child (Japanese honorifics)

Like a number of other East Asian languages, Japanese uses a complex system of honorifics, i.e. a system where a number of different levels of politeness are expressed in language via words, word forms or grammatical constructs. These can range from addressing someone or referring to someone with contempt (very informal) to expressing the highest level of reference (as used in addressing or referring to God) or any number of levels in-between.

One way to do this is through the usage of appropriate suffix title referred to as keishō (敬称) as shown here in the widely-used Japanese Shinkaiyaku (新改訳) Bible of 2017 by either using -san or –sama with the latter being the more formal title.

In these verses, the Hebrew that is translated as “child” or “son” in English is translated in the Shinkaiyaku Bible as o-ko-san (お子さん), combining the word for “child” (ko) and the suffix title –san.

(Source: S. E. Doi, see also S. E. Doi in Journal of Translation, 18/2022, p. 37ff. )

See also daughter (Japanese honorifics), child / children (Japanese honorifics), and son (Japanese honorifics).