The confusing world of Japanese Pronouns

These are very important in Japanese and I really started noticing their usage during the watching Good Luck.

Why? I guess I'm just a freak. Anyway, I will first share the "raw materials" I have found on the net so far. I'm naughty and don't remember where I got all this information!!

I've listed details about all the pronouns but will focus only one pronouns for "you" and "I".

When you read the following, just keep in mind that Shinkai when speaking to Ogawa always refers to himself as 俺 "ore" and Ogawa as お前 "omae". He also calls Fukaura お前 "omae" (just in case you think he is speaking in an affectionate way to Ogawa. When Shinkai meets Ogawa's sister for the first time, he introduceds himself using the pronoun 僕"boku". Ogawa calls Shinkai "anta". Naito Jane calls Ogawa "kimi". Koda and Chief Pursa Ota always refer to themselves as "watashi".

I'll go into more detail at the end of this page once you have had a chance to review the confusing text!!


The following are all gleaned from Google ..... searches

Sessha (used by samurai, extremely polite)
Watakushi (very polite, usually feminine)
Watashi (standard/polite)
Oira (used by monks)
Atashi (female casual)
Boku (mostly young male, also the poetic first person)
Ore (almost exclusively male, somewhat rude, male "cool")

Here are the second person pronouns (correspond to "you"):

Anata (standard polite, also women use toward their husbands)
Kimi (casual polite, sometimes used by friends, poetic second person)
Omae (slightly rude, used by someone superior in rank towards someone inferior in rank, such as father to daughter, and also commonly used by men in general)
Temae (rude, male, usually implies confrontation)
Kisama (extremely rude, usually male, often used towards an enemy)
And here is the third person (these are not incredibly polite- you would not use them about someone of appreciably higher rank than yourself):

Kare (he or him)
Kanojo (she or her)
Koitsu (this guy, this gal, usually used by young men)
Soitsu (that guy, that gal, the one nearer to you)
Aitsu (that guy, that gal, over there)


The following is from a discussion group:

お前 (omae) ・俺 (ore) How ofter are they used? Gaijinian 2004-12-31 03:58PM

I got the impression that "omae" and "ore" were rough, and rude... But the more Japanese movies I watch (not necessarily just anime), I notice that they are A LOT more common than I once thought...

Lothe 2004-12-31 04:10PM

Well, as we've so often stated, movie Japanese is not necessarily trustworthy. But remember that politeness is as much an issue of context as of the words themselves. "Ore" (or "omae", or any word) is not inherently rude if you use it under the proper circumstances--just as saying, for example, "watakushi", to someone with whom it's overpolite can come off as flippant or even offensive.

Gaijinian 2004-12-31 04:12PM

True... Since I use them a lot, I just wanted to make sure it was okay...

M_Ryuuji 2004-12-31 04:20PM

The one time I've seen you use them on this board, it was inappropriate. It actually surprised me greatly, and I don't surprise easily anymore. Please pay close attention to how first/second person pronouns are used by real-life Japanese, not Japanese in anime/movies.

In entertainment, you are dealing not with real people but with caricatures. Because they are trying to demonstrate caricature personality quickly and strongly, they make the characters pick one pronoun and stick with it. This is inappropriate and extremely dangerous in real life.

Neither 俺 (ore) nor お前 (omae) should ever be used to someone you only partially know unless you are trying to offend them. (俺ら (orera)/お前ら (omaera) are even worse.) It will come off brash and condescending, like it did in your post in the kanji thread. I think everyone here knows that when you're still learning the subtleties of the language you can be forgiven, but if you go to Japan people will be less tolerant.

For the record, I would never consider using 俺 (ore) or お前 (omae) with someone who isn't at the far lower level of politeness already -- very close friends or someone that's sufficiently "lower" on the delicate social ladder for the situation at hand that I can use it without offending them.

