How many of you have actually a younger sister? How about any sisters at all? together for me, I have one older sister and also three younger ones because that a complete of 4 sisters!

Now this is the amazing thing: in English we don’t distinguish in between older and also younger through our word because that “sister”. But in Japanese over there is both a indigenous that way “younger sister” and a various word that way “older sister”.

You are watching: What is little sister in japanese

How do you say little sister in Japanese? fine the short answer is imouto.

But yes a lot more to expertise this word, the kanji because that it, and also how the relates come the other family members members.

To really know it, girlfriend will need to know about the uchi/soto concept, and also about the tate concept. I talked a small bit about it prior to when I described the an interpretation of the word senpai, but I will give a brief explanation about it here as well.

By the why, if you don’t understand what the word senpai means, climate you deserve to click below to uncover out.


Contents hide
1) tiny Sister – 妹 (imouto)
2) big Sister – 姉 (ane)
3) The ide of 縦 (tate)
4) her Sister vs. Who Else’s sister
5) She’s not your larger sister, but you call her that anyway?
6) The an ext You Know, The more You Know!

Little sister – 妹 (imouto)

The indigenous 妹 (imouto) method “younger sister” in Japanese. If you research the kanji because that it, you will check out that that was developed by taking two different kanji, and also then combining them right into a single brand-new kanji.



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

Even learning all this, younger siblings will still sometimes speak to their older sisters 姉ちゃん (neechan) to display them some respect and also familiarity. They space older after ~ all.

She’s no your enlarge sister, yet you speak to her that anyway?

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

Or have you ever been watching an anime and also heard “nee” added on to a girl’s name, kind of prefer “good morning Miyuki-nee”?

The very first example is one the you will more than likely see and also hear a lot. That’s because when who doesn’t know a young woman’s name, they usually just contact her お姉さん as a polite method of acquiring her attention. It would be taken into consideration rude to just allude and say “hey you!”

As because that the second example, periodically a human will include 姉 (nee) on come someone’s name as a suffix to present the relationship that castle feel towards them.

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So to illustrate this, stop say the you prospered up with a neighbor named Miyuki that is a couple of years older 보다 you and also she’s constantly been “like a big sister” to you. Girlfriend might speak to her 美雪姉 (Miyuki-nee), which would be sort of like calling her “Big-sis Miyuki”.

The an ext You Know, The more You Know!

So over there you have it. Girlfriend now recognize the words for both older and younger sister, the kanji because that each one, just how to tell castle apart from every other, the concept of tate, and the dual concept that uchi/soto!

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