Saturday, October 8, 2016

kocchi, socchi, acchi, docchi - Meaning in Japanese, Usage Examples, Grammar

In Japanese, kocchi, socchi, acchi, docchi こっち, そっち, あっち, どっち mean "this way (toward me)," "that way (toward you)," "that way (away from us)," and "what way?" respectively. They're kosoado words related to direction, but they can also refer to sides, choices, and people.

The words kochira, sochira, achira, dochira こちら, そちら, あちら, どちら work the same way in some cases, but they're considered to be more polite.

私と仕事 一体どっちが大切なの!!
Manga: Yondemasu yo, Azazel-san. よんでますよ、アザゼルさん。 (Chapter 23)

Directional Pronouns

The literal way the pronouns kocchi, socchi, acchi, and docchi are used is to refer to directions, ways, and so on.

  • kocchi こっち
    This way. (toward me.)
    This direction.
  • socchi そっち
    That way. (toward you.)
    That direction.
  • acchi あっち
    That way. (away from us.)
    That direction.
  • docchi どっち
    Which way?
    Which direction?

Some examples of how they're used:

  • kocchi e kite こっちへ来て
    kocchi e koi こっちへ来い
    Come toward here. Come toward me. Come near me.
  • socchi ni iku
    [I'll] go toward there. I'll go toward you. I'll go there where you are.
  • acchi ni ike!
    Go there (away from us).
    Go away. (not near me, not near where you are, just away.)
  • kocchi desu
    It's toward here. It's this way.
  • acchi desu
    It's toward there. It's that way.
  • kocchi ni mukatte kuru!
    This way, it's facing and coming!
    • This phrase is used when someone, or an animal, or monster, is heading your way.
    • The verb mukau 向かう means "to face" toward somewhere, in this case, toward us, kocchi ni, while kuru くる means "to come."
  • acchi wa watashi no tomodachi desu
    That way are my friends.
    • Over there are my friends.

socchi vs. acchi

The difference between socchi and acchi is that socchi is close to the listener while acchi is not.

いやぁ あんたが噂の天才錬金術師!! なるほど!こんな鎧を着てるからふたつ名が″鋼″なのか! サインくれー すげえ あのボクじゃなくて へ? あっちのちっこいの?
Manga: Fullmetal Alchemist, Hagane no Renkinjutsushi 鋼の錬金術師 (Chapter 3)
  • Context: Alphonse, in the armor, is surrounded by a fanatical mob.
  • iyaa
  • anta ga uwasa no tensai renkinjutsu-shi!!
    You are the genius alchemist of the rumors!!
  • naruhodo!
    [I see]!
  • konna yoroi wo kiteru kara futatsu-na ga "hagane" nanoka!
    Because [you're] wearing an armor like this, [your] other name is "[fullmetal]"!
    • The Japanese title of "Fullmetal Alchemist" is "steel alchemist," hagane no renkinjutsushi. So the genius alchemist's "other name" is "fullmetal" in English but "steel" in Japanese.
    • ″″ are double prime quotation marks.
  • sain kuree
    Gimme [your] autograph! (signature.)
  • sugee

  • ano, boku janakute
    Erm, it's not me.
  • he?
  • acchi no chikkoi no?
    The shorty one over there?
    • If Edward Elric were close to the speaker in the mob, it would be kocchi, if he was close to Alphonse, he would be socchi, but he was far away from both, so he was acchi.

Often, they're translated as "there" and "over there," but that's not what they really mean. It's not a matter of distance from the speaker alone, it's a matter of whether the direction is close to the speaker, the listener, or neither.

If the listener was far away, "over there," the socchi would be "over there" too.

How kosoado words work, こそあど. An animated gif diagram.

kocchi e douzo

The phrase kocchi e douzo こっちへどうぞ meaning you "may come [over] here," helps illustrate the difference between kocchi こっち and koko ここ, which means "here."

The word koko ここ means "here," the place, while kocchi こっち means "toward here," the direction.

