How countless of you have actually a younger sister? How about any sister at all? together for me, I have one enlarge sister and three younger ones for a full of 4 sisters!

Now this is the amazing thing: in English us don’t distinguish in between older and younger v our word for “sister”. However in Japanese over there is both a indigenous that method “younger sister” and also a different word that method “older sister”.

You are watching: How to say big sister in japanese language

How execute you say tiny sister in Japanese? well the quick answer is imouto.

But yes a lot an ext to understanding this word, the kanji because that it, and how the relates to the other family members members.

To really know it, you will have to know about the uchi/soto concept, and also also around the tate concept. I talked a small bit around it before when I defined the meaning of words senpai, but I will provide a short explanation about it here as well.

By the why, if friend don’t know what words senpai means, climate you have the right to click right here to uncover out.


Contents hide
1) tiny Sister – 妹 (imouto)
2) big Sister – 姉 (ane)
3) The concept of 縦 (tate)
4) your Sister vs. Someone Else’s sister
5) She’s no your older sister, but you speak to her the anyway?
6) The much more You Know, The more You Know!

Little sisters – 妹 (imouto)

The indigenous 妹 (imouto) way “younger sister” in Japanese. If you study the kanji because that it, girlfriend will see that the was produced by acquisition two different kanji, and then combine them right into a single new kanji.



For the most component you are simply going to add on the さん honorific come the words because that “sister”. However pay close fist to “older sister” as the pronunciation changes from “ane” to just “nee” and the polite お is added to the beginning.

Even understanding all this, younger siblings will still sometimes contact their older sister 姉ちゃん (neechan) to present them part respect and also familiarity. They space older after ~ all.

She’s not your older sister, yet you contact her the anyway?

Have you ever read a manga and also saw the key character call a stranger お姉さん?

Or have actually you ever before been city hall an anime and also heard “nee” added on come a girl’s name, kind of like “good morning Miyuki-nee”?

The an initial example is one that you will most likely see and also hear a lot. That’s because when someone doesn’t recognize a young woman’s name, they commonly just speak to her お姉さん together a polite method of gaining her attention. It would certainly be considered rude to just suggest and speak “hey you!”

As for the 2nd example, sometimes a human being will add 姉 (nee) on to someone’s name together a suffix to present the partnership that they feel towards them.

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So to illustrate this, stop say the you prospered up with a neighbor named Miyuki who is a couple of years older than you and she’s always been “like a huge sister” come you. Friend might contact her 美雪姉 (Miyuki-nee), which would be type of favor calling her “Big-sis Miyuki”.

The an ext You Know, The much more You Know!

So over there you have actually it. Girlfriend now know the words because that both older and also younger sister, the kanji for each one, exactly how to tell them apart from every other, the ide of tate, and also the twin concept the uchi/soto!

That’s a LOT! and to think, girlfriend were only looking to learn exactly how to say “imouto” LOL!