How to Speak Japanese Swear Words

San, sama and Co .: The correct form of address in Japan

Risk of confusion: what is the first name and what is the last name?

Very often the Japanese write their own family name in uppercase and lowercase their first name in foreign-language emails: "Best regards, TAKADA Kenichi". This is very helpful because in Japanese the last name is always first and there can be no confusion. If it is not clear whether it is a woman or a man, you can go through a san pull out of the affair as this is correct in both cases. In this case, however, “Dear” should also be dispensed with.

It is also advisable to use “MEIER, Heinrich (Hr.)” In the signature of one's own name, as some of the local names are not easy to interpret for Japanese people with regard to gender.

Another complication arises from the fact that, from the Japanese point of view, all of Europe and the USA / Canada are often viewed as one group in which the same rules apply. The word for it is called At 欧米 (Europe-America), but there is no corresponding expression for this in German.

Through this equation, rules from the Anglo-American area are also applied one-to-one for other countries, because you don't want to do anything wrong.
Many Japanese employees who have been to the USA have also given themselves nicknames such as “Bill, Tom or Allen” to make it easier for their colleagues there to address them. This adaptation also applies to the Anglo-American custom of addressing others immediately by their first name. In this way the Japanese try to please us “European Americans”, although this custom is not at all common in Germany or France.

This creates situations in which you are immediately written to in this country with “Dear Sabine”, but it is not clear whether you should / may address the new Japanese managing director by first name (“Dear Yoshi” etc.) or whether that is would be disrespectful. It becomes even more difficult if the communication takes place in English, because the English “Dear” can be used both formally and informally. In German, greetings such as “Liebe” or “Dear” give an idea of ​​the expected distance.

Before we are too surprised at the generalization in the sense of “Europe-America”, we should remind ourselves that we very often see “Asia” as a homogeneous unit. This puts Japan, Myanmar, Thailand and Indonesia into one group, although the countries differ in almost everything. So there are generalizations in all cultures ...

Tips for the correct use of salutations

  • It is advisable to always start politely / formally when dealing with Japanese people and only then to act more relaxed / casual when you can better assess the other person.
  • If you act sloppily from the start, as in the USA, it can backfire at times. If the Japanese counterpart feels that they have been treated with disrespect, it is sometimes very difficult to find normal ways of dealing with people again.
  • On the other hand, you can usually not offend Japanese by being too polite.

Here is another quiz question at the end:
In which situation should you also be in Germansan Do not use?


Solution: If you talk about yourself, for example introducing yourself, you should NOT san append. So not: “Hello, my name is Maria san! ”That would make a rather strange impression.