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When to use watashi/boku/ore and anata/kimi/omae
Link | by on 2006-12-30 06:07:52
I know that "watashi", "boku" & "ore" all mean "I" and "anata", "kimi", & "omae" all mean "you". But I kinda don't understand when to use them in conversations. All I know is that "ore" is usually used by men. Also, what is "he", "she" in Japanese?


Re: When to use watashi/boku/ore and anata/kimi/omae
Link | by rokuemon on 2006-12-30 07:20:39
Ahh, complex subject desu ^^; There are no quick answers, it depends, depends, depends ^^

The main thing is to consider how well you know the person, if they are older or younger than you, whether they should be treated with respect, etc.

If you don't know them at all you should stick with watashi for yourself and you should avoid saying "you" to them completely! Basically Japanese do not use "I" and "you" very much, because saying "watashi wa" too much makes you sound self-important, and saying "anata" sounds either like you are trying to get into their personal space, or like you are accusing them of something!

If you have to say "you" it is polite, instead, to use their name. For example, if you want to ask Ms Yamada what she is doing at the weekend, to be polite you begin with "Yamada-san wa..." and not "Anata wa...". Sounds weird in English, but not in Japanese.

You really have to be comfortable with your relationship with a person in order to know if it is ok to use words like "boku" "ore" to refer to yourself. You must have seen in anime where sometimes a character makes a thing about someone saying "ore" (it's as if they started swearing!), even "boku" which is not as strong can raise eyebrows. You have to remember that choosing one of these words says something about yourself, and to a Japanese, this might not have the effect you expected. I think the best thing is to avoid "pronouns" as much as possible, which in Japanese is very easy and very normal, until you have chance to pick up how other people in your group talk to you and each other.

It is nearly always rude to say "he" or "she", which is why in many Japanese courses, they don't even tell you the words. Use the person's name. The words are "kare" (he) and "kanojo" (she) they literally mean "that" and "that woman". Sounds rude in English, ne? (Those words are often used for boyfriend and girlfriend, by the way.) Other words for "he" that you actually hear more often are "koitsu" and "aitsu" (this guy and that guy). Bear in mind itt does not feel good, for a Japanese, to be referred to like that.

Having said that ^^; here is a run down on the words you mentioned (there are exceptions to these, but I'm trying to be fairly general):

boku - boys talk, also used by (usually younger) men together (eg when there are not in "polite company")
ore - macho male talk, or boys wanting to sound more tough

kimi - used for example by an adult talking to children, or to someone intimate, this is the same word as name suffix -kun, used towards juniors.
omae - you are really getting into someones face with this one, but (for the same reason) can be used with someone very intimate.

There are lots of others, but I've gone on long enough ^^; I will say though, that these words are used a lot in anime and manga, but the use is exaggerated compared to real life, but of course it depends on what part of society you are involved in. Thats why I said its best to avoid them until you get a feel for what others in your group are saying.


Re: When to use watashi/boku/ore and anata/kimi/omae
Link | by Death Kamehameha on 2006-12-31 18:49:09
@rokuemon

Very good explaination dude! After reading all you wrote.. There's one thing i want to ask.. What is kisama actually? Some subtitles in the anime say that it means 'bastard'.. But isn't bastard called yarou? I'm kinda confused with this 1.. I know that kisama is a very rough way for calling a person 'you'.. And when is it used and what for?

-Keough- |たい れい きょう|

Re: When to use watashi/boku/ore and anata/kimi/omae
Link | by rokuemon on 2006-12-31 19:30:14 (edited 2006-12-31 19:40:42)
Yea, kisama is nearly always translated as "bastard", but the fact is, that Japanese don't have swear words in the way we do (sure they have "dirty" words for sex and stuff), but as for insulting people, swear words arent necessary because maintaining respect and not getting into people's space (eg not being too familiar) are so important that when you drop that, its really offensive. In fact its the most offensive thing.

Another way is to mock them by using higher respect terms than everyone knows they deserve, if you say it in a way so they know you are making fun of them, that's offensive too.

Kisama is an example of that mocking thing. Its literally a term of very high respect, something like "most honoured lord" or more literally "your august prescence". Call someone that and they know you are being sarcastic - you mean the opposite. (The "sama" part, is exacly the same word as the respect title used after important people's names, e.g. Tsunade-sama, hogake in Naruto). I read once that you only call someone kisama, if you intend to kill them!

By the way, if in Japan you call someone with -sama instead of -san, they will definitely think you are making fun of them (actually they will think you are henna-gaijin, but thats another story ^^).

Oh yea, yarou... this lit means "son of the field" in other words, country bumpkin, yokel.

There is another insulting term in between omae and kisama, which is temae, lit. "hand side" (meaning "this side") it's really dismissive. All these words are really best left in the world of anime & manga ^_~


Re: When to use watashi/boku/ore and anata/kimi/omae
Link | by on 2006-12-31 19:39:35
You use "watashi" when you introduce your name, I think. XP

Re: When to use watashi/boku/ore and anata/kimi/omae
Link | by Eiko on 2007-01-01 10:57:11
If you can, don't use any of those words at all.
Unlike English, most sentences in Japanese do not need to have "I" or "You" specifically in there, they are understood in the context of the situation.

Re: When to use watashi/boku/ore and anata/kimi/omae
Link | by on 2007-08-31 07:14:37
wat does TEME rily min?? u bitch or u son of a bitch?

just curious... >.<


Re: When to use watashi/boku/ore and anata/kimi/omae
Link | by r3ck0rd on 2007-08-31 10:45:35
Watashi, Watakushi (if you're still young, don't use this word!!! Enjoy your life, man!), atashi/atakushi (for girl) are formal Is. The have the same kanji.
ore, boku, don't use these in formal speech. Use wagahai... oh so old school :)

anata is formal, kimi is informal. omae is to insult people but not too rude as kisama.

For reference: http://www.thejapanesepage.com/ime.htm

The codename's r3ck0rd. Find me in my Facebook Profile Page, or in my blog.

Re: When to use watashi/boku/ore and anata/kimi/omae
Link | by 米倉 on 2007-12-29 06:43:45
I like using the word ore although i'm an onna. and i like using the words teme, koitsu and kisama. ~ ^-^ (all are impolite adjectives)hahaha Warning: Do not follow my footsteps.

kanon wakeshima Pictures, Images and Photos is <333333333333

Re: When to use watashi/boku/ore and anata/kimi/omae
Link | by 聖竜 on 2007-12-31 18:59:49
Just to let you know, "anata" is also used when referring to your spouse, so...


Re: When to use watashi/boku/ore and anata/kimi/omae
Link | by r3ck0rd on 2008-01-03 02:53:17
I believe so (anata = 貴女). But it gets different in writings (anata = 貴方、彼方、貴女). Figure it out yourself :D

The codename's r3ck0rd. Find me in my Facebook Profile Page, or in my blog.

Re: When to use watashi/boku/ore and anata/kimi/omae
Link | by Alfred on 2008-01-07 17:25:30
All this is starting to remind me when I had my first class of Japanese and one of my classmates pulled out a pamphlet detailing the 10 (or was it 5) reasons not to study Japanese. I only remember 2 of them but they were: Deer in headlights reaction, and nothing makes a Japanese person laugh than a gaijin trying to learn their language.

Re: When to use watashi/boku/ore and anata/kimi/omae
Link | by r3ck0rd on 2008-01-08 07:16:16
What so funny with outsiders trying to learn Japanese?

The codename's r3ck0rd. Find me in my Facebook Profile Page, or in my blog.

Re: When to use watashi/boku/ore and anata/kimi/omae
Link | by Brianma on 2008-01-08 18:58:16
If a gaijin can speak japanese language, the japanese people will be more than impress.


Re: When to use watashi/boku/ore and anata/kimi/omae
Link | by r3ck0rd on 2008-01-09 06:49:22
Hahaha... I can see the point.
BTW change your sig it is againts the rules.

The codename's r3ck0rd. Find me in my Facebook Profile Page, or in my blog.

Re: When to use watashi/boku/ore and anata/kimi/omae
Link | by LordSocks on 2018-01-03 18:16:41
isnt kisama something really rude that you would call someone before you started a fight with them and anta a really rude jerkish form of you?

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