The generic word for friend in Japanese is 友人 (yuujin). Japanese human being have countless different means to say the word friend. This words rely on how close the partnership is and with who they room speaking. This post will discuss the words you have the right to use come talk around your girlfriend in Japanese. 

Be conscious that, unequal in other languages such as English, the isn’t usual to refer straight to your friend v these words. Lock will generally be provided to introduce them to various other people.

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Common Words for Friend in Japanese

Here room some general words for friend in Japanese. Be careful to note the level that politeness or intimacy in each!

1. 友達 (Tomodachi) – Friend

The native 友達 (tomodachi) way friend or friends. The suffix -達 (dachi) is technically the Japanese many form, but you deserve to use tomodachi to describe either one friend or many. However, these days, tomodachi has actually become much more of a word an interpretation “one friend” instead of many. That is still no wrong to refer to numerous friends together your tomodachi though. The is even feasible to add another “たち” to the finish to do it clear the you space talking around many friends, like this: 友達たち (tomodachi-tachi).

Also, it encourage by 教育出版 (Kyoiku Shuppan) – a famous agency in Japan that publishes education materials) to write the 達 (tachi) in hiragana favor this: 友たち (tomotachi) if you desire to do it clear you are talking about more than one friend.

友達 (tomodachi) = friend; friends友たち (tomotachi) = friends

The indigenous tomodachi is much more casual than the previously mentioned yuujin. Tomodachi is not a slang word, however it additionally isn’t polite or honorific Japanese. However, you can use tomodachi in everyday conversations with human being you don’t understand (store workers, human being you simply meet, etc.).

男友達 (otoko-tomodachi): masculine friend(s)女友達 (onna-tomodachi): woman friend(s)飲み友達 (nomi-tomodachi): drink friend(s)遊び友達 (asobi-tomodachi): playmate(s)

You can also use 友達 to refer to anything that is her friend, even if they space not human (examples #3 and also 4 below).


1. My girlfriend Tom is coming over tonight. 今夜、友達のトムさんが遊びに来る。 (Konya, tomodachi no Tom-san ga asobi ni kuru.)

2. I went to the mall v my girlfriend yesterday. 昨日、友達と一緒にモールに行った。 (Kinou, tomodachi come issho ni mooru ni itta.)

3. I became friends v a neighbor’s dog “Koro”.僕は近所の犬のコロと友達になりました。(Boku wa kinjo no inu no Koro come tomodachi ni narimashita.)

4. Publications are mine friends.本が私の友達です。(Hon ga watashi no tomodachi desu.)

2. 友人 (Yuujin) – girlfriend (Polite)

As pointed out at the beginning of this article, 友人 (yuujin) is the basic and polite way to say friend in Japanese. Translated, it means familiar/friendly person. 

Yuujin is a “safe” means to to speak friend in Japanese because it’s polite—but no too polite. This method that you can use it with human being in your inner circle and not come throughout as cold or aloof. However, that is much more formal than tomodachi, i m sorry is why girlfriend would usage 友人 (yuujin) when talking to her superiors (your boss, customers, etc.)

Unlike tomodachi, yuujin can just be used to to express to human friends.


I obtained this hat from a friend. この帽子は友人からもらいました。(Kono boushi wa yuujin kara moraimashita.)

3. 親友 (Shinyuu) – ideal Friend

In Japanese, the word 親友 (shinyuu) is reserved for close friends or friends that you’ve recognized for a lengthy time. It derives from the exact same kanji as the adjective 親しい (shitashii), or intimate. You can also refer to a close friend as 親しい友達 (shitashii tomodachi) or 親しい友人 (shitashii yuujin) because that the very same effect. 

Shinyuu has actually the same nuance together the English expression best friend. You can make this word even stronger by speak 大親友 (daishinyuu), or very finest friend.


1. Taro has been my ideal friend since childhood.太郎は子供の頃からの親友です。 (Tarou wa kodomo no koro kara no shinyuu desu.)

2. I sent out a map to mine dear friend in the hospital.入院 した親しい友達にカードを送りました。 (Nyuuin shita shitashii tomodachi ni kaado o okurimashita.)

4. 仲間 ( Nakama ) – Companion, Comrade

A peril of learning Japanese only through manga or anime is the you can find misleading translations because that words like 仲間 (nakama). Many media platforms translate nakama right into “friend” or also “buddy.” In reality, the word has far less familiarity v its meaning.

In Japanese, nakama means comradery, however not have to friendship. Your nakama can be a fellow player on your basketball team. They are your nakama whether you are close friends or not. 

Of course, nakama does have a hopeful nuance. It would certainly not be correct to describe a teammate friend dislike together nakama. However, that is a typical mistake to refer to your bosom friend or childhood friend as nakama. Use this word for friend v care.

5. 味方 (Mikata) – Ally, Partner, Comrade

The native 味方 (mikata) is additionally used often in Japanese media. It additionally suffers from part translation issues, probably due to the fact that there is one more word v the same pronunciation. 見方 (mikata) is additionally a usual words, but an alert that the kanji is different. This 見方 (mikata) way “viewpoint” or “the way you look at something.”

味方 (mikata) top top the other hand method ally or partner in English. That is offered to define someone who shares the same team or circumstances that friend do. 

Like with nakama, you must avoid using words mikata for civilization you don’t yes, really like. It is quiet a much less endearing term than tomodachi or yuujin. 

