How many of you have a younger sister? How around any sister at all? together for me, I have one larger sister and also three younger ones because that a full of four sisters!

Now here’s the amazing thing: in English us don’t distinguish in between older and also younger with our word for “sister”. Yet in Japanese over there is both a native that method “younger sister” and also a different word that way “older sister”.

You are watching: How to say sister in japanese

How perform you say little sister in Japanese? fine the brief answer is imouto.

But yes a lot more to understanding this word, the kanji for it, and also how it relates to the other household members.

To really know it, you will need to know around the uchi/soto concept, and also around the tate concept. I talked a small bit around it before when I explained the meaning of the word senpai, however I will offer a short explanation around it right here as well.

By the why, if girlfriend don’t recognize what words senpai means, then you can click below to find out.


Contents hide
1) little Sister – 妹 (imouto)
2) big Sister – 姉 (ane)
3) The ide of 縦 (tate)
4) her Sister vs. Who Else’s sister
5) She’s no your enlarge sister, however you contact her that anyway?
6) The more You Know, The an ext You Know!

Little sister – 妹 (imouto)

The word 妹 (imouto) means “younger sister” in Japanese. If you study the kanji because that it, you will view that it was produced by acquisition two various kanji, and then combining them into a single new kanji.



For the most part you are just going to add on the さん honorific to the words because that “sister”. Yet pay close fist to “older sister” together the pronunciation changes from “ane” to simply “nee” and the polite お is added to the beginning.

Even knowing all this, younger siblings will certainly still sometimes contact their older sister 姉ちゃん (neechan) to present them part respect and familiarity. They are older after all.

She’s no your older sister, yet you speak to her the anyway?

Have you ever before read a manga and also saw the main character contact a stranger お姉さん?

Or have you ever been city hall an anime and also heard “nee” included on come a girl’s name, kind of favor “good morning Miyuki-nee”?

The first example is one the you will probably see and hear a lot. That’s due to the fact that when someone doesn’t know a young woman’s name, they generally just call her お姉さん together a polite way of obtaining her attention. It would certainly be taken into consideration rude to just point and speak “hey you!”

As because that the second example, sometimes a human being will add 姉 (nee) on to someone’s name together a suffix to present the connection that lock feel towards them.

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So to show this, let’s say the you grew up v a neighbor named Miyuki that is a couple of years older than you and she’s always been “like a huge sister” to you. Girlfriend might speak to her 美雪姉 (Miyuki-nee), which would certainly be type of prefer calling her “Big-sis Miyuki”.

The an ext You Know, The more You Know!

So there you have it. Friend now recognize the words because that both older and also younger sister, the kanji because that each one, exactly how to tell them apart from every other, the ide of tate, and the double concept the uchi/soto!

That’s a LOT! and also to think, you were just looking to learn just how to to speak “imouto” LOL!