If you asked someone to come koko, you'd be telling them to come to the place where you are: your house, your office, your city, your country, your planet, and so on.

If you asked someone to come kocchi, you'd be telling them to come toward your direction.

If you help the door open, pointed inside, and asked someone to go in, you'd normally use kocchi instead of koko, because, although the room is toward your direction, it isn't exactly where you are: you aren't inside the room, you're by the door.

Indicating Choices

Sometimes, kocchi, socchi, acchi, docchi are used to refer to choices rather than directions. These "choices" can be basically anything. If you choose an object over another, that's a choice.

In this sense, they're similar to kore, sore, are, dore, or kono, sono, ano, dono, but there's a difference: kocchi, socchi, acchi, docchi only demonstrate one thing in contrast with another thing, while the other pronouns can demonstrate things arbitrarily..

That is, when you have multiple alternatives, kocchi is used to refer to one alternative over the other. For example, say you're a swordsman picking a sword from a sword shop:

  • kore ga ii
    This is good.
    • This, which is a sword, is good. I can slash pretty well with it.
  • kono ken ga ii
    This sword is good.
    • The others ones are meh, but this one... this one rocks!
  • kocchi ga ii
    This one is good.
    • This one is better, in fact, than that other one I was checking. That one sucks. This one is good.

Docchi means "Which"

When referring to alternatives, the word docchi どっち, which originally meant "which way?", ends up meaning "which one?"

  • okane to shiawase docchi ga hoshii desu ka?
    [Between] money and happiness, which one is wanted?
    • Money or happiness, which one do you want?
私と仕事 一体どっちが大切なの!!
Manga: Yondemasu yo, Azazel-san. よんでますよ、アザゼルさん。 (Chapter 23)
  • watashi to shigoto
    ittai docchi ga
    taisetsu nano!!

    仕事 一体どっちが大切なの!!
    [Between] me and work, which one is important?!!
    • Which one is more important to you? Me or your job?! CHOOSE ONE!!!1
    • ittai
    • taisetsu
      Important. Precious.

docchi vs. dore

One difference between docchi どっち and dore どれ, which can also mean "which," is that docchi どっち is only used when you have two choices, while dore can be used when you have more than two choices.

Imagine a bifurcating path: you can only go this way or that way. There are only two choices: kocchi and acchi. Likewise, docchi only asks about two alternatives: this one or that one.

Personal Pronouns

The words kocchi, socchi, and acchi can also be used like personal pronouns. In this case, they're more like two sides of a deal: kocchi is me, socchi is you, and acchi would be a third-party.

These can be in the plural: kocchi can mean I, or it can mean us. Anyway, it's my side, or our side. For example:

  • kocchi de nantoka suru
    My side will handle it.
    • I'll handle it.
    • We'll handle it.
    • My company will handle it, your company (socchi) doesn't have to worry about that issue.
    • My team, here on Earth, will handle the planetary defenses being hacked, your team, socchi, in the space, should do your best to focus on fending off those martian spaceships.

These words are also used when you're on the phone with someone, or talking to them over e-mail, etc. Then socchi means "over there," wherever the listener is.

  • kocchi wa daijoubu
    Over here is alright.
  • socchi wa dou desu ka?
    Over there, how [are things]?
    • Is everything alright on your side?
ふざけんなよ テメー こっちは仕事でやってんだよ!
Manga: Gintama 銀魂 (Chapter 16)
  • Context: Gintoki 銀時 enters a taxi.
  • tada de tsure-mawashite-kure ya
    [Drive me] around for free.
    • tsure-mawasu
      To bring [someone], tsureru 連れる, around, mawasu 回す, places.
      (compound verb.)
    • Generally used in a bad meaning, of something taking someone else around and wasting their time, but in this case it's because Gintoki has nothing better to do and wants a free ride.
  • fuzakenna yo, temee
    ふざけんな テメー
    [Don't screw around,] you.
    (emotive right-dislocation.)
  • kocchi wa shigoto de yatte-n-da yo!
    My side is doing it as a job!
    • I'm doing it as a job!
    • I'm not driving around for fun, it's not free, your side (the customer) has to pay me.

kocchi koso

The phrase kocchi koso こっちこそ means more or less "it's I who should say it," or should do it. This koso こそ is a bit tricky to explain, but it's essentially used when someone says thanks, or sorry, and the person being thanked thinks they should be doing the thanking instead.

