Junkie

How to Say You in Japanese: 13 Ways & How Natives Say "You" (2)


Are there different ways to say you in Japanese? ›

Read on to find out more. Besides “you”, there are other ways to refer to youself in Japanese, including ore, boku and watashi. It's complicated, yes, but knowing them is the difference between getting glares and making friends.

Should I use Anata and Kimi? ›

Generally speaking, "anata" is a neutral way of saying "you" while "kimi" is a very casual and rather boyish way of saying it.

What can I use instead of Anata WA? ›

In this case, it's similar to “my darling” and “my sweetie” in English. You might have heard “omae” which also means “you”. Husbands tend to use “omae” when they're talking to their wives instead of “anata”. Also, “omae” is often used by men when they are talking to their close friend.

What's the difference between Anata Kimi and Omae? ›

Basically, kimi, just like omae, implies a certain level of intimacy when used. The difference between kimi and omae is that when omae is used and the intimacy is unwarranted, people can find it blatantly rude. But when kimi is used and the intimacy is unwarranted, people find it condescending.

Can I just say Genki? ›

So, as you may have guessed, saying “Genki” in such a setting might sound rude and disrespectful. Instead, you should use the formal form of the phrase and say “Genki desu ka” (元気ですか) or, if you want to sound even more respectful, you can add an “o” in the beginning and say “O genki desu ka” (お元気ですか).

Can I use Boku instead of Watashi? ›

When meeting someone for the first time, you should use “watashi”. And when you have become somewhat close to them, you can use “boku”. Then when you have become very close to them, you can use “ore.” In a woman's case, “watashi” can always be used whenever, wherever and with whomever you speak.

What is Watashi vs Anata? ›

Pronoun choice depends on the speaker's social status (as compared to the listener's) as well as the sentence's subjects and objects. The first-person pronouns (e.g., watashi, 私) and second-person pronouns (e.g., anata, 貴方) are used in formal contexts (however the latter can be considered rude).

What does Kimi Suki mean? ›

Article Talk. Kimi Ga Suki * Raifu (Japanese: キミがスキ・ライフ, lit. "I Love You – Life") is an album by alternative rock musician Matthew Sweet.

Does Anata mean darling or you? ›

あなた — Anata

It can be said in an endearing way, like “darling” or a pet name in English, but it is also often used to express exasperation. Mostly used by: You can use this to refer to a stranger. Women also use it to address their spouses.

Can boys say Watashi wa? ›

Watashi: 私 (わたし)

In formal situations, it's the safest choice and doesn't carry any gender nuances. In casual speech, however, わたし can give off a “feminine” feel, and it's typically only used by women. When men use it in a casual context — when talking with a friend or family — it'll sound stiff.

Is Kimi impolite? ›

君 (kimi): used by men toward people of lower status. Typically not rude. (not inherently formal/informal, but makes the status hierarchy explicit, and is therefore better suited to formal situations)

What is Koibito? ›

The word koibito (恋人 / こいびと) means 'lover'. Already, it appears to have a deeper nuance than kareshi. This is typically said when two people are deeply in love with each other, but it can also be used liberally in a relationship.

What does Kimi ga aishiteru mean? ›

Example: 君を愛してる (Kimi wo ai shiteru) Translation: I love you.

Can girls say Omae? ›

”お前(omae)” is usually used by male, but sometimes it's used by female too, like you watched it in anime. お前 is an informal way of saying "you" but it doesn't always mean the speaker is violent.

What is Kimi no na wa in Japanese? ›

君の名は。 (kimi no na wa) = Your Name is?

What does desu ka mean? ›

It's often used to ask or indicate if something is okay. For example: “ii desu ka” (is it ok?).

How do I reply to Genki desu ka? ›

Explanation. In OGENKI DESU KA (Are you fine?), OGENKI is an adjective GENKI (fine, healthy) with an honorific O before it. If you answer, “Yes, I'm fine,” you say HAI, GENKI DESU.

What is Sumimasen? ›

SUMIMASEN has many different meanings: "I'm sorry", "thank you" and to get someone's attention.

Can females use Boku? ›

BOKU is for males and KIMI is referring to a female and is equivalent to ANATA.