Gaijinian 2004-12-31 04:31PM

Yikes... I'll delete that... I don't know, sometimes I'm shocked at my own Japanese... I'm not good at sticking with politeness levels... Once I was said "ore"... "shite-orimasu" Anyway, I gotta practice that...

M_Ryuuji 2004-12-31 04:34PM

You can't learn without making mistakes. =) Don't worry about it too much. Just as long as you do actually learn from it...


The following is taken from here. Unlike english, japanese has a wide range of first and second person pronouns depending on who is speaking, who is being spoken to or of, and the relationship between the two--and, traditionally, has had no third person pronouns at all. because of the wide variety, people often tend to use different first and second person pronouns depending on their personality and attitude, and from a translators point of view, understanding their uses and nuances is crucial.

first-person pronouns

the basic polite first-person singular pronoun in japanese is 私 (watakushi). watakushi is very formal, and in fact is rarely used when speaking under normal circumstances. it has at least five or six contracted forms, the most common of which are:

私【わたし】 watashi (slightly formal, but very common)
あたし atashi (feminine form of watashi, very common)
わし or わっし washi or wasshi (used by older men)

in addition, there are a handful of other first-person pronouns for more informal situations...

僕 【ぼく】 boku is used primarily by young japanese boys, but it is also often used by young adult males among other men, or by young men who simply don't care. it's also sometimes used intimately. for instance, i use boku when talking to mari or my friends, but watashi when talking to her friends or anyone else. kagami mikage also almost always uses boku.

俺 【おれ】 ore is a much touchier pronoun. it sounds very arrogant, self-assured, and/or macho. it's used much more commonly in anime and manga than it actually is in common speech, but you'll see it a lot, so it's good to learn to recognize it. tooya and yuuhi usually use ore, as does my friend darrick (but then again, he talks like an anime character on purpose ^v~). very tomboyish girls might also use it.

拙者 【せっしゃ】 sessha is an archaic form which any rurou ni kenshin fan will be familiar with. you'll see it in samurai manga/anime sometimes, but not often elsewhere. (linguistic note: sessha literally means "this clumsy oaf")

second-person pronouns

in japanese, the most polite way to refer to someone else is by their name, followed by an appropriate honorific. whereas in english you usually don't use the other person's name when you're talking to them, in japanese it's actually very common. for instance:

田中さんの犬ですね? tanaka-san no inu desu ne?
(That's your [Tanaka's] dog, isn't it?)

it's also common, especially in business or formal situations, to refer to someone by their occupation. for example:

昨日私は弁護士さんと話しました。 kinou watashi wa bengoshi-san to hanashimashita.
(Lit. Yesterday I spoke with lawyer-san. (=I spoke with my attorney yesterday.)

second-person pronouns are usually omitted in conversational japanese unless it's necessary to emphasize the me-ness or you-ness of something. the japanese language encourages both indirectness, and the omission of the obvious--in conversation it's usually obvious who's speaking to whom. however, if and when they are used, they usually take one of the following forms:

あなた anata is relatively multipurpose. it's not necessarily impolite, although it does assume a degree of familiarity. a way to make it more polite (almost formal) is to tack the 様 (sama) honorific onto it. calling someone あなた様 (anatasama) is usually only acceptable if you must be polite/formal but don't know the person's name or title. anata is also how a married couple might refer to each other (much like the words "dear" or "honey" in english).

君 【きみ】 kimi isn't casual, but it's not exactly respectful either. it tends to assume a degree of psychological or status distance between the speaker and the listener--more specifically, a position of authority--and often comes across sounding cold, distant, indifferent, or abrupt. it's generally okay to address a small child as kimi, so it comes across sounding very condescending when used to an adult. kagami mikage, unsurprisingly, uses kimi almost exclusively when speaking to others.

お前 【おまえ】 omae assumes a much higher degree of familiarity than anata does. the kanji literally means "the person before me". usually used by men and boys, but can be used by women as well. if used among lovers, it can sound intimate and romantic (mari told me a story about a boyfriend she had when she was a teenager, who began calling her omae the moment they started going out). however, if used with a stranger or someone not within your personal circle, it's can be quite rude depending on the situation and tone of voice.

