The following is a list of Japanese words and phrases frequently used in Hajime no Ippo.

Name suffixes, etc.


San (さん) is the most common honorific and is a title of respect. It is used for the surnames or given names of both males and females. Although in translation san is usually rendered as a common courtesy title like “Mr.” or “Ms.”, unlike these it is never used in self-reference. Using san to refer to oneself makes one appear childish.

San may also be used in combination with nouns describing the addressee or referent other than the person's name; for example, a bookseller might be addressed or referred to as honya-san ("bookseller" + san) and a butcher, as nikuya-san ("butcher" + san).

San is also used when talking about companies and other similar entities. For example, the offices or shop of a company called Kojima Denki might be referred to as "Kojima Denki-san" by another nearby company. This may be seen on the small maps often used in phone books and business cards in Japan, where the names of surrounding companies are written using san.

In western Japan (Kansai), particularly in the Kyoto area, Han (はん) is used instead of san.


Kun (君) is an informal honorific primarily used towards males (it is still used towards females, but rarely, mostly when she has a male appereance or whe she is a tomboy). It is used by persons of senior status in addressing those of junior status, by males of roughly the same age and status when addressing each other, and by anyone in addressing male children. In business settings, women, particularly young women, may also be addressed as kun by older males of senior status. It is sometimes used towards male pets as well.

School teachers typically address male students using kun, while female students are addressed as san or chan. The use of kun to address male children is similar to the use of san when addressing adults. In other words, not using kun would be considered rude in most situations, but, like the rule for using san in reference to family members, kun is traditionally not used when addressing or referring to one's own child (unless kun is part of a nickname: "Akira-kun"—Akkun).


Chan (ちゃん) is an informal version of san used to address children and female family members. It may also be used towards animals, lovers, intimate friends, and people whom one has known since childhood. Chan continues to be used as a term of endearment, especially for girls, into adulthood. Parents will probably always call their daughters chan and their sons kun, though chan can be used towards boys just as easily. Adults may use chan as a term of endearment to women with whom they are on close terms.

Chan can be considered a feminine mode of speech in that it is used mainly by, or towards, females. Its pattern of usage is similar to using "dear" when addressing someone in English. Males would not use chan when addressing other males (other than very young children, or idiomatic cases like Shuwa-chan, described below).

"Pet names" are often made by attaching chan to a truncated stem of a name. This implies even greater intimacy than simply attaching it to the full name. So for example, a pet rabbit (usagi) might be called usa-chan rather than usagi-chan. Similarly, Chan is sometimes used to form pet names for celebrities. For example, Arnold Schwarzenegger gained the nickname Shuwa chan in Japanese. Pet-names may also use variations on chan (see "euphonic suffixes", below).

Although traditionally honorifics are not applied to oneself, some young women adopt the affectation of referring to themselves in the third person using chan, a mode of speech normally only found amongst small children. For example, a young woman named Maki might call herself Maki-chan rather than using a first person pronoun.

Senpai and kōhai

Senpai (先輩), formally romanized as sempai, is used to address senior colleagues or mentor figures, e.g. students referring to or addressing more senior students in schools, junior athletes more senior ones in a sports club, or a mentor or more experienced or senior colleague in a business environment. As with English titles such as Doctor, senpai can be used either by itself as a title, or with a person's name in place of san.

Kōhai (後輩) is the reverse of this. It is used to refer to juniors (but not normally address them: kōhai are normally addressed by name +kun; addressing someone directly as kōhai would be somewhat rude).


Sensei (先生) is used to refer to or address teachers, practitioners of a profession such as doctors and lawyers, politicians, and other authority figures. It is used to show respect to someone who has achieved a certain level of mastery in an art form or some other skill. For example, Japanese manga fans refer to manga artists using the term sensei, as in Morikawa-sensei for George Morikawa; the term is used similarly by fans of other creative professionals such as novelists, musicians, and artists. It is also a common martial arts title when referring to the instructor.

As with senpai, Sensei can be used not only as a suffix but a title by itself, translating to "Professor" or "Teacher".


Sama (様) is the formal version of san. This honorific is used primarily in addressing persons much higher in rank than oneself and in commercial and business settings to address and refer to customers. It also appears in words used to address or speak of persons or objects for which the speaker wishes to show respect or deference, such as okyaku-sama (customer). Additionally, Japanese Christians will refer to God in prayer as Kami-sama and Jesus as Iesu-sama. -sama is regularly used by the press to mention female members of the Imperial Family (as in Masako-sama). People will also affix sama to the names of personages who have a special talent or are considered particularly attractive, though this usage can also be tongue-in-cheek, exaggerated, or even ironic. Examples include "Tanaka-sama" to refer to a young man or celebrity named Tanaka who is considered rather handsome by his admirers. Further, sama can be used to express arrogance (or self-effacing irony), such as in the arrogant male pronoun ore-sama ("my esteemed self") for "I" (Takamura is known for doing this). Referring to oneself with -sama is considered to be highly egotistical.

Sama also follows the addressee's name on postal packages and letters and is frequently seen in business e-mails.


Aniki means "bro" in its crony mean.


Otaku is a word that means basically "a huge fan of" for example, if someone plays video games alot, you would call them a videogame otaku. Just as Ippo is obsessed with Miyata, he is sometimes called a Miyata otaku.



See also