Should I say ore or boku? ›

Boku: Polite, Sophisticate, Humble You can use it among your friends but they may feel you are too polite. It is appropriate word to a person who you meet at the first time. Ore: Not formal, Masculinity Most of men use "ore" in the conversation with close friends, classmates and colleagues.

What do Japanese call themselves? ›

Nihon-jin (日本人) (Japanese people)

What is kimi in Japanese? ›

Meaning:upright, righteous. Kimi is a feminine name of Japanese origin. A variant of Kimiko, this name means “righteous” and “upright,” making a wonderful reminder to live a just, honest life. If you want to inspire your bundle of joy to stand by their values, naming them Kimi is sure to do the job.

What do you call your lover in Japanese? ›

Koibito (恋人 / こいびと) is the Japanese word for 'sweetheart' or 'lover'. It consists of the characters for love (恋) and person (人). It can be used for a girlfriend or boyfriend, or even husband or wife.

What is anata? ›

Anata (あなた) is the Japanese word for "you". Anata may refer to: Anata, a Japanese language second-person pronoun, sometimes used by married couples to refer to their partners.

What does Kimi wa kawaii ne mean? ›

For example, "kimi/anata/anta/omae wa kawaii ne" means "you are cute" or "you look cute".

What does Kimi ga Suki Dakara mean? ›

1. "Kimi ga Suki Dakara" (君が好きだから "Because I Love You")

What is ga suki in Japanese? ›

The most formal and neutral way to say 'I love you' in Japanese would be : 私はあなたが好きです。/ Watashi ha anata ga suki desu.

Do Japanese girls say I love you? ›

Linguistic differences aside, there is a larger cultural difference that causes a mistranslation to occur. Japanese people simply do not regularly say “I love you.” Someone might say “Aishiteru” in a sappy romantic movie, but overall the lingering impression after one professes their love in Japanese is a profound ...

How do you say OK in Japanese? ›

Wakarimashita / wakatta

Wakarimashita (分かりました / わかりました) is one of the best ways to say okay in Japanese.

Can I call my boyfriend anata? ›

Anata means 'you' in Japanese. Pretty sure you've heard that it is considered rude to use it with people you are not close with. That is not the case between couples, though! Though this is more common among older generations, anata is a common term of endearment for wives to call their husbands.

Who uses Boku? ›

Boku - commonly used by little boys with family members or friends. Have a bit of childish/pure nuance. Ore - used by men and have a nuance where you put yourself higher than others.

Can girls call guys kun? ›

-Kun is the more respectful of the two, but is still rather informal. It's used more commonly for men and boys than women and girls. That said, it's become more common for higher ups to refer to juniors at work using -kun regardless of gender and for teachers to simply use -san for everyone, regardless of gender.

Can a girl say kun to a boy? ›

Kun (くん) – used by people of senior status to refer to people of junior status or by anyone when referring to male children or teenagers. Women may also used the term when referring to a guy they are emotionally attached or known a long time. Kun isn't male exclusive, but mostly used for male references.

How do girls say I in Japanese? ›

The Feminine Pronoun: 私 (あたし) — Atashi

Although watashi is accepting of everyone, the pronoun atashi is primarily used by women. Japanese doesn't have helpful articles like the Spanish “el” or “la,” which can make learning about pronouns a little tricky. The vast majority of those using atashi are women.

What does Kimi no te mean? ›

Kimi no Te (きみのて; Your Hand) (Words - Kaori Mochida / music - HIKARI)

What disorder does Kimi have? ›

The Best Movies of the Year: Kimi's Riveting, Respectful Redefinition of On-Screen Autism. A modern update on the jangling conspiratorial thrills of films like The Conversation and Blow Out, Steven Soderbergh's Kimi was a jolt of energy for me in the early days of 2022 that no film since has been able to replicate.

What is Japanese slang for wife? ›

Tsuma. The word tsuma (妻 / つま) means 'wife' and 'spouse'. It is used to refer to your own wife, so it is unnecessary to use watashi no (私の / わたしの) or 'my'.

What is white in Japanese female? ›

White in Japanese (Shiro)

What does Shiroi Kodo mean? ›

Shiroi Kyotō (白い巨塔, literally "The White Tower") is a 1965 novel by Toyoko Yamasaki.

