Mastering Nihongo: How to Say Kid in Japanese – A Quick Guide

If you want to communicate with young ones in Japan, it’s important to learn the different ways to say “kid” in Japanese. Addressing children appropriately is also crucial to show respect and understand cultural nuances. In this section, we will explore the Japanese word for kid, its translations, and the phrases related to kids in Japanese language and culture. By the end of this guide, you will be equipped with the knowledge to communicate effectively with kids in Japan.

Firstly, let’s look at the various ways to say “kid” in Japanese language. The most common term used is “Kodomo” which refers to both young girls and boys. However, other expressions such as “Akachan” for babies and “Shogakusei” for elementary school students are also widely used. Understanding these terms will not only allow you to address children appropriately but also provide insight into Japanese culture.

How to Say Kid in Japanese

If you’re looking to communicate with children in Japan, it’s essential to understand the vocabulary and phrases used to refer to kids in Japanese. In this section, we’ll explore some of the Japanese words and expressions for “kid” to help you communicate better.

The most common way to say “kid” in Japanese is “kodomo” (子供). This term encompasses all children from infants to teenagers. It’s an appropriate term to use in most situations when addressing or referring to a child.

Another term used to refer to younger children is “akachan” (赤ちゃん), which translates to “baby” in English. This term is used primarily for infants and younger toddlers.

When referring specifically to a young boy, the term “shounen” (少年) is used. On the other hand, “shoujo” (少女) is used to refer to a young girl. These terms are often used when addressing children in a more formal or respectful context.

It’s important to note that the Japanese language is very context-dependent, and the appropriate terminology for “kid” may vary based on the situation and relationship with the child. For example, family members may use different terms than a teacher or stranger.

Overall, understanding the vocabulary and phrases used to refer to kids in Japanese is an essential aspect of communicating with children in Japan. By mastering these terms, you can show respect and build stronger connections with young people in Japanese culture.

Japanese Word for Kid

The Japanese language has different words to describe kids based on their age and gender. However, the most commonly used word for kid in Japanese is “kodomo” (子供).

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When addressing a young girl, you can use the word “ko-chan” (子ちゃん) as a term of endearment. Similarly, “o-tanjoubi no ko” (お誕生日の子) is used to refer to a child on their birthday.

It is essential to note that in Japan, the way you address someone reflects your relationship with them, status, and social hierarchy. Hence, it’s crucial to use the appropriate term when referring to a kid in Japanese.

Additionally, it’s common to use the term “shounen” (少年) to refer to boys between the ages of 7 to 18. Meanwhile, “shoujo” (少女) is used to describe girls within the same age range.

By learning the Japanese word for kid, you will be able to address and communicate with children in Japan effectively.

Cultural Nuances of Addressing Kids in Japanese

As with any culture, Japan has specific customs and traditions surrounding the way people interact with each other, and this is especially true when it comes to addressing children. Here are some cultural nuances to consider when talking to kids in Japan:

Custom Description
Kawaii Culture Japan is known for its “kawaii” or cute culture, so using words that sound adorable or endearing when talking to children is common. Examples include “chan” and “kun” at the end of a child’s name, which adds a sense of affection.
Politeness Japan places great emphasis on politeness, which includes using proper titles and honorifics. When addressing a child’s parent, it is respectful to say “o-oya-sama” instead of just “oya” or “mother” or “father”.
Age Hierarchy In Japanese culture, it is common to show respect for elders. This respect extends to children as well, and the older the child, the more respect they may be given. For example, an older sibling may be referred to as “onii-san” or “onee-san” to show respect, even by younger siblings.

Using Honorifics

Japanese language has an extensive system of honorifics used to show respect to others, especially those of higher status. Using these honorifics when addressing children is a sign of respect for the child and their family. Some common honorifics used when addressing children in Japanese include:

  • -san (used for both boys and girls as a sign of respect)
  • -chan (used for girls, often by adults or close friends)
  • -kun (used for boys, often by adults or close friends)

It is important to note that these honorifics can change depending on the age and relationship between the people involved.

Pronunciation and Phrases for Kid in Japanese

Now that you know the different expressions used to refer to a kid in Japanese and the specific word used to denote a kid, it’s time to master the correct pronunciation. The Japanese word for kid is pronounced as “ko-doh-mo”.

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Here are some useful phrases and expressions related to kids in Japanese:

1. Ohisashiburi desu ne!

This phrase translates to “Long time no see!” and is a great way to greet a child you haven’t seen in a while.

2. Ogenki desu ka?

This question means “How are you?”, and it’s a great way to show interest in the child’s well-being.

3. Ganbatte ne!

This phrase means “Do your best!” and is often used to encourage children before a test, performance, or any other activity that requires effort.

Remember to practice these phrases along with the correct pronunciation to enhance your language skills and connect better with children in Japan.


Q: How do you say “kid” in Japanese?

A: The word for “kid” in Japanese is “ko” (子). It is a general term used to refer to children and can be used for both boys and girls.

Q: Are there any other ways to say “kid” in Japanese?

A: Yes, there are various expressions used to refer to a kid in Japanese. Some common ones include “kodomo” (子供), which is a more formal term, and “chibi” (ちび), which means “small child” or “little one”.

Q: What is the specific Japanese word for “kid”?

A: The specific word used to denote a kid in the Japanese language is “akachan” (赤ちゃん). However, it primarily refers to infants or babies rather than older children or teenagers.

Q: Are there any cultural nuances associated with addressing kids in Japanese?

A: Yes, there are certain cultural aspects to consider when addressing kids in Japanese. It is important to use appropriate honorifics and polite language, especially when interacting with children who are older or have a higher social status. Additionally, showing respect and using proper etiquette are highly valued in Japanese culture when communicating with children.

Q: How do you pronounce the word for “kid” in Japanese?

A: The pronunciation of “kid” in Japanese is “ko”. It is pronounced like the English word “co” with a short vowel sound.

Q: Are there any useful phrases or expressions related to kids in Japanese?

A: Yes, here are a few phrases you can use when talking about or addressing kids in Japanese:
– “Oyasuminasai” (おやすみなさい): Goodnight
– “Itadakimasu” (いただきます): Let’s eat (used before a meal)
– “Arigatou gozaimasu” (ありがとうございます): Thank you
– “Ganbatte ne” (がんばってね): Good luck

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