Family Vocab In Japanese: Terms For People In Your Family

  • Ichika Yamamoto
    Written byIchika Yamamoto
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Family Vocab In Japanese: Terms For People In Your Family

Learning how to describe your family members in Japanese takes time.

It’s not quite as straightforward as it is in English.

Thankfully, I’ve put together a detailed reference for you right here with audio so you can refer to it as needed.

You might also like to follow this up with my guide on Japanese honorifics.


The example sentences are done in plain form with the polite form in parentheses.

Japanese family vocabulary chart 👨‍👩‍👦

In this table, you’ll find all the most important vocabulary for describing family members.

Below are a number of Japanese vocabulary words associated with the family.

All words are nouns unless otherwise specified.

Both Hiragana and Kanji as well as audio are provided for reference.

Kanji Hiragana Romaji English Meaning Listen
家族 かぞく kazoku familyPlay audio
親 おや oya parent(s)Play audio
両親 りょうしん ryoushin parentsPlay audio
夫婦 ふうふ fuufu couplePlay audio
夫 おっと otto husband (your own)Play audio
主人 しゅじん shujin husband (your own)Play audio
ご主人 ごしゅじん goshujin husband (someone else’s)Play audio
妻 つま tsuma wife (your own)Play audio
家内 かない kanai wife (your own)Play audio
奥さん おくさん okusan wife (someone else’s)Play audio
子 こ ko childPlay audio
子供 こども kodomo childrenPlay audio
赤ちゃん あかちゃん akachan babyPlay audio
息子 むすこ musuko son (your own)Play audio
息子さん むすこさん musukosan son (someone else’s)Play audio
娘 むすめ musume daughter (your own)Play audio
娘さん むすめさん musumesan daughter (someone else’s)Play audio
父 ちち chichi father (your own)Play audio
お父さん おとうさん otousan father (someone else’s)Play audio
母 はは haha mother (your own)Play audio
お母さん おかあさん okaasan mother (someone else’s)Play audio
兄 あに ani older brother (your own)Play audio
お兄さん おにいさん oniisan older brother (someone else’s)Play audio
弟 おとうと otouto younger brother (your own)Play audio
弟さん おとうとさん otoutosan younger brother (someone else’s)Play audio
兄弟 きょうだい kyoudai brother(s), sibling(s)Play audio
姉 あね ane older sister (your own)Play audio
お姉さん おねえさん oneesan older sister (someone else’s)Play audio
妹 いもうと imouto younger sister (your own)Play audio
妹さん いもうとさん imoutosan younger sister (someone else’s)Play audio
姉妹 しまい shimai sister(s)Play audio
祖父母 そふぼ sofubo grandparentsPlay audio
祖父 そふ sofu grandfatherPlay audio
祖母 そぼ sobo grandmotherPlay audio
お祖父さん おじいさん ojiisan grandpaPlay audio
お祖母さん おばあさん obaasan grandmaPlay audio
おじさん おじさん ojisan unclePlay audio
おばさん おばさん obasan auntPlay audio
甥 おい oi nephewPlay audio
姪 めい mei niecePlay audio
いとこ いとこ itoko cousinPlay audio
はとこ はとこ hatoko second cousinPlay audio
孫 まご mago grandchildPlay audio
曽お祖父さん ひおじいさん hiojiisan great-grandfather (add an extra ‘hi’ for great-great, etc.)Play audio
曽お祖母さん ひおばあさん hiobaasan great-grandmother (add an extra ‘hi’ for great-great, etc.)Play audio
先祖 せんぞ senzo ancestorsPlay audio
親戚 しんせき shinseki relativesPlay audio

Example sentences describing your family in Japanese

Here are some example sentences using terms from the table above:

Listen to audio

Hiragana: きょうだいはさんにんであにひとりといもうとふたり(です)。

Kanji: 兄弟は三人で兄一人と妹二人(です)。

Kyoudai wa sannin de ani hitori to imouto futari (desu).
I have three siblings. One older brother and two younger sisters.
Listen to audio

Hiragana: ぼくはハーフだ(です)。ちちはアメリカじんではははにほんじんだ(です)。

Kanji: 僕はハーフだ(です)。父はアメリカ人で母は日本人だ(です)。

Boku wa ha-fu da (desu). Chichi wa amerikajin de haha wa nihonjin da (desu).
I am a 'half' (half Japanese, in this case). My dad is an American and my mom is Japanese.
Listen to audio

Hiragana: なつやすみはそふぼのいえにほうもんする(します)。

Kanji: 夏休みは祖父母の家に訪問する(します)。

Natsuyasumi wa sofubo no ie ni houmon suru (shimasu).
We visit our grandparents during summer vacation.

Additonal useful vocabulary

Here are some additional terms (including terms used in the sample sentences above):

Kanji Hiragana Romaji ENGLISH Listen
一人 ひとり hitori one personPlay audio
二人 ふたり futari two peoplePlay audio
三人 さんにん sannin three peoplePlay audio
ハーフ ha-fu a ‘half’, typically a person that is half JapanesePlay audio
アメリカ人 アメリカじん amerikajin American personPlay audio
日本人 にほんじん nihonjin Japanese personPlay audio
夏休み なつやすみ natsuyasumi summer vacationPlay audio
訪問する ほうもんする houmon suru to visitPlay audio

Describe your family in Japanese

I hope this simple reference guide has proven useful.

As you can see, Japanese family terminology can be a little more complex than English.

Memorizing these terms requires practice.

To take it further, there’s a great lesson that covers the topic of family in more detail in the Rocket Japanese course too.

Did I miss any family members?

Comment below.

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Donovan Nagel
Donovan Nagel - B. Th, MA AppLing
I'm an Applied Linguistics graduate, teacher and translator with a passion for language learning (especially Arabic).
Currently learning: Greek


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