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japanese using last names 2007/3/25 13:15
hello. i just have a quick question. so in japan i have hard that a lot of times guys will call their girl-friends [not girlfriend] by their last name. as a foreigner what would they do to me? i really dont think that i wouldnt want my last name used .. as it is long and confusing even to americans sometimes ...
by kate  

... 2007/3/27 11:22
It is common in Japan to call each other by last name, unless they are very close friends. However, in case of foreigners (from Western countries), the first name is commonly used, unless you are there on business (and sometimes even in business).
by Uji rate this post as useful

. 2007/3/27 13:21
This is off topic, but I'm a bit annoyed to see people say "first name" and "last name" when they are talking about names in Japan or Japanese names because in Japan family name comes first, then given name.
So for Japanese people family name is not "last" name and given name is not "first" name. (I believe it is the same in Hungarian language, family name comes first, then given name follows.)

But well, this is not an answer to the original poster.
(Sorry this is not particularly addressed to the original poster, but I just could not help to point out...)
by . rate this post as useful

. 2007/3/27 13:26
Annoyance noted, but people say "first name/last name" because thats how they are used to it. In western countries your given name is said "first" and your family name is usually said "last".
by John rate this post as useful

just tell them 2007/3/27 14:56
People will call you what you want to be called. When you introduce yourself just say "my name is soandso suchandsuch, please call me soandso". Japanese people are familiar with the idea that westerners use first names, so it shouldn't be a problem. :)
by Vita rate this post as useful

Family name 2007/3/27 17:31
I usually insist that they call me by my last name too unless they are friends. It is the way I'm used to back home. Quite often Japanese people assume all "westerners" call each other by their first names, this is not always true of course.
by Kappa rate this post as useful

Honorific system 2007/3/27 19:17
Most NE Asian countries, they address each other by last name. If you're a couple then you normally used first name.
by Pierce rate this post as useful

they will ask 2007/3/27 19:38
Most people will ask you "How should I call you?, Kate-san or (familyname)-san?"

I usually reply "Either is fine" because some people will say one and other people the other without asking you.

by koan rate this post as useful

thanks 2007/3/28 00:52
thanks guys ^^ .. i think i'll just introduce myself with my first name them .. it's short and that's the way i like it ^^ haha.

as to the person who said about "first name" "last name" .. i know that in japan the surname comes first, but we were on an english speaking site therefore when i am speaking most people would say "first name" "last name" .. if i said "first name" .. but meant the surname people would be telling me "thats how it is"
by kate rate this post as useful

Last name 2007/6/1 13:36
does anyone here know what word for "Long" in japanese lang?? pls let me know
by Long rate this post as useful

Last name 2007/6/1 15:34
Hi Long,

My wife tells me that Nagai is Japanese for Long. As in a long piece of string, hair road.

by Yahatacookie rate this post as useful

. 2007/6/1 22:46
I think the severity of calling someone by their given name or surname is slightly overblown because at least half the population in Japan probably doesn't use it.

Everyone of my Japanese friends call one another by the first given name. i.e. Yoshiki or Mari. Even if they're not really that great friends with each another.

You'll probably resort to calling someone by the surname only when they're mature or above say 40 years old, or when they're more senior that you are or when you're not closely associated with the person.

In most western cultures, you would call someone mrs or mr or miss in a lot of situations too.

No doubt its slightly more polite in Japan by say 20-30% but I think we're slightly exaggerating the real situation here!
by Blanc. rate this post as useful

last names 2007/6/2 01:31
Actually most Western Europeans,when asked their names will automaticaly give their family name first!. In school teachers used to call us by our family name only, at work people who have worked together for many years call one another Mr. X, Mrs. Y etc. it is only between close friends that one uses the first name. I have been living in North America for over 30 years but still find it extremely rude when people who don't know me, like store or bank clerks look at my credit cards etc. and use my first name!
by Sensei 2 rate this post as useful

agree w/Sensei 2 (slightly off topic) 2008/1/20 23:38
I'm Canadian, born and raised, and I, too, find it a little too personal when someone I haven't introduced myself to uses my first (given) name; though once someone addresses me by my first name I never correct them.

My rule of thumb is that first names are for friends and family; otherwise I am Mister Carter and you are Mister Soandso.

When anyone I am not VERY close to either abbreviates my name and calls me Kev, or calls me Carter without the Mister, is when I find it rude enough to warrant correcting them.
by Kevin rate this post as useful

A related question 2008/1/21 13:07
So how would you ask someone else what you should call them?

I wouldn't know and probably pick family name-san...and I don't want to offend people by appearing too formal.
by Azazal rate this post as useful

Re: Last names 2008/1/23 13:08
Because the Japanese are aware that westerners use their first names to address people, you may be called by your first name followed by San, which means Mr./Miss/Mrs. Normally, the person's last name is used when addressing a person. In my Japanese class, I am called by my first name, but in actuality, it would be wise to use the person's last name.
by Melissa rate this post as useful

to Long on his name 2008/1/28 14:41
haha Long! Yes Nagai does mean Long in Japanese, but if you're planning to use a japanese version of 'long' in Japan, don't tell people to call you Nagai. It will be strange to both you and the person calling you, knowing that it literally means 'a long piece of string'.

Many people, like myself, use Katakana letters for their names, or if you're in Japan for a long time, you can even make your own name in Kanji letters.
My pick is go by 'Rong' which is how your name would be pronounced by Japanese people. eg. my name is Melody and in Japanese, they call me 'Merodi'.
by melody rate this post as useful

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