Updated: April 27, 2016
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Japanese Terms Of Endearment/Pet Names

How do Japanese calls their significant other? Do they use terms such as babe, sweetie, darling, etc? What if I have a Japanese lover? Read to find out more!

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Have you ever wondered how would you change how to call each other after becoming a couple with a Japanese person?

Terms of endearment differ in each culture, and it can confuse you in dating with a Japanese girl/guy.

Japanese people are not that open in showing affections, therefore he/she might not be comfortable calling you in English pet names such as bae, baby, darling, honey, sweetheart, but at the same time you want to show her/him a special attention by calling her/him differently.

I'm sure it will be sweet and cute even for the shy Japanese people. But, how do you do that?

Here are some commonly used examples in Japan:

1. English Loanword

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There are some pet names that are loanwords from English which are listed in the dictionary but is not commonly used in daily lives, such as darling (ダーリン) and honey (ハニー).

They are still commonly used in movie/book/song titles though, so it is best not to use them in calling your Japanese significant other.

2. By Given Name

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This is the most common way of Japanese lovers calling each other after becoming a couple.

In Japan, it is common to call someone by their family name if you are still not that close to them, and you can only call them by first names after getting quite close to them.

Especially for the opposite gender, calling someone by their given name can indicate that you have interest in them as a potential boyfriend or girlfriend.

Some couples even refrain from calling each other by given names until early stages of dating, because it's embarrassing and they want to get closer before start calling each other by given names.

3. Given Name+Honorifics

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Honorifics are used as suffixes that attach to the end of people's names, and can be applied to either the first or last name depending on which is given.

Honorifics are gender neutral, but for lovers (especially for girlfriend) it is best to use honorifics which have a feminine nuance such as -chan, because it will sound cutesy and romantic in such situation.

For boyfriend, he might be uncomfortable being called by feminine honorific -chan, but you can use -kun as an alternative.

4. Not Using Name (Oy, Hey)

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There are some couples doing this too, people can generally consider these callings not really pleasant to the ear. Some might even get mad when you call them like this.

To be honest I think it is quite disrespectful.

The Best Way is..

You should consult to them before officially dating!
Making promise what terms you can and cannot use will prevent you from having a fight with your boyfriend/girlfriend!
Now that you know, good luck with your dating life, friends!

Don't forget to share the words to your pals!
An International student having the adventure of her life in Tokyo, Japan.

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