What does daisuki da yo mean? ›

"Daisuki da yo. (大好きだよ。; I love you.)"

What does anata ga suki mean in English? ›

But you can also say 'I like you': Anata ga suki desu.

Do they say Waifu in Japan? ›

The term "waifu" originates from Japan itself, all the way back in the 1980s. According to, Japanese people of the time sought a more progressive way to describe their spouses, since the Japanese word for wife, kanai, had heavy implications of someone being bound to the house, as in a homemaker.

Is it rude to call a girl by her first name in Japan? ›

Unlike many western cultures, in Japan people generally don't call one-another by their first name. Doing so can be a mark of disrespect, unless you're very close to the other person and in the right sort of casual environment, so you've read. Mental note then: first names are best avoided.

Can you call a girl kawaii? ›

In Japan, kawaii can be used to describe both people and things as “cute.” It is often used to describe girls and women as “pretty” or “shy,” and it is generally taken as a high compliment.

Is Kimi or Anata rude? ›

Kimi and anata are both polite, humble words that are used to express more than just pointing out the second person.

What are the red stairs in Your Name? ›

Suga Shrine

These are the stairs that were used for the poster of the movie. The red handrails are eye-catching, so you will probably be able to easily remember the image. This place is the entrance to Yotsuya Suga Shrine. It's a shrine that actually exists in Yotsuya, where Taki lives.

How old is Taki in Your Name? ›

He is a 17-year old high-school student who lives a busy lifestyle as he juggles his part-time job at an Italian restaurant, spends fun times with his friends and hopes for a future in architecture.

Can I say Anata? ›

“Anata” itself is an accepted word, with a proper use. When pressed, Japanese will say that “anata“ is equivalent to English “you” – but that answer is not quite right. “Anata“ is used two ways: 1) by wives addressing their husbands, and, 2) to signify a generic “you” in questionnaires.

What is Hai Genki desu? ›

In OGENKI DESU KA (Are you fine?), OGENKI is an adjective GENKI (fine, healthy) with an honorific O before it. If you answer, “Yes, I'm fine,” you say HAI, GENKI DESU.

Is Genki desu polite? ›

“genki desu ka” is more polite than ”genki?” and is used by people in higher positions to people in lower positions. For example, teachers to students and superiors to subordinates. “genki?” is the most casual and is used among friends.

Can a guy say Watashi? ›

Watashi: 私 (わたし)

In formal situations, it's the safest choice and doesn't carry any gender nuances. In casual speech, however, わたし can give off a “feminine” feel, and it's typically only used by women. When men use it in a casual context — when talking with a friend or family — it'll sound stiff.

What does Genki Kai mean? ›

元気かい? (genki kai)

Hey, what's up?” This might be the most casual phrase you can use to ask how are you in Japanese! Be sure to only use this phrase with friends!

What does Watashi Genki mean? ›

わたしはげんき。 Watashi wa genki desu. I'm fine.

What Sugoi means? ›

What is the meaning of sugoi? すごい (Sugoi) is a word that means terrible, dreadful, amazing or great.

What is Kimi wa? ›

Article Talk. Kimi wa 008 (君は008, lit. "You Are 008") is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Syun Matsuena. It has been serialized in Shogakukan's shōnen manga magazine Weekly Shōnen Sunday since February 2018, with its chapters collected in 26 tankōbon volumes as of June 2023. Kimi wa 008.

What does Boku wa mean? ›

"Boku wa" is a Japanese phrase that translates to "I am" in English. It is a first-person pronoun typically used by men.

What does Kimiko mean in Japanese? ›

Origin:Japanese. Meaning:valuable, beautiful, noble; child. Kimiko is a feminine name of Japanese origin that is rich with meaning.

How do you respond to konnichiwa? ›

When someone greets you in Japanese with “Konnichiwa” it is best to respond with the same phrase “Konnichiwa”.

What is the negative of desu? ›

Janai desu is the negative form of desu.

What does Genki de wa Nai mean? ›

You could also disagree and say 元気ではない “Genki de wa nai” which means “I'm not fine”.


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