How many of you have actually a younger sister? How around any sisters at all? As for me, I have actually one older sister and also three younger ones for a full of 4 sisters!

Now here’s the interesting thing: in English we don’t distinguish between older and younger through our word for “sister”. But in Japanese tright here is both a word that indicates “younger sister” and also a different word that suggests “older sister”.

You are watching: How do you say older sister in japanese

How execute you say bit sister in Japanese? Well the short answer is imouto.

But there’s a lot even more to expertise this word, the kanji for it, and how it relates to the other family members members.

To really understand also it, you will certainly have to recognize around the uchi/soto concept, and also about the tate idea. I talked a tiny bit around it prior to when I explained the meaning of the word senpai, but I will provide a brief explacountry around it below also.

By the why, if you don’t understand what the word senpai implies, then you deserve to click here to uncover out.


Contents hide
1) Little Sister – 妹 (imouto)
2) Big Sister – 姉 (ane)
3) The Concept of 縦 (tate)
4) Your Sister vs. Someone Else’s Sister
5) She’s not your older sister, yet you call her that anyway?
6) The More You Know, The More You Know!

Little Sister – 妹 (imouto)

The word 妹 (imouto) suggests “younger sister” in Japanese. If you examine the kanji for it, you will certainly watch that it was created by taking two different kanji, and also then combining them right into a solitary new kanji.



For the most component you are just going to add on the さん honorific to the words for “sister”. But pay cshed attention to “older sister” as the pronunciation changes from “ane” to simply “nee” and the polite お is included to the start.

Even discovering all this, younger siblings will still periodically contact their older sisters 姉ちゃん (neechan) to show them some respect and familiarity. They are older after all.

She’s not your older sister, yet you speak to her that anyway?

Have you ever before review a manga and witnessed the main character call a stranger お姉さん?

Or have actually you ever been watching an anime and heard “nee” added on to a girl’s name, sort of favor “good morning Miyuki-nee”?

The first instance is one that you will certainly most likely watch and hear a lot. That’s bereason as soon as someone doesn’t understand a young woman’s name, they usually simply call her お姉さん as a polite method of getting her attention. It would certainly be taken into consideration rude to just allude and also say “hey you!”

As for the second example, sometimes a perchild will certainly include 姉 (nee) on to someone’s name as a suffix to display the partnership that they feel towards them.

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So to show this, let’s say that you flourished up with a neighbor named Miyuki that is a few years older than you and she’s constantly been “choose a big sister” to you. You could speak to her 美雪姉 (Miyuki-nee), which would be type of prefer calling her “Big-sis Miyuki”.

The More You Know, The More You Know!

So tright here you have it. You currently know the words for both older and also younger sister, the kanji for each one, just how to tell them apart from each various other, the principle of tate, and also the dual principle of uchi/soto!

That’s a LOT! And to think, you were just looking to learn how to say “imouto” LOL!