あ んた anta is a very casual contraction of anata which is usually only used by women. it's not especially rude when speaking to your friends or lover, but it is very casual. men shouldn't use anta unless they want to be really rude or sound really odd.

己 【おのれ】 onore is rude--flat out rude. most of the time, when you hear someone being called something vulgar or profane in an accurate english translation of a japanese work, it's because the speaker was employing onore or one of the many other ways of being rude in spoken japanese. good translations for onore are 'bastard', 'a**hole', or your choice of other colorful english nouns. according to mari, onore sounds somewhat archaic or old to her, and you'll see it more in samurai flicks and other stories about older times (such as mononoke hime). in modern circles, teme is a more common insult.

てめ teme isn't just rude, it's vulgar. it's equivalent to calling a woman a bitch in terms of rudeness.

貴様 【きさま】 things don't get much ruder than kisama. it's equivalent (in terms of vulgarity) to calling someone a motherf****r in english. [Note from Koala: Funny thing is, if you look at the kanji, in Chinese characters it means: 'valued and esteemed person!!]


Contrary to European languages, Japanese has many different pronouns for each person (I, you, he/she, we...). "I" and "you" have an especially wide range of translation with various nuances, politeness level and gender. Learning is particularily useful to read mangas. I know the following ones (I am sure there are more, among old fashioned ones).
I" and "We"

"Me"

Watakushi 私 : Most polite and formal version
Watashi 私 : most common. Used more by women than men.
Atashi あたし : Mostly used by young females. Sounds cute.
Atai 私 : Slang version of "Atashi"
Washi わし : Mostly used by older men to younger or lower rank people.
Uchi うち : Used mostly by women. A neutral version also refers to "us" (family, company, etc.) as opposed to "them" "you".
Jibun 自分 : Neutral. Refers to the "self", so can be use for "I" or "you". 自分の means "my" or "your" and 自分で means "myself" or "youself".
Boku 僕 : Common for younger men (sometimes women). Sounds more refine than "ore".
Ore 俺 (also おら in dialect) : Used by virile or older men. Not as polite as "watashi".
Oresama 俺様 : Arrogant and rude version of "Ore"
Orera 俺ら (also おいら in dialect) : Plural of "Ore"
Onore 己 : Used by men. Sounds arrogant and impolite. Also means "self" or "you" (see "Jibun").
Sessha 拙者 : Used by men (formerly samurai). Humble and polite.
Ware 我 : Quite formal and polite, but old-fashioned (except plural "wareware", used in a humble way to talk about one's company).
Wa(ga) 我(が): Literary for "watashi". Still used in the meaning of "my" or "our" (eg : わが国 = my/our country).
Kochitomo こちとも : Slang for "we" or "ourselves", sometimes also "I" and "myself".
Wate わて : Kansai dialect for "Watashi".
Chin 朕 : Used by emperors or kings.
Daikou 乃公 : Literary. Used by men when speaking in an haughty way.
Soregasi 某 : Ancient form of "Watakushi".
Warawa 妾 : Ancient form of "Watakushi".


"You"
# Anata 貴方/貴女 : Most usual and polite form.
# Anta あんた : Informal version of "anata".
# Kimi 君 : Used by men to talk to younger women or children, or to intimate people.
# Omae お前 : Used by older or less refined people. Less polite than "anata" and sometimes almost rude.
# Temee 手前 : A bit rude and aggressive.
# Kisama 貴様 : Usually rude and including bad feelings.
# Jibun 自分 : Neutral. Refers to the "self", so can be use for "I" or "you". 自分の means "my" or "your" and 自分で means "myself" or "youself".
# Onore 己 : Used in a disdainful way.
# Onushi (onoshi) 御主 : Polite and humble. Used by samurai to talk to people of equal or lower rank. Literally means "master".
# Nanji (namuchi, nare) 汝 : Literary. Used with intimate people or lower rank people.
# Onmi 御身 : Literary honorific form meaning "your body".
# Sochi そち, Sokotomo そのとも, Sonohou その方, Sonota そのた, Konota このた : dated variant of "Anata", all meaning something like "hey there !"


Basic Pronouns

First person I, me

私 watashi(watakushi),

僕 boku,

俺 ore

Second person You

あなた anata,

お前 omae,

君 kimi

Additional Pronouns

There are also several ways of saying first and second person: (Note: わたし watashi and あ なた anata are the safest to use for a beginner as they are predominantly neutral.)

First person pronouns

私 わたくし watakushi Very formal
私 わたし watashi Generally neutral, the pronoun of choice regardless of situation.
儂 わし washi Old fashioned, tends to be used by senior men
私 あたし atashi Female informal variant of watashi.
我 われ ware Respectable, usually male. (archaic)
僕 ぼく boku Primarily used by young boys/men (colloquial) *
俺 おれ ore Brash and boastful, used by men
拙者 せっしゃ sessha Obsolete, male, samurai-sounding - occurs in period pieces

* Women will occasionally use this for rhyme in songs or poetry, but it is almost never seen otherwise.

Second person pronouns

貴方 あなた anata Somewhat familiar, but still the most neutral. Used when the speaker is unaware of the listener's social level, hence the safest to use. Also used by wife to husband.
君 きみ kimi Close family and friends.
貴様 きさま kisama Highly insulting: originally honorific, but the intention of the phrase became mocking, and after that, insulting.
貴方 あんた anta Extremely familiar, a variant of anata.
お前 おまえ omae Directed at someone of lower status than the speaker. "Omae" is also used between friends, but the word can be deemed as insulting if used incorrectly.
手前 てまえ or てめえ temae, temee Highly insulting for the same reasons as 貴様 kisama above.


あたい atai -- While this is a feminine way to say 'I', it's a tough feminine with sort of a "mess with me and I'll rip your head off" connotation. It's rarely, if ever, used outside of anime, and is uncommon even there. Ayla from Chrono Trigger uses あたい, when not using her name.

あたし(私)atashi - Probably the most common way for a female to say 'I' in casual speech. More formal pronouns are of course more appropriate for more formal situations. Guys should avoid using あたし, unless it's clearly as a joke. あたし is almost always written in hiragana to distinguish it from the more proper pronunciations of the kanji. People who use あたし for "I" are likely to use あんた for "you". Most female anime characters use あたし.

あなた anata -- The textbook way to say 'you', あなた is actually fairly uncommon in spoken Japanese. People are usually addressed by name or title, especially higher-ups. あなた is most often used an a generic sense, such as in general messages or instructions ("Write your name in this box").

あなた anata -- Sometimes used by females in casual speech. It's also supposedly used like "darling" to a husband or boyfriend, but it's questionable how common that actually is.

あなたがた(貴方々)anatagata -- A (perhaps excessively) flattering way to address a group of people. The kanji literally mean "esteemed people".

あんた anta -- A familiar way of saying "you". This is probably the most common way for a female to say "you" in casual speech. It's also used by males, though many use the more macho お前 instead. Most female anime characters use あんた, as do some males, including Bear from .hack//SIGN

内(うち)uchi -- Used as "we" when speaking as a representative (either designated or by chance) of a larger group, such as a family or company. The kanji means "interior", which (to me anyway) suggests the idea of things interior to the group.

うち(内?)uchi -- According to some sources, used as 'I' by some females in Western Japanese dialects. If nothing else, Kitsune from Love Hina uses うち.

おぬし(御主)onushi -- An archaic way of saying "you". I know very little else about it, except that the kanji literally mean "honored master". Kaede from Inuyasha and Cyan from Final Fantasy VI both use おぬし.

おのれ(己)onore -- An insulting way of saying 'you', but rarely if ever used outside of anime. Villans will sometimes spout this word, probably chosen to make them sound ancient, though I'm not certain about this. The kanji literally means 'snake'.

おのれ(己)onore -- A humble way of saying 'I', it's no longer in common use, even in anime. And yes, it's the same word as the insult above. This seems to be a result of Japanese pronouns having their origin in ordinary nouns... anything that's humbling when applied to yourself is likely to be insulting when applied to another.

お前(おまえ)omae -- A common male way to say 'you'. It's not as neutral as あんた, but it's also not as macho as おめー. The 前 kanji literally means "in front", and the お is an honorific, so it seems, literally, to be a reference to the person in front of the speaker. People who use お前 for 'you' are likely to use 俺 for 'I'. Many anime males who aren't all that full of themselves use お前, including Keitaro from Love Hina.

おめー omee -- A varient of お前, and also written おめぇ and おめェ. It's the macho way for a guy to say 'you'. Most anime males who are full of themselves use おめー, including Ranma from Ranma 1/2.

おら ora -- An alternate pronounciation of 俺, used in at least one dialect. Mousse from Ranma 1/2 uses it.

俺(おれ)ore -- A common male way to say 'I'. It has kind of an "I'm awesome" connotation, though the exact impression depends a lot more on how you say it. People who use 俺 for 'I' are likely to use お前 or おめー for 'you'. Naruto from Naruto is one character who uses the full extent of the "yes I'm awesome" connotation through tone of voice, but Keitaro from Love Hina manages to use the same word in a way that sounds almost modest.

彼女(かのじょ)kanojo -- A relatively new pronoun meaning 'she'. Be careful with this, since it can also mean 'girlfriend'.

彼(かれ)kare -- A pronoun meaning 'he'. Be careful with this, since it can also mean 'boyfriend'.

貴様(きさま)kisama -- One way of saying 'you', but it's extremely rude. Normally reserved for addressing people you hate with a passion, it's a fairly common term in anime. Oddly, the first kanji means 'valued' or 'honored', and the second is a respectful suffix... maybe sarcasm is involved.

君(きみ)kimi -- A fairly common, usually male, way of saying 'you'. Though not as strong as お前, it should still never be used to address higher-ups. Males who use 君 for 'you' are likely to use 僕 for 'I'. Females may also use 君, especially when speaking to children, subordinates, or other people who are (at least percieved as) clearly lower in the social ranks. A female using 君 seems to indicate a take-charge attitude. Shinji from Evangelion uses 君.

自分(じぶん)jibun -- Myself, yourself, ourselves, themselves, himself, herself, oneself...

せっしゃ(拙者)sessha -- A humble pronoun for 'I' that is no longer in common use. The kanji literally mean "bungling one". Apparently, it most commonly occurs in samurai movies. Cyan from Final Fantasy VI uses せっしゃ, in addition to other unusual language.

手前(てまえ)temae -- One way of saying 'you', but it's very rude. The proper pronunciation is seldom is ever used, in favor of the 'macho' version below. The kanji mean 'hand' and 'before', in case you're curious.

てめー temee -- A varient of 手前, and also written てめぇ and てめェ. Much more common than the more correct version, it's frequently shouted an anime when someone macho gets mad. Many anime males use it, including Ranma from Ranma 1/2.

僕(ぼく)boku -- A fairly common male way to say 'I'. This is a more humble or boyish term than 俺, and isn't quite as common, at least in anime. The kanji also means 'servant'. People who use 僕 for 'I' are likely to use 君 for 'you'. Shinji from Evangelion uses 僕.

やつ(奴)yatsu -- A somewhat rude way to say 'he' or 'she' (or occasionally 'you'). It seems to be a bit less polite than 'guy', but less rude than 'bastard'. In manga and video games, it's frequently written in hiragana(ヤツ), probably to suggest the disdainful tone of voice the speaker is using.

