How to Say Younger Brother in Japanese Language

Learning how to say “younger brother” in Japanese can be a great way to enhance your language skills and deepen your understanding of Japanese culture. In this guide, we will explore both formal and informal ways to express this term, while also providing useful tips, examples, and even regional variations when necessary. Let’s dive right in!

Formal Ways to Say Younger Brother

When speaking formally or in polite situations, you can use the word “otōto” (弟) to refer to your younger brother in Japanese. This term is widely recognized and commonly used throughout the country. To put a respectful touch to it, you can address your younger brother as “otōtosan” (弟さん) when speaking to him directly or referring to him in a polite manner.

Example usage:

Formal: Otōto wa kyōmi ga arimasu. (弟は興味があります。) – My younger brother is interested.

Polite: Otōtosan wa gakusei desu ka? (弟さんは学生ですか?) – Is your younger brother a student?

Informal Ways to Say Younger Brother

When speaking casually or among close friends and family members, you have several options to refer to your younger brother in Japanese. The most popular and commonly used word is “otōto” (弟), which is also used in formal settings as mentioned above. However, you can make it more casual by dropping the honorific “san” and simply calling him “otōto.”

Example usage:

Informal: Otōto wa game o suki da. (弟はゲームを好きだ。) – My younger brother likes games.

Casual: Otōto wa kyō wa konai yo. (弟は今日は来ないよ。) – My younger brother won’t come today.

Regional Variations

While the above terms are used universally across Japan, it’s worth mentioning that some regional variations exist, especially when it comes to slang or dialects. Here are a couple of examples:

  • Ani (兄) – In some regions or groups, “ani” can be used to refer to a younger brother. It is more commonly used to mean “older brother” in a standard context, so be aware of the local variations before using it.
  • Otoutonchama (弟んちゃま) – In certain informal dialects, this term is used to address a younger brother in a cute or endearing way. However, it is not widely recognized or used throughout Japan and is limited to specific regions or close-knit communities.

Remember, regional variations or slang terms need to be used with caution, especially if you are not familiar with the specific dialect or social context. Stick to the commonly used phrases to avoid confusion or misunderstandings.

Useful Tips for Understanding Japanese Family Terms

Understanding Japanese family terms can sometimes be confusing, especially due to the complexities of the honorific and hierarchical system. Here are a few tips to help you navigate this linguistic landscape:

  1. Honorifics: Japanese culture places great importance on respect and politeness, so make sure to use appropriate honorifics when addressing family members, especially when speaking formally or with elders.
  2. Context Matters: The choice of words for family members can sometimes depend on the context and the relationship between the speakers. Pay attention to the conversation and adjust your language accordingly.
  3. Learn Kanji: Kanji (Chinese characters) are often used to represent family terms. Learning basic kanji can help you recognize and understand these terms more easily.

By keeping these tips in mind, you’ll be well-equipped to communicate effectively when talking about family relations in Japanese.


Mastering the vocabulary for family relations is essential when learning any language, and Japanese is no exception. In this guide, we explored both formal and informal ways to say “younger brother” in Japanese, along with some regional variations and valuable tips to enhance your understanding.

Remember to be mindful of the context and use appropriate honorifics when needed. Practice using these phrases in different situations to boost your language skills and immerse yourself in Japanese culture. So go ahead and confidently refer to your younger brother in Japanese – whether it’s in a formal or casual setting!

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