Friday, July 22, 2016

kun 君 - Honorific

In Japanese, kun くん is a honorific suffix used after the names of boys, male mascot characters, and subordinates, employees or pupils of either gender.

It's also spelled kun 君, with the same kanji as the word kimi 君, "you." Not to be confused with kun 訓, which is the kun'yomi 訓読み reading of a kanji.

Usage

The kun くん honorific is used toward boys almost the same way that chan ちゃん is used toward girls.

Intimacy

The kun honorific implies an intimate, friendly relationship between the two people. Unlike chan, kun doesn't have a cutesy implication in it.

Among children, boys and girls use kun くん after the name of other boys. The usage drops as the children grow up, with the the neutral san さん suffix being used instead.

Nevertheless, two good friends can refer to each other with kun くん. A girl using kun くん toward a guy can also imply she's interested in him, or at least feel they've a relationship intimate enough she doesn't need to use san さん.

Subordinates

The kun くん suffix can be used toward students, pupils, employees, and subordinates of all sorts, regardless of gender. This is a completely different usage from the usual kun くん suffix, which is normally only used toward guys.

In this case, you could have a teacher calling a female student of his with the kun くん suffix, for example. Therefore, gender doesn't matter.

Since the teacher is a subordinate to the headmaster, hierarchically, the headmaster can also add the kun くん suffix to the teacher's name when referring to him. Therefore, age doesn't matter either.

Sarcasm

The kun くん suffix can be used sarcastically. For example, to mock a guy by talking as if you're intimate friends with him, when you are not.

Mascots

Names of male mascots, pets, tend to have the kun くん suffix attached to them, while names of female mascots would have chan ちゃん instead.

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