我が(わが)waga -- 'My' or 'our'. Unusual in that it has the possesive sense built-in. Other than that, I know little about it.

わし washi -- A way to say 'I' sometimes used by older people, especially in anime. It seems to imply that the speaker is wise and knowledgable, and should be listened to. Genma from Ranma 1/2 and Kaede from Inuyasha both use わし

私(わたくし)watakushi -- A very formal way to say 'I'. This is more formal than normal conversation calls for, and is normally reserved for speaking to highly respected people. Oddly, Kodachi from Ranma 1/2 uses わたくし consistently, but she's always odd, so...

私(わたし)watashi -- The way to say 'I' that's in all the textbooks. This is appropriate for talking to people that you don't know too well, or that are somewhat higher socially. Most people use 私 when speaking to teachers, police, and so on. The kanji also means 'private'.

私(わたし)watashi -- Sometimes used by females even in casual speech. あたし seems to be more common, especially with younger women, or women who want to sound younger.

わたち watachi -- One little girl in Chrono Trigger uses this, so it's probably just a little kid way of saying 'watashi'.

わらわ(妾)warawa -- A humble female pronoun for 'I'. It's rarely, if ever, used outside of anime, and is uncommon even there. The kanji literally means 'concubine'. The only character I know of that uses this is Queen Zeal in Chrono Trigger.

我(われ)ware -- Yet another way to say 'I'. The only use I can remember is Gades in Estpolis Denki II (Lufia II: Rise of the Sinistrals in the US), which probably means it's used for 'ancient and powerful'.

我々(われわれ)wareware -- A way of saying 'we'. Unlike 我, it's still fairly common in Japanese, though I'm not sure what's different between it and other ways of saying 'we'.


Confused?

I certainly was. I read all the above, thought about it and then posted variations of my question below to various different discussion boards including discussions about jdoramas and also a Japanese language forum.

Question about the usage of 俺 (ore) and お前 (omae). I was of the understanding that both are quite .... impolite and shouldn't generally be used except between family members / very close friends etc.

I did notice when watching Good Luck though that Shinkai frequently addresses Ogawa as "omae". He never addresses her by name or as anata or even kimi.

When he introduces himself to Ogawa's sister, he uses 僕 (boku) but he usually says 俺 (ore) even to his teacher Mizushima, his father and even Koda his boss. He never uses 私 (watashi).

The only reason I am troubled is that Shinkai's character doesn't come across as being particularly arrogant and rude and the relationship between Shinkai and Ogawa does not become b/f g/f until the very end.

He's a pilot, she's a mechanic, they squabble but they're not quite friends yet - so what is his usage of the above pronouns supposed to convey?? I have googled as much as I could about the usage of the pronouns but am still puzzled. I don't think it's a friendship thing because Shinkai also calls Fukaura "omae" so I can only assume that pilots have high status and are entitled to call CAs and mechanics as omae?

I notice though that the other pilots like Naito Jane call Ogawa 君 (kimi).

Ogawa calls Shinkai "あんた" (anta). I am trying to figure out if Shinkai's use of 俺 and お前 imply friendship / affection or if he regards Ogawa as beneath him as it makes a rather big difference!

I tried asking this question on another discussion board but as they had not seen Good Luck, they could only answer in isolation and did not know about the context of the relationships between the characters.

A further question I have is, if it is the case that a pilot is "superior" to a mechanic so is entitled to call her 'omae' - can he choose to "elevate" her and be more polite to her and call her "anata" or something like that?

Some of the answers I received are below:

On Runningboard

Other poster: My read on it is that it's akin to calling her “honey” in English. Depending on context, it could be taken to be friendly, rude (overly friendly), or somewhere in between.

Response from me: I was hoping that too until I heard him call Fukaura omae as well :P He definitely isn't calling HER honey ....

Other poster: That may just be rough, “manly man” speech. Hmmm, I wonder if Japanese fishermen are known for using rather rough language?

Response from me: I think I'd like to attribute it to (as ccwf suggests) Shinkai's fisherman upbringing and the fact that he's a casual laid back guy ..... I don' t want to think of him as arrogant and condescending - especially towards Ogawa!!!

On a Japanese Language Forum (very confusing answers!)

I'll just paste them in full so you can see them.

Fishyshoe:

Well to be honest im also quite concerned about this questions, and from what i know, the usage of 俺 and お前 is as following俺 is used when you are talking to someone with a lower social status than you. lets say, a parent has the right to use 俺 when talking to his child.

the word 僕, which also means the same, is being used when you are talking to someone with the same social status as you - the best example will be friends, close friends. and

as for 私, it is being used when you are talking to someone who has a higher social status than you (example - you are a student talking to your teacher)

as for お前: it is being used when you are adressing someone who has a lower social status than you. like a boss adressing his worker, a teacher adressing his student, and a parent adressing is child. between friends, i wouldnt use it when talking to friends unless its a close friend. i'd use 貴方/貴女 (あなた)

Hanako:

俺 and お前 sound a bit rough sometimes, but can be comfortably used among very close people, mostly by men, I think.Children (boys) can use 僕 instead of 俺 in any situation; it’s polite enough.

However, grown-ups (men) use 僕 only in informal situation. They use 私 on formal occasions. (It sounds a bit strange if a boy says 私 instead of 僕.)

I am trying to figure out if Shinkai's use of 俺 ore and お前 omae imply friendship / affection or if he regards the female mechanic as beneath him as it makes a rather big difference!

Well, that could be any one of those, according to the context. As I know nothing about the story, all I could say is;If X calls Y お前 omae,
1. X could be arrogant
2. X and Y are very close friends, etc.
3. X regards Y as if Y is his little sister (affection) etc

I notice the female mechanic calls Shinkai あんた (anta).

If she respects Shinkai 新海, she probably wouldn’t say ‘あんた.’ anta

あんた anta sometimes implies ‘despite.’ (Exception: An old lady may call her husband あんた anta in an affectionate manner, though it doesn’t seem to happen in ‘high-society’, I guess. :)

Therefore, I guess;

They are either very close, or dislike each other. ...or they are very close but now having a squabble, etc.

Sorry, I don’t know if I have answered your question.


Anyone else confused???? So what exactly does Shinkai feel towards Ogawa. I guess we can only go on what we see - that he holds her in great affection and respect and who knows why he is 'ore'ing' and 'omae'ing her!!

It's interesting because Chinese only has two forms really. Everyone is "wo" (I) and you is either "ni" for ordinary you or the respectful "nin" when referring to somemone like a teacher / parent / older. When asking someone's name, you will normally say: "nin gui xing" ie "What is your esteemed name" but that is a common set phrase and not difficult to remember at all. Sorry I can't write Chinese on this page - because I have set it to Japanese characters, if I display Chinese, it might go a bit spazzy.

Vietnamese is interesting enough though does have pronouns depending on the person's social standing so how you call someone "you" or "I" very much depends on your relationshp to that person although I do not think it is as complicated as Japanese.

Presumably all this comes second nature for Japanese people. I can just imagine my day being brought to a standstill. "He called me omae - now did he mean that in a gentle and endearing fashion or did he mean that in an arrogant, superior fashion? And if I call him anta, will he think I like him????" Hee hee.

Don't even get me started on whether my ears deceived me in "Long Vacation" ie did Sena really call Minami "anta" which is normally a feminine way to call someone "you". That might get me started on wondering what on earth do gay people in Japan use to call themselves and each other. Pronoun usage might end up being like some form of badge of sexuality!!

Anyway, I'm just going to assume that for some reason they decided to make Shinkai refer to himself as "ore" and Ogawa as "omae" but it doesn't mean he looks down at her. He carries her books for her! He drives her around! He flies her to Honolulu! He worries about her all the time! What's a little pronoun between Soulmates? ;)

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