Thread: so and so san
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Old 02-07-2006, 03:38 PM   #3
koz's Avatar
Dojo: Kaiso Dobun Kenkyukai
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 41
New Zealand
Re: so and so san

As stated above, it's a non-gender-specific honorific, relatively formal. Just like Mr/Mrs/Miss/Ms. It's also not used to refer to oneself, I would never call myself Koz-san for example, but I might be introduced to you as such.

Usually such honorifics were used to denote relative social standing. -sama was used if the person was of a higher standing (although not really in use today), -kun to someone junior, and -chan for a young boy/girl or as a term of endearment.

Personally, if not in Japan, I find the use of -san a little overzealous in the let's-make-everything-as-Japanese-as-possible department. I would therefore call everyone -kun or -chan, including senior grades. Particularly senior grades!

True mastery can be gained
by letting things go their own way.

Lao Tzu - Tao Te Ching, Ch48
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