味方 (mikata) can likewise be offered to talk about non-human things that room your girlfriend or allies. (example #3 below)


1. Yoko take it sides v me once the teacher obtained mad at me.先生に怒られたとき、洋子さんは私の味方になってくれた。(Sensei ni okorareta toki, Youko-san wa watashi no mikata ni natte kureta.

2. I assumed you were my ally, but you betrayed me.味方だと思ってたのに、裏切られた。 (Mikata dato omotteta noni, uragirareta.

3. I can hit a house run due to the fact that the wind to be on my side.風が味方してくれたので、ホームランが打てた。(Kaze ga mikata shite kureta node hoomuran ga uteta.)

Situational Words for Friend

Some words for friend in Japanese have the right to only be offered in certain situations or expert relationships. Here are some situation-specific ways to say friend.

6. 相棒 ( Aibou ) – Partner

相棒 (aibou) is a not really a usual word because that friend in Japanese, yet it is provided by some people—so long as you and that girlfriend share the same goal or purpose and also works towards it together. In details situations, aibou can also be offered to speak around a friend that is additionally your business partner. Detectives in Japanese tv series may likewise call each other aibou. This indigenous is a little bit friendlier than nakama but is in the very same subgenre the meaning.

If you have the right to read the kanji, you might be a small confused. The kanji is made up of 相 (ai, definition mutual or every other) and 棒 (bou, meaning stick or rod). What walk a stick need to do through being friends?

The origin of words aibou comes indigenous 2 civilization who brought a basket (called “kago”) that was offered to carry a person earlier in the olden work of Japan (possibly from prior to the Edo era, but it is no certain). The pair of basket carrier (called “kago no mono”) called each various other aibou. You deserve to read an ext about it here in Japanese: The definition of aibou (website in Japanese only).


My partner right here is a popular writer.うちの相棒はかなり有名な作家です。 (Uchi no aibou wa kanari yuumei na sakka desu.)

7. 同僚 (Douryou) – Colleague, Associate

If you space friends v a colleague or a close associate, 同僚 (douryou) would be a perfect word to use. 同 (dou) method “same” in Japanese and also is supplied in plenty of other terms. Since douryou indicates a similarity between you and your friend, you wouldn’t have the ability to use words for a girlfriend in a different workplace or career 보다 yourself.


Today, mine coworker and I visited a ramen shop for our having lunch break. 今日の昼休みに、同僚と一緒にラーメン屋さんへ行った。 (Kyou no hiruyasumi ni, douryou to issho ni raamen-ya san e itta.)

8. 同級生 ( Doukyuusei ) – Classmate, Peer

The word 同級生 (doukyuusei) is a means to say friend or peer in Japanese. That rooted in Japanese 先輩・後輩 (senpai/kouhai), or senior/junior culture. A doukyuusei is neither a senpai (senior) nor a kouhai (junior). They space someone that is appropriate on level with you, one of two people in period or in rank. Doukyuusei is most frequently used to describe a friend that is additionally a classmate in the exact same grade.


John and also I were classmates in elementary and middle school. ジョンさんとは小学校と中学校で同級生だった。(Jon-san towa shougakkou come chuugakkou de doukyuusei datta.)

Japanese Slang Words because that Friend

Like any type of other language, Japanese has slang words. Below are a couple of popular slang terms because that friend. Be sure not to usage them with your ceo or with your elders!

9. 友 ( Tomo ) – girlfriend (Casual)

You may recognize the kanji in words 友 (tomo). It’s the very same as the first character in tomodachi, and also the an interpretation is the same. Removing the suffix (-dachi) and also just saying “tomo is a much more casual means to speak friend in Japanese.

However, this is only as soon as you integrate 友 (tomo) with other words. 友 (tomo) by itself is rarely used in everyday conversations. The is largely for written items like poems, songs, or song lyrics. Combine it with other words transforms it into a common, conversational word. Some usual ones are:

10. ダチ ( Dachi ) – Pal, Buddy, Bro

This is the same rule similar to tomo but used to the second fifty percent of tomodachi. Although it’s constantly written in katakana, ダチ (dachi) is the very same 達 (dachi) in 友達 (tomodachi). 

This is a very casual Japanese slang word. The an older hatchet that could not be trendy in everyday conversation however is sure to display up in TV dramas or anime. Dachi is likewise used between friends as a hoax or an endearing tease. That is additionally masculine, so it is generally only used by men.

11. ツレ ( Tsure ) – Companion

ツレ (tsure) is a Japanese slang word for friend used throughout social events. That derives from the word 連れ (tsure), or to bring. The implicitly is the this friend is her “plus one”—it deserve to be romantic or platonic and also can it is in used in between husbands and also wives.

12. バディー ( Badii ) – Buddy, Compatriot, Partner

As that is a loan word, バディー (badii) is a really casual means to say partner or friend in Japanese. It no a mainstream slang indigenous anymore, however you have the right to still hear the in a standard detective movie or check out it in a manga.

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There room various methods to speak friend in Japanese, depending upon your connection with the friend or the company you uncover yourself in. If you’re in a pinch, the native yuujin and tomodachi are the most frequently used and also are it s okay to use in many situations.

What space some ways to say friend in her language? permit us know in the comments! thank you for reading this article on how to say friend in Japanese!


Erin Himeno

Erin hails from the east coastline of the joined States. She initially pertained to Japan to share her love that English and country cookin', yet ended up getting married and adopting two chubby cats. Erin doesn't mind; she enjoys her life in Japan and also writes about society shock, culture share, and the amazing chapters in between.