How Japanese call their partners

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Men in your forties, have you ever had a girlfriend? graph of japanese statistics

Note: Tofugu wrote a nice article on this survey.

Correctly-addressing even close friends in Japanese is a matter of some complexity that I won’t attempt to explain here. However, iShare recently tackled the subject of names partners use with each other as you can see here.

Demographics

Between the 20th and 26th of November 2009 484 members of the CLUB BBQ free email forwarding service completed a private internet-based questionnaire. 59.7% were male, 33.3% in their twenties, 32.2% in their thirties, and 34.5% in their forties.

One that I was suprised and disappointed didn’t have a category of its own was calling your wife “mother”. Many Japanese seem to adopt this as soon as they have a kid, so I’d have liked to have had concrete data on this.

The most popular kinds of mildly-embarrassing nicknames were adding “-tan” or “-nyan” after names.

We don’t bother with suffixes or nicknames in this house, and adding “-chan” after names usually indicates a request for something is coming soon…

Research results

Q1A: Have you ever had a girlfriend? (Sample size=289, male)

  All Twenties
N=105
Thirties
N=91
Forties
N=93
Yes (to SQs) 76.8% 59.0% 87.9% 86.0%
No 23.2% 41.0% 12.1% 14.0%

Q1B: Have you ever had a boyfriend? (Sample size=195, female)

  All Twenties
N=56
Thirties
N=65
Forties
N=74
Yes (to SQs) 82.6% 64.3% 89.2% 90.5%
No 17.4% 35.7% 10.8% 9.5%


Q1SQ1: How do you most often refer to your partner? (Sample size=383)

  All Male
N=222
Female
N=161
Given name only 29.8% 36.0% 21.1%
Given name plus chan, kun 27.2% 24.8% 30.4%
Nickname 21.9% 21.2% 23.0%
Given name plus san 8.4% 7.7% 9.3%
Family name plus san 3.9% 2.7% 5.6%
Oy, Hey, etc (don’t use name) 3.7% 3.2% 4.3%
Family name only 2.3% 1.8% 3.1%
You (don’t use name) 1.3% 0.5% 2.5%
Other 1.6% 2.3% 0.6%

Q1SQ2: How does your partner most often refer to you? (Sample size=383)

  All Male
N=222
Female
N=161
Given name plus chan, kun 31.3% 34.7% 26.7%
Given name only 24.3% 17.1% 34.2%
Nickname 20.9% 23.4% 17.4%
Given name plus san 13.6% 15.8% 10.6%
Family name plus san 3.7% 5.0% 1.9%
Oy, Hey, etc (doesn’t use name) 2.6% 2.7% 2.5%
Family name only 1.8% 0.0% 4.3%
You (doesn’t use name) 0.8% 0.5% 1.2%
Other 1.0% 0.9% 1.2%

Q1SQ3: Do, did you have a special nickname for your partner that would be a little embarrassing if others heard? (Sample size=383)

  All Male
N=222
Female
N=161
Yes 13.1% 14.4% 11.2%
No 86.9% 85.6% 88.8%

Q2: If you were to be called a name by a partner, which would you most want to be called? (Sample size=484)

  All Male
N=289
Female
N=195
Given name only 31.6% 26.3% 39.5%
Given name plus chan, kun 24.2% 27.0% 20.0%
Nickname 15.7% 15.9% 15.4%
Given name plus san 13.0% 15.2% 9.7%
You (doesn’t use name) 3.9% 4.8% 2.6%
Family name plus san 3.3% 3.5% 3.1%
Family name only 2.5% 1.4% 4.1%
Oy, Hey, etc (doesn’t use name) 1.2% 1.7% 0.5%
Other 4.5% 4.2% 5.1%

Q3: If you were to enter a relationship, would you want to change the name you call each other? (Sample size=484)

  All Male
N=289
Female
N=195
Want to change soon 11.6% 13.1% 9.2%
Once we got closer, would want to change 37.4% 34.6% 41.5%
Once we got very close, would want to change 10.7% 7.3% 15.9%
Not bothered when we would change 40.3% 45.0% 33.3%
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1 Comment »

  1. July 9, 2010 @ 15:48

    I think it sounds ever so cute, but each section relates to each other. I guess this is what happens when you live with your parents until your 30′s.

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