Culture of Japan
New Year (Shohgatsu)
Doll's Festival (Girl's Day)
Children's Day
Star Festival (Tanabata)
Moon Viewing (Tsukimi)
Japanese Christmas
(St. Valentine's Day)
Name of Month
Japanese letters
Write your name in Japanese
Write your name in Kanji
Write your name in Japanese
Find kanji for your name.
Japanese Alphabet
(Iroha Uta)
Japanese Numbers
How many I's do you have?
How many You's are you?
How do you call your wife?
How do you call
How do you call
brother and sister?
How Japanese laugh?
Why Japan is Japan?
How do you call your brother and sister?

  In Japanese language, elder brother is "ani". The younger brother is "otohto". Likewise, elder sister is "ane" and the younger sister is "imohto". Japanese language has independent word (also letter) for elder brother, younger brother, elder sister and younger sister. To know this difference at the beginning of learning english is one of the greatest culture shock for japanese. My dictionary says the word elder is a synonym of old used only for the relation of brothers and sisters and so taught in schools. And I hear it rarely used in USA.
  How are they doing in other country? The Google Translation Service gives a good tool for knowing it. But it require special fonts be installed for several of the language (japanese is also one of it) . Here I collected the translation of , , , in the following table with the help of Google translation and some other translation sites including InterTran, Free Online Translator, and SYSTRAN.
tei, de
di di
mei mei
-- of someone
Ainu are thought the original native japanese, now live only in Hokkaido the northest Japan. The language has postpositions that correspond to english prepositions.
irwak, irwakih (irwak of (someone))
sa    matak (by elder sister))
matapa (by elder brother)
saha  matakihi (by elder sister>
matapaha (by elder brother)
KoreanYounger brother and younger sister are both called dong-seng. They are distinguished by adding "nam" (male) and "yuh" (female)
Hyong (by younger brother)
oppa (by younger sister)
nam-dongsengnuna (by younger brother)
onni (by younger sister)
ThaiElder brother and elder sister are both "pii". Younger brother and younger sister are both noon. They are distinguished by adding "chai" (male) and "sao" (female)
pii chainoon chaipii saonoon sao
LaoYounger brother and younger sister are both noon. They are distiguished by adding "saai" (male) and "saao" (female)
aainoon saaiuainoon saao
VietnameseYounger brother and younger sister are both "em". They are distinguished by "chaai" (male) and "gaai" (female).
ainem chaichiiem gaai
adik (saudara)
saudara means rather 'you' to youngers used to call directly to youngers
adik (saudara) laki-lakiadik (saudara) perempuan
kapatid na lalakikapatid na babae
Turkishbüyük erkek kardesbizimçocug~umuzbüyük kizkardesdaha genç kiz
elder brother
older brother
younger brotherelder sister
older sister
younger sister
älter Bruderyüngerer Bruderälter Schwesteryüngerer Schwester
oudere broerjongere broeroudere zusterjongere zuster
aeldre brorlillebroraeldre søsteryngre søster
eldre broryngre broreldre søsteryngre Søster
älder broryngre brorälder systerlillasyster
vanhempi velinuorempi velivanhempi sisarnuorempi sisko
frère aîné
grand frère
frère cadet
petit frère
soeur aîné
grande soeur
soeur cadette
petite soeur
fratellofratello minoresorellasorella minore
fratele mai în vârstãfrateleSorã mai în vârstãSorã mai tineri
hermano mayorhermano menorhermana mayorhermana menor
irmao mais velhoirmao mais novoirma mais velhairma mais nova
  The pronunciation of Japanese has some variation. The upper row and middle row shows the original words for traditional japanese so-called "kun-yomi". The "nii" and "nee" in the middle row are probably the extension of infant language. The bottom row shows the chinese-wise pronunciation so-called "on-yomi" (Here also there are some variations. In ancient China, the pronunciation for the same letter was different by region. The japanese china-wise pronunciation differs according to the era when the chinese letter introduced and the region of close contact with Japan.
  The resemblance of letters in japanese and chinese is natural. Chinese use two same letters when spoken orally. Chinese letters (kanji) are ideogram and have basically one-syllable pronunciaion in China. Chinese language has four tone of pronunciation for every vowel but it is difficult to distinguish the meaning from one syllable words. This may be the explanation why they use double words in spoken language. Similarly, chinese words are often consisted of two letters of almost the same meaning thus making the meaning clear.
  Ainu people are thought to have lived in all over the japanese land in very ancient days. Nowadays they are absorbed modern japanese and pure bloods are thought less than thirty thousands. Their language has apparently distinction about brother and sister and has a peculiar structure.
  Korean language does not have the distinction of younger brother and younger sister and they are distinguished adding the word meaning male or female. But I think japanese "otohto" and "imohto" can be separatedinto "oto" (male) and "hto", "imo" (female) and "hto". The structure of Korean and Japanese languages might be of similar stucture.
  The southeastern countries can be divided into two groups. The Asian continent group including Korean, Thai, Lao, Vietnamese do not have the distinction of younger brother and younger sister. The island group (though Malaysia is in a peninsula can be thought half island. In jpanese language the word for peninsula is "hantoh" meaning "half island") do not have independent word even for brother and sister.
  As to Turkish, the accuracy of the translation is doubtful but it seems it has independent words for elder brother and sister, younger brother and sister.
  Seeing European countries, it is evident that they have the same structure though there can be seen English group (English, Dutch, German, Denmark, Norwegian and Sedish), Latin group (Italian, French, Romanian) and Iberaian group (Portuguese, Spanish). Portuguese and Spanish look fairly different in wording but hermano and irmao are not so different in pronunciation and menor of Spanish seems to be the compound of mais novo in Portuguese. Romania is really a Roman country seeing the similarity of the language to Italian. Finnish is a little different as identified as Ural language group in which Estonian and Hungarian can be counted. But as a whole they have all the same structure. As to Russian, the letter A corresponds to B in english, to R and R to S. Thus qp correspond Brat and up to Sestra and the similarity to enlish group are distinct.
  Finnish is thought a Ural language group together with Estonian and Hungarian and the The word for brother seems not similar to the ones of english group. But the structure is the same.
  French and Italian are very similar. Romanian is a Roman