21 votes

For Japanese, family names are the worst growing pains

11 comments

  1. ThatFanficGuy Link
    It's fascinating, seeing such a familiar, basic concept unfold very differently in a different country. Japan, especially, is so full of surprises like these. It's so obsessed with honor, and it...

    It's fascinating, seeing such a familiar, basic concept unfold very differently in a different country. Japan, especially, is so full of surprises like these. It's so obsessed with honor, and it just seems so foreign to me, the levels they go to to ensure that honor is upheld.

    9 votes
  2. zptc Link
    I thought this was an interesting look at an aspect of Japanese culture. Having grown up in the USA, I never put much thought into what pronouns I used to address my parents.

    I thought this was an interesting look at an aspect of Japanese culture. Having grown up in the USA, I never put much thought into what pronouns I used to address my parents.

    7 votes
  3. junya Link
    When I was a kid, I knew a family with kids similar to my age. One thing that always surprised me was that the kids in this family called their parents by first name only. To this day, I'm not...

    When I was a kid, I knew a family with kids similar to my age. One thing that always surprised me was that the kids in this family called their parents by first name only.

    To this day, I'm not sure why the parents wanted their kids to refer to them by their first names. I'm guessing it was something along the lines of wanting to show their kids that they are more than just parents, but I really have no idea.

    Whatever the reason, the parents seemed to have assigned a sort of power to the title of "mom" and "dad" that I haven't seen many other people in American culture even consider.

    7 votes
  4. [3]
    Algernon_Asimov Link
    There's a parallel here in Australia (I'm not sure if it happens in other Anglophone countries): young children will often call their parents "Daddy" and "Mummy" until they reach an age where they...

    Until she turned 14, it was “Papa” and “Mama.” But one day, “it became too embarrassing” to shout this in public, and so she changed it to the much more formal and Japanesey “Otosan” and “Okasan.”

    There's a parallel here in Australia (I'm not sure if it happens in other Anglophone countries): young children will often call their parents "Daddy" and "Mummy" until they reach an age where they decide those childish appellations are too embarrassing, and they switch to "Dad" and "Mum".

    7 votes
    1. [2]
      frostycakes Link Parent
      Seems to be relatively common here in the States too. Even on my mom's side, where my grandmother was a first-generation immigrant from Germany, there was a switch from Mutti to Mutts (pronounced...

      Seems to be relatively common here in the States too. Even on my mom's side, where my grandmother was a first-generation immigrant from Germany, there was a switch from Mutti to Mutts (pronounced like mootz, short for die Mutter, mother in German) as they grew up, and as adults, the more serious/frustrated conversations I saw between my mom/uncle and grandma, they would switch to just calling her Mother specifically. My dad was the same way with his parents, they were Dad/Mom unless it was a serious conversation, then it was Father/Mother.

      4 votes
      1. cadadr Link Parent
        Similarly in Turkey, "annecim" and "babacım" becomes "anne" and "baba" in most contexts, after puberty hits.

        Similarly in Turkey, "annecim" and "babacım" becomes "anne" and "baba" in most contexts, after puberty hits.

        1 vote
  5. [3]
    diode Link
    It just sounds like the same thing as the mommy --> mom --> mother(in a formal setting) transformation that happens in English speaking countries. I really don't understand the meme that only...

    It just sounds like the same thing as the mommy --> mom --> mother(in a formal setting) transformation that happens in English speaking countries. I really don't understand the meme that only Japan has honorifics when the majority of their conventions are mirrored in the West.

    6 votes
    1. [2]
      cfabbro (edited ) Link Parent
      Nobody is saying Japan is unique in having varying degrees of honorifics... but the difference in Japan is that those early honorifics, which in Western culture we tend to discard in favor of the...

      Nobody is saying Japan is unique in having varying degrees of honorifics... but the difference in Japan is that those early honorifics, which in Western culture we tend to discard in favor of the next "step up" as we get older, are often still used well into adulthood out of respect, honor and tradition. But now that those early honorifics are slowly starting to be seen as too childish (when they weren't before), that's leading to this awkwardness where Japanese teens and adults are struggling to figure out when is appropriate to switch to a more mature feeling honorific, without causing offense to the person they are addressing.

      1 vote
      1. diode Link Parent
        A child calls their father "daddy" as a tern of endearment. They persist in this until early adolescence when they realize that it seems childish. They start calling their father "dad" which is...

        are often still used well into adulthood out of respect, honor and tradition. But now that those early honorifics are slowly starting to be seen as too childish (when they weren't before), that's leading to this awkwardness

        A child calls their father "daddy" as a tern of endearment. They persist in this until early adolescence when they realize that it seems childish. They start calling their father "dad" which is awkward at first because it implies a reduction in intimacy.

        I don't see how the above situation differs in any way to the one you described other than maybe the reference to "respect, honor, tradition" which the article doesn't seem to mention and just sounds like an extension of the honorifics meme.

        3 votes
  6. Catt Link
    This was a really interesting read and does explain what I thought was weird when I asked my then high school boyfriend, now husband what to call his mom and he told me to use her name. That felt...

    This was a really interesting read and does explain what I thought was weird when I asked my then high school boyfriend, now husband what to call his mom and he told me to use her name. That felt so taboo to me then, so I asked asked what his other friends call her, and he answered "Mom", which felt even weirder...

    4 votes
  7. Dovey Link
    Let me try calling my mother Reverent Bag and see how that goes.

    Let me try calling my mother Reverent Bag and see how that goes.

    3 votes