  • kocchi koso arigatou
    My side rather: thank you.
    • I'm the one that should say thank you.
  • kocchi koso gomen
    My side rather: sorry.
    • I'm the one who should say sorry.

kocchi no serifu da

The phrase kocchi no serifu da こっちのセリフだ means "[that's] my line." Or, more literally, it's "my side's line." This "line," serifu セリフ, is a line of dialogue, so the phrase means "it's me who should be saying it," kind of like kocchi koso.

The difference between kocchi koso and kocchi no serifu da is that kocchi koso tends to be used in more polite situations, while kocchi no serifu da is used when someone stole your line, and is telling you something you should be telling them.

なんでボクがノミネートされているんですか・・・・ バカヤロウ コッチのセリフだ!! さっさと下がらねえとブッ殺すぞ!!
Manga: Sakigake!! Cromartie Koukou 魁!!クロマティ高校 (Chapter 4)
  • Context: a class full of delinquents decides to try to find out who's the strongest delinquent around. Kamiyama 神山, who's not a delinquent, was nominated as a possible strongest.
  • nande boku ga nomineeto sareteiru-n-desu ka....
    Why am I being nominated....?
  • baka yarou

    [You] idiot.
  • kocchi no serifu da!!
    [It] is my side's line!!
    I should be asking that, not you.
    I also have no idea, and I want to know, too!
  • sassato sagaranee to bukkorosu zo!!
    If [you] don't withdraw immediately [I'll] murder [you]!!

vs. kochira, sochira, achira, dochira

There are differences between kocchi, socchi, acchi, docchi and kochira, sochira, achira, and dochira.

To begin with, in a lot of cases they're interchangeable: they mean the same thing. The word choice is more of a matter of nuance.

Generally speaking, kocchi, socchi, acchi, docchi are like abbreviations, so they're less polite than kochira, sochira, achira, and dochira.

At first glance that might sound like a detail, but it really affects how the words are used.

That's because, being more polite, kochira, sochira, achira, and dochira are preferred when referring to people. While, because they're shorter, kocchi, socchi, acchi, and docchi are preferred in other cases.

An example in practice:

  • dochira desu ka?
    This can mean two things:
    1. Who are you?
    2. Which way is it? Which is it?
  • docchi desu ka?
    This can mean just one thing:
    1. Which way is it? Which is it?

As you can see above, you wouldn't use docchi to ask somebody's identity. Although you can be extra polite saying dochira-sama, nobody says docchi-sama. The word docchi isn't used that way.

Save for this hard example, it mostly depends on context. In more polite, professional, business contexts, you'll see the kochira, sochira, achira used more. In more casual contexts, kocchi, socchi, acchi.

The words konata, sonata, anata, donata こなた, そなた, あなた, どなた are also similar to kocchi, kochira, etc. in that they originally referred to directions but then started to refer to people instead.


The words kocchi, socchi, acchi and docchi are normally written with hiragana, but they do have kanji, so sometimes you may find them written with kanji.

  • kocchi 此方
  • socchi 其方
  • acchi 彼方
  • docchi 何方

Note that kocchi 此方, kochira 此方, and konata 此方 would all spelled the same way with kanji, which is probably one of the reasons why they're normally spelled without kanji.

kosoado kotoba こそあど言葉

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  1. There is a kitten named Kocchi on the show Chi's Sweet Home. He is named this because the humans say "Kocchi, kocchi!" when they want to give the cat something to eat!