How to say Wife in Japanese?

[ADS] Advertisement

In Japanese there are different ways of referring to a spouse or partner. In this article, we will look at some of these ways, their meanings and their differences. Ready to know how to say wife in Japanese?

There are many ways to speak wife in Japanese, below you will see many of these ways, their meanings and differences. One of the main differences is that there are words used to refer to other people's spouses or spouses.

Tsuma - My Wife

Tsuma [妻] is the term best known as wife mainly by Japanese language students, but they should be aware that this term is used only to refer to the wife herself. This is because the word also has a romantic and embellished connotation, something like my dear, my honey.

Usually the garnish served with sashimi is also called tsuma, this is because the word is also used to refer to something next to it. Historically the word tsuma has been used to refer to both husband and wife.

The word makes perfect sense, its origin comes from [端] which means side and edge, indicating the person who is beside, that is, the spouse. Another way of reading the wife ideogram is leaves [妻] that can be used in the formation of other words like:

  • Saishi [妻子] - Wife and children, formerly wife;
  • Saitai [妻帯] - Having a wife, getting married;
  • Saisho [妻女] - Wife and children;
  • Saishou [妻妾] - Wife and lover;
  • Tsuma no Mikoto [妻の命] - You (spouse);
  • Gensai [幻妻] - Wife; Woman (deprecative); prostitute;
  • Gusai [愚妻] - Archaic wife;
How to say wife in Japanese?

Okusan - Wife

A common way of referring to your wife is using the term okusan [奥さん] which can also be used to refer to the wives of other people or married women. It is a respectful honorific sonkeigo, but its origin is controversial.

Oku [奥] means at the back and, in this case, at the back of the house. So okusan refers to someone who stays in the back of the house and doesn't go out, someone who stays hidden. This concept came from the Sengoku Period where women were inside the castle at the back and there they served their master, shujin [主人].

According to the dictionary, oku-san or oku-sama it is also a common nickname for middle-aged women. It is customary to see men calling women who do not know the name of okusan. The act of doing things for the wife is called okusankoukou [奥さん孝行].

How to say wife in Japanese?

Kanai - Homemade Wife

Another similar term is kanai [家内] who can refer to the wife in the humble way kenjougo which is commonly written in hiragana. The word literally means inside the house, which describes the woman's role and her running around inside the house.

Kanai can also refer to someone's family, which can be seen in the famous amulet kanaianzen [家内安全] which serves to protect the family from danger. Even though it is a term used for one's own wife, this word can be offensive to some.

I think if feminists read this article, they'd freak out, but a lot of those words are respectful and cute for Japanese women. Don't let the origins of words shake you, otherwise you'll go crazy if you research the origins of English words.

How to say wife in Japanese?

Nyoubou - From Maid to Wife

The word nyoubou [女房] originally referred to high-class women who worked at the Japanese Imperial Court. As you might expect, some ended up in bed with some local men. The word literally means woman in the room [房].

Bou it is a type of room in which they served guests and looked after the Princess or the Emperor. They got that name because they were given their own room on site. Eventually this term was used to refer to wives.

The term is only used to refer to one's own wife. Some may not like this term because of its origins. Sometimes the term is used with the woman you live with, without any wedding tie.

How to say wife in Japanese?

Oyomesan - Bride

Despite the word oyomesan meaning bride, you can also refer to your own wife after you are married, but on rare occasions. Written with ideogram [嫁] yome or yomesan it can also be used to refer to daughter-in-law.

In the Kansai area of Osaka and Kyoto, such use for wives is common, you can hear something like “uchi no yome“, A very popular expression among manzai comedians. Another archaic way of calling a wife or bride is wakoto [我事].

To be more specific we call the woman a bride using the expression hanayome [花嫁] so much that when searching for yome and hanayome on Google images you will see a lot of difference in clothes. We also have words like shinbu [新婦].

How to say wife in Japanese?

Other Ways to Say Wife in Japanese

Below we will see other ways to say wife in Japanese:

  • Bujin [夫人] - Wife; Mrs. Madame; Wife of a nobleman;
  • Kami-san [上さん] - Wife, usually of merchants or local chiefs;
  • Fuufu [夫婦] - Husband and Wife;
  • Kaasan [母さん] - Despite being a mother, you can refer to your own wife;
  • Kakaa [嬶] - Wife;

Share This Article: