When it comes to addressing someone with respect, the Japanese language has a few different terms. One of these is senpai, which is used to refer to someone who has more experience than you in a particular field.
It’s important to note that while the word senpai can be used for anyone who is superior to you in terms of experience or skill, it’s most commonly used between students in the same school year.
For example, a first-year student would refer to a second-year student as senpai, but not to a third-year student or higher.
Names to Call Someone Who Calls You Senpai
It’s no secret that the Japanese language has a lot of words for different types of people. In fact, there are so many words for different types of people that it can be difficult to keep track of them all. One such word is senpai.
Senpai is a word used to refer to someone who is senior to you in terms of rank, experience, or age. It can be used both in a positive and negative way, depending on the context.
For example, you might use senpai to refer to an older student in your class who you look up to or someone who has been working at their job for longer than you have.
We’ll be dividing these words depending on various scenarios as different sets of people could call you Senpai and there are different words to call them
1. If the person is older or has more experience than you
Call them Sempai
This is simply the Japanese word for senior. So if someone who’s older than you or has more experience calls you senpai, you can sempai back at them.
In the Japanese language, there are two ways to refer to someone who is superior to you in terms of age, experience, or rank. The first is sempai, which is used to describe someone who is older than you or has more experience than you.
The second is senpai, which is used to describe someone who is respected for their achievements or position.
When you are talking to someone who is a sempai, you would typically use the honorific -san after their name. For example, if your name was John and you were talking to your sempai Sarah, you would say Sarah-san.
If Sarah then called you John-senpai, she would be using the honorific -senpai to show respect for your achievements or position.
The use of sempai and senpai can be confusing, but it is important to remember that sempai always refers to someone who is older than you or has more experience than you, while senpai always refers to someone who is respected for their achievements or position.
Call them Sensei
Similar to master, this word is also used for teachers and mentors. It’s a bit more respectful than master, so use it accordingly!
There’s nothing wrong with calling someone older than you sensei if they call you senpai. In fact, it’s a sign of respect. When you’re a student in a Japanese martial arts school, it’s customary to address your instructors as sensei.
Sensei is a Japanese word that can be translated as “teacher.” However, the word has a much deeper meaning than just “teacher.” It conveys respect and gratitude for the knowledge and wisdom that the person has imparted to you.
In the martial arts world, respect is everything. It’s what keeps the hierarchy in place and ensures that everyone is on the same page. By calling someone older than you sensei, you’re showing them the respect they deserve.
Call them Sifu
In Japanese culture, senpai refers to an experienced person who has seniority over a kohai. A Sifu, on the other hand, is a Chinese term used to refer to a master or teacher.
So, when someone of higher ranking in martial arts calls you by your title, it’s considered polite to reciprocate and call them Sifu.
This act of respect shows humble submission and gratitude towards those who have come before us and helped pave the way. It’s a sign of appreciation for their years of experience and knowledge.
So the next time your martial arts instructor calls you senpai, be sure to respond with Sifu!
Call them Guru
Another word for teacher, this one can be used in a variety of settings.
That being said, there is a term for someone who is considered an expert in their field or someone who has a great deal of experience: “guru”.
While the word can be used for anyone – regardless of age – it is often used to refer to someone who is significantly older and more experienced than oneself.
Calling someone a guru if they call you senpai is a sign of respect. It shows that you view them as an expert in their field and that you are willing to learn from them.
This type of respect is very important in Japanese culture, and it is something that should be given thoughtfully and sparingly.
2. If the person is younger than you
Thank them for the compliment
In Japan, it is considered polite to humble yourself and thank someone for paying you a compliment. So, if someone who is younger than you calls you senpai, simply say thank you or Arigatou gozaimasu.
As someone who is senpai, or older, in life, it’s important to be grateful when someone who is younger than you shows you respect. In Japanese culture, thanking someone who is younger than you if they call you senpai is a sign of good manners and appreciation.
However you choose to do it, make sure that your actions show that you are truly grateful for the respect that the other person has shown you.
Don’t get attached to the title
Just because someone calls you senpai doesn’t mean they’ll always respect your opinion or defer to your authority.
The best way to earn someone’s respect is by showing them that you’re worth respecting – so focus on being the best version of yourself, and let the titles take care of themselves
When you’re younger, it’s easy to get attached to the titles and labels that we give ourselves. We’re always looking for ways to identify with others and feel like we belong.
So when someone who is younger than us calls us “senpai”, it can be tempting to get too attached to the title. But it’s important to remember that labels are just that.
Just because someone is younger than us doesn’t mean they can’t be our senpai in some areas of life. And just because we’re older doesn’t mean we have to be a senpai all the time.
So if you’re ever feeling like you’re too attached to the title “senpai”, just remember that it’s not about age, it’s about learning and growth. And as long as you’re always open to learning from others, you’ll always be a valuable senpai to someone.
This word means underclassman and is typically used for people who are lower in rank than you are. For example, if you’re a second-year student and someone from the first year calls you senpai, you can call them Kohai in return.
In Japanese culture, it is considered polite to refer to someone who has more experience than you as senpai. Similarly, someone who is younger than you would be referred to as kohai.
This system of respect is evident in many aspects of Japanese life, from the way people address each other at work to the way students interact with their teachers.
If you don’t want to deal with the situation, you can always just ignore it and pretend like you didn’t hear them. This is probably not the best option if you want to build a relationship with the person, but it is an option nonetheless.
Of course, there are always exceptions to the rule and ultimately it’s up to each individual to decide whether or not they want to respond when someone younger than them calls them senpai.
Use it as an opportunity to teach them about Japanese culture
If you are interested in teaching the person about Japanese culture, you can use this opportunity to do so. Explain to them why it is important to refer to people who are older than them as senpai and how doing so shows respect.
You could even teach them some other Japanese words and phrases while you’re at it.
In Japan, seniors are always respected for their experience and knowledge. This is why the term senpai is so important. It shows that you are willing to learn from those who have more experience than you.
When someone calls you senpai, take it as a compliment and use it as an opportunity to share your knowledge with them.
You can tell them about some of the key differences between Japanese and Western cultures, such as the importance of hierarchy and age in Japan or introduce them to other aspects of Japanese culture, such as cuisine, art, literature, or film.
3. If the person is family
Use a familiar term of endearment
The most obvious way to show someone who calls you senpai that you care about them is to use a familial term of endearment.
In Japanese, this could be something like okaasan (mother), otousan (father), or even obaa-san (grandmother). By using one of these terms, you’re immediately showing that the person is important to you and that you care about them.
When someone who is family calls you “senpai,” it’s a term of endearment. It’s a way of showing respect and acknowledging the relationship.
For example, if your grandparents call you “senpai,” they’re indicating that they see you as an adult and are proud of the person you’ve become.
Use honorifics when speaking to them.
Honorifics are an important part of the Japanese language and they’re often used when speaking to elders or people in positions of authority.
When talking to someone who calls you senpai, it’s important to use honorifics such as san or sama when addressing them. This shows respect and helps to maintain a sense of hierarchy.
When it comes to family, the use of honorifics can get a little confusing. In some families, everyone uses them all the time, while in others, they are only used on special occasions.
However, if you find yourself in a situation where someone who is your family calls you senpai, it is always best to err on the side of respect and use the honorific as well.
At the end of the day, using senpai when speaking to someone who is your family shows that you respect them and value their opinion.
It is a small gesture that can go a long way in solidifying relationships and showing others that you are considerate and respectful.
Give them a nickname
Another way to show someone who calls you senpai that you care about them is to give them a nickname. This could be something based on their personality or something that’s simply easy for you to remember.
Nicknames are a great way to show affection and they can help make the person feel more like family.
If they’re your parent or grandparent, you might not want to use a nickname at all. But if they’re your older sibling or cousin, then giving them a nickname could be a sign of affection.
There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to nicknames, so it’s ultimately up to you. But if you do decide to give your family member a nickname, make sure it’s one they’re comfortable with. After all, they’re the ones who have to live with it!
It’s not always easy to know how to address someone who is superior to you in rank or experience.
In Japanese, there is a word for this relationship: senpai. Calling someone senpai is a sign of respect and can be used in both professional and personal contexts.
When addressing someone as senpai, it is important to use the correct honorific form. For example, if you are a female student and your senpai is a male teacher, you would call him sensei instead of senpai.
The same goes for addressing someone who is older than you or of a higher social status.
We’ve talked about what to call someone who calls you Senpai and I hope you gained value from this article.