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How Japanese Call Their Parents? | 6 Ways Japanese Kids Address Their Paresnt

How Japanese Call Their Parents

Wondering how Japanese call their parents? Check out a list of words that kids use for their father and mother in everyday lives. Read further to know more.

There are many different ways to refer to your parents in Japan. The correct usage of the word usually depends on the person you are talking to. 

It can be a little complicated to know which word to use when speaking of your parents. 

How do Japanese call their parents? 

More than 60% people aged between 18 to 45 call their mother as Okasan and their father as Otosan. Only 35% call them “Mama” and “Papa”. The other ways of addressing mothers in Japanese are Okasaan, Haha, Ofukuro, Haha Oya, Mama and Okan. Whereas the Japanese address their fathers as Chichi, Otousan, Chichi-Oya, Oyaji, Papa and Oton. These are some of the ways how Japanese call their parents.

However, I hope this guide makes it clear how Japanese call their parents and what are the different ways that can be used to denote your folks.

Related: Why Japan prefers pets to parenthood?

Let’s start with the basics before diving deep, the Japanese word for parents is Oya (親). Now, let’s find out father and mother in Japanese words in 6 different ways!

How Japanese Call Their Parents

Mother

So, how to say mother in Japanese? 

The general and the most common word for mother in Japanese is ‘okaasan’. However, you will find that there are several other japanese words for mummy. 

It all, as mentioned before, depends on the person you are talking to. So, let’s learn the first part of how Japanese all their parents, i.e, their mother. 

Here are the different ways to say ‘mother’ in Japanese:

how japanese call their parents
Source: Pexels

Okaasan

Okaasan is the most common way of calling a mother. The kanji character of Okaasan is 母, and Okasaan’s meaning is nursing mother.

It’s for referring to mama in Japanese word, used by common people. Okasaan is the Japanese hiragana word.

There are two ways in which the word ‘Okaasan’ can be used:

  1. When you are talking to your own mother, or when you are referring to her.
  2. When you are talking about somebody else’s mother.

There are some children who, instead of saying Okaasan, say Okaachan. There are also many who only say kaasan. That’s how Japanese call their parents. 

Here are some examples of how Japanese call their parents (mother):

  • Mom! Do you know where my shoes are? – 

お母さん!俺の靴はどこにあるか知ってる? (Okaasan! Ore no kutsu wa doko ni aru ka shitteru?)

  • How’s your mother doing? – 

あなたのお母さん、元気にしてる? (Anata no okaasan, genki ni shiteru?)

Related: Check out how do Japanese write dates that might be useful for you!

Haha

No, this is not the laughing sound. It is, in fact, a very humble and respectful way to call your mother in Japanese. 

This is the word that is used when you are talking about your mother to others, who do not belong to your family. 

It is used in a formal situation. Since this is a humble word for mother, it is quite rude to call somebody else’s mother ‘haha’. You must only use this word when you are talking about your own mother.

Here is an example of how Japanese call their parents (mother):

  • My mother enjoys cooking Japanese food. – 

私の母は和食を作るのが好きです。 (Watashi no haha wa washoku o tsukuru no ga suki desu.)

Related: Here’s how Japanese names work, an easy guide to name people in your family!

Ofukuro

This is a less formal way of calling your mother. The word has become quite common to denote your mother when you are speaking to others.

However, many believe that the word Ofukuro is not culturally and grammatically correct. 

You can use Ofukuro to talk about your mother in a formal environment or in front of your friend. You can also add ‘san’ to ‘Ofukuro’ when you are calling your friend’s mother.

Here is an example of how Japanese call their parents (mother):

  • My mother enjoys cooking Japanese food. – 

私の母は和食を作るのが好きです。 (Watashi no haha wa washoku o tsukuru no ga suki desu.)

how to say mother in japanese,
Source: Pexels

Related: Here’s why learning Japanese is difficult, but if you’re dedicated you can be fluent within a few months!

Haha Oya

Haya Oya is a term that refers to any woman who has children. It is a broad term that is used for mothers. 

This is, therefore, also true for mothers from the animal kingdom. You should be sure not to use this term for your own mother, as it can be rude, cold, and offensive. You can, however, use it when safely talking about a third party.

Here are some examples of how Japanese call their parents (mother):

  • That boy in the red hat was just scolded by his mother.  – 

あの赤い帽子を被っている子、母親に叱られたね。(Ano akai boushi o kabutteiru ko, haha oya ni shikarareta ne.)

  • Bear cubs are cute, but their mothers are dangerous. – 

小熊はかわいいけど、母親は危険だ。 (Koguma wa kawaii kedo, haha oya wa kiken da.)

Related: Here are a few basic Japanese greetings to use when you meet people!

Mama

This is a word that is most known to everyone around the world. ‘Mama’ is a word that is used by little Japanese children to call their mother. It is the same as the western word for mother – mommy.

Mama may also be used by adults when they are showing endearment to their mothers. Mama, however, sounds very childish and so, you should refrain from using this term when you are in the company of adults.

Here is an example of how Japanese call their parents (mother):

  • Mommy, I want ice cream! – 

ママ、アイス食べたい! (Mama, aisu tabetai!)

japanese words for parents,
Source: Pexels

Related: Here are some basic Japanese words to use for a simple conversation!

Okan

Okan is a pet name that is used for mothers by the Japanese. In English, the pet names for mother include mom, mama, or mommy. 

Okan is quite similar to them. This is a term that is most commonly used by students of middle and high school. Adults normally do not use this term when talking in public or formal settings. 

