Japanese pronouns

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Pronouns in Japanese are mathematically laid out and easily comprehensible. They are made in relation to relative location in general. The base prefixes for relative location used in Japanese pronouns are:

  • Ko- here (closer to me than you)
  • So- there (closer to you then me)
  • A- over there (far from both of us)

In order to actually make pronouns you will need a root word to tack this onto. They are as follows:


is based on the root "-ko". If we wish to say the Japanese word for "here" we would say "koko". "There" is "soko", and "over there" is "asoko". The "asoko" word is the only real exception to the regular combination of the pronoun bits I know there to be in the construction of pronouns. In colloquial Japanese, you can also say "kochi," "sochi," and "achi."


have the root "-re" or "-no". Thus, "this" is "kore", "that" is "sore", and "that over there" is "are". These words are used as subjects in a sentence only. The words "kono", "sono" and "ano" which mean the same respectively, are used as adjectives. The difference can be characterized by reading the following:

  • This is a dog. (use as subject) - これは犬です。(kore wa inu desu)
  • This dog is brown. (use as adjective for subject) - この犬は茶色です。(kono inu wa chairo desu)


are "-itsu", thus koitsu, soitsu and aitsu mean "this person", "that person", and "that person over there." These are not terms used in polite speech, but it is useful to see that the ko- so- a- structure carries over. Other forms of first, second and third person reference exist, and they are listed below:

Japanese Pronouns
me or I Watashi (standard)

Watakushi (humble)

Boku (young boys and some men only)

Atashi (women and girls only)

Atakushi (women and girls only, but extra humble)

Ore (reserved for men to use in friendly circumstances)

Jibun ("myself")

Ware Ware ("us", very formal)







じぶん (自分)

われわれ (我々)

you Anata (standard)

Anta (less formal, how a wife addresses her husband)

Kimi (how you might address a child or close friend)




he/she Kare/Kanojo かれ(彼)/かのじょ(彼女)

Plurals: In order to pluralize either "I" or "you", affix the suffix "-tachi". Saying "Watashi-tachi" means "we", "Anata-tachi" means "you guys". The words for "he" and "she" can be pluralized by adding "-ra". "Karera" is "those guys", "kanojora" is "those girls."