Words for family members have two different forms in Japanese. When referring to one's own family members while speaking to a non-family-member, neutral, descriptive nouns are used, such as haha (母) for "mother" and ani (兄) for "older brother." When addressing one's own family members or addressing or referring to someone else's family members, honorific forms are used. Using the suffix san, as is most common, "mother" becomes okaa-san (お母さん) and "older brother" becomes onii-san (お兄さん). Sometimes the diminutive honorific chan or the reverent honorific sama are used instead of san. Meanwhile, whereas younger siblings address older siblings as "older brother" or "older sister," older siblings call the younger ones by name, usually without an honorific. Similarly, parents address their children by name, also usually without using an honorific.

  • Otou-san (お父さん): father, or otou-sama (さま). From chichi (父).
    • Oji-san (叔父さん/小父さん/伯父さん, おじさん): uncle (or middle-aged gentleman). -san can be replaced by -sama or -chan (ちゃん).
    • Ojii-san (お祖父さん/御爺さん/お爺さん/御祖父さん, おじいさん): grandpa (or male senior-citizen). -san can be replaced by -sama or -chan.
  • Okaa-san (お母さん): mother, or okaa-sama. From haha (母).
    • Oba-san (伯母さん/小母さん/叔母さん, おばさん): aunt (or middle-aged lady). -san can be replaced by -sama or -chan.
    • Obaa-san (お祖母さん/御祖母さん/御婆さん/お婆さん, おばあさん): grandma (or female senior-citizen). -san can be replaced by -sama or -chan.
  • Onii-san (お兄さん): big brother (or a young gentleman), or onii-sama, or onii-chan. From ani (兄).
  • Onee-san (お姉さん): big sister (or a young lady), or onee-sama, or onee-chan. From ane (姉).