11 Examples of Japanese Etiquette That Would Drive Us Crazy


Japan is famous for its incredibly complex etiquette rules. It may seem unnecessary to turn simple actions into ceremonies, but in Japan, for sure, no one is offended by this.

11. Addressing people

  • ”-kun“ — a less formal honorific than the neutral “-san.” General use of ”-kun“ approximately means ”friend.“
  • “-chan” — a diminutive suffix, primarily used for children, female family members, lovers, and close friends.
  • “-sama“ — the most respectful version (”lord,” “honorable”). It was used to refer to lords and deities. Nowadays, it’s sometimes used to express sarcasm.
  • ”-senpai“ — for addressing one’s elder colleagues or schoolmates.
  • ”-kōhai“ — the opposite of “senpai.”
  • ”-sensei“ — for addressing teachers, doctors, scientists, politicians, and other authority figures.
  • ”-shi” — for formal writing.