Languages › Japanese How to Use "San," "Kun" and "Chan" Correctly When Speaking Japanese Why You Don't Want to Mix Up These Three Words in Japanese Share Flipboard Email Print ThoughtCo. / Claire Cohen Japanese Japanese Grammar History & Culture Essential Japanese Vocabulary By Namiko Abe Japanese Language Expert B.A., Kwansei Gakuin University Namiko Abe is a Japanese language teacher and translator, as well as a Japanese calligraphy expert. She has been a freelance writer for nearly 20 years. our editorial process Namiko Abe Updated February 28, 2020 "San," "kun," and "chan" are added to the ends of names and occupation titles to convey varying degrees of intimacy and respect in the Japanese language. They are used very often and it is considered impolite if you use the terms incorrectly. For instance, you should not use "kun" when addressing a superior or "chan" when talking to someone older than you. In the tables below, you'll see how and when it is appropriate to use "san," "kun," and "chan." San In Japanese, "~ san （～さん）" is a title of respect added to a name. It can be used with both male and female names, and with either surnames or given names. It can also be attached to the name of occupations and titles. For example: surname Yamada-san山田さん Mr. Yamada given name Yoko-san陽子さん Miss. Yoko occupation honya-san本屋さん bookseller sakanaya-san魚屋さん fishmonger title shichou-san市長さん mayor oisha-sanお医者さん doctor bengoshi-san弁護士さん lawyer Kun Less polite than "~ san", "~ kun （～君）" is used to address men who are younger or the same age as the speaker. A male might address female inferiors by "~ kun," usually in schools or companies. It can be attached to both surnames and given names. Additionally, "~kun" isn't used between women or when addressing one's superiors. Chan A very familiar term, "~ chan （～ちゃん）" is often attached to children's names when calling them by their given names. It can also be attached to kinship terms in a childish language. For instance: Mika-chan美香ちゃん Mika ojii-chanおじいちゃん grandpa obaa-chanおばあちゃん grandma oji-chanおじちゃん uncle Formal Introductions in Japanese "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" Christmas Carol in Japanese Learn How to Conjugate the Japanese Verb "Suru" Expressing Uncertainty in Japanese Language Using the Japanese Particles "Wa" and "Ga" Correctly Learn How to Conjugate Japanese Verbs Personal Pronouns in Japanese Expressing Apologies in Japanese The Difference Between "Kudasai" and "Onegaishimasu" in Japanese Expressions of Ability and Potential Verbs in Japanese The Japanese Christmas Song "Awatenbou no Santakuroosu" Frequently Asked Questions in Introductory Japanese Guide to the Japanese Language in the Animated "Spirited Away" Vegetables in Japanese Vocabulary How to Express Your Thoughts in Japanese Japanese Children Song "Donguri Korokoro"