Here is an example of how Japanese call their parents (mother):

  • My mama made beef stew last night; it was awesome! – 

俺のおかんが昨日、ビーフシチューを作ってくれた。最高だった! (Ore no okan ga kinou, biifu shichuu o tsukutte kureta. Saikou datta!)

That’s how Japanese call their mother. Now let’s move on to the next part of how Japanese call their parents, i.e, their father.

Related: Here’s how do Japanese discipline their children, you can follow this guide too!

Father

If you’re wondering how to say father in Japanese, here it is!

Just like in the case of the mother, there are several ways to refer to your father as well. Again, this depends on the social situation and with whom you are speaking. 

Chichi

This is a general term that is used to call your father. You must use this term only to talk about your own father in front of others. 

However, this is just a term, not a title. Never directly call your father chichi. Only use this term when you are talking to others.

okasaan meaning
Source: Pexels

Here are some examples of how Japanese call their parents (father):

  • My father doesn’t like pickles.  –  

父は漬物が苦手なんです。 (Chichi wa tsukemono ga nigate nan desu.)

  • My father passed away 2 years ago. –  

父は2年前に亡くなりました。(Chichi wa ni nen mae ni naku narimashita.)

  • I learned how to play Shougi from my father.  –  

将棋は父から教わりました。(Shougi wa chichi kara osowarimashita.)

Otousan

Otousan is the most general way of saying father. This is a term that you use when you talk about someone else’s father. 

There are also many people in Japan who call their parents ‘Otousan’. You can also call your better half’s father Otousan. 

Adults may also use this word when they are talking to young children about their fathers. For instance, a teacher may refer to his or her student’s father as Otousan. 

To add a formal touch to the term when you are speaking in a formal setting, you may want to replace san with sama. So, instead of saying Otousan, you should say Otousama. 

Otouchan is yet another way of referring to your father. It is the Japanese equivalent of the word daddy. This is a term that is very popular amongst younger children.

Here are some examples of how Japanese call their parents (father):

  • Dad! It’s time for breakfast!  –  

お父ちゃん! 朝ごはんできたよ!  (Otou-chan!  Asagohan dekita yo!)

  • Did your dad take this picture, Tasuke?  –  

太助君、この写真はお父さんが撮ったの? (Tasuke-kun, kono shashin wa otousan ga totta no?)

Chichi-Oya

This is a general term that is used in Japan to refer to all fathers. This is a general term that is used for all fathers in general, and not just specifically for your own father. Here’s how to say my father in a Japanese word: Chichi-Oya.

You must also not use this term when referring to somebody else’s father. This sounds very cold, rude, and impolite. 

This is not the term that you would like to use when trying to be disrespectful. 

Here are some examples of how Japanese call their parents (father):

  • Fathers like receiving beer for Father’s Day.  –  

父親は父の日に、ビールが欲しいと言われています。 (Chichi-oya wa chichi no hi ni, biiru ga hoshii to iwarete imasu.)

  • Fatherless households.  –  

父親のいない家庭   (Chichi oya no inai katei.)

  • I have a younger sister with a different father.  –  

私には父親の違う妹がいます。(Watashi niwa chichi oya no chigau imouto ga imasu.)

Oyaji

Oyaji is a warm but informal way to say father. This is equivalent to the English term ‘my old man’. You can use this term in a casual setting. You can use this term when you are referring to your dad lovingly to someone else. 

There are also some people who call their fathers Oyaji. 

how to say father in japanese,
Source: Pexels

Here are some examples of how Japanese call their parents (father):

  • My old man is a weirdo!  –  

うちの親父は変わっている人だよ! (Uchi no oya-ji wa kawatteiru hito da yo!)

  • I’m going to make some ramen.  Would you like some, dad?  –  

ラーメン作るけど、親父も食べる?(Ramen tsukuru kedo oyaji mo taberu?)

  • Dad, you have a call from Mr. Tanaka.  –  

親父、田中さんから電話だよ。(Oyaji, Tanaka san kara denwa dayo.)

  • Who is that old guy over there?  –  

あそこの親父は誰? (Asoko no oyaji wa dare?)

Papa

This is a term that has been borrowed from the English language and is quite a common way in which young children call their father. 

This is a term that is similar to the term ‘daddy’ in the west. It is a very cute term for father. However, it is not used in polite company. 

Here is an example of how Japanese call their parents (father):

  • Daddy, pick me up!  –  

パパ、抱っこして! (Papa, dakko shite!)

Oton

This is a term that is most commonly used in the Kansai region of Japan. This is a casual term that also sounds quite fun. It is a word that you most commonly use when you are in the company of friends and family. 

Here is an example of how Japanese call their parents (father)::

  • Pa, do you want some takoyaki?  –  

な、おとん。たこ焼き食べへんか? (Na, oton. Takoyaki tabehen ka?)

What do Japanese call their friends parents?

Japanese call their friend’s mother as Oba-san and their father as “Ojisan” . Oba-san and Ojisan are common names that can be used for any mature female or male respectively. 

Does Kaachan mean mom?

Yes, Kaachan means mom. It’s just an informal way of addressing a mother with the suffix -chan. The formal way of addressing mother is Oka-san.

What’s the Japanese word for parents?

The Japanese words for parent’s is quite simple. It’s Oya and can be used to refer to both parents. That’s how Japanese call their parents.

Mama or Papa: The Japanese Way

Most of us have grown by only using one term each for our mothers and fathers. Mom and dad are the most common terms used all across the planet. But, I hope you got a good insight on how Japanese call their parents. 

However, the situation varies a lot in Japan. Here, there are so many different ways of how japanese call their parents . 

Usage of each of these terms depends on the situation you are in and the company you have. I hope you found this guide informative and now are acquainted with all the ways of how Japanese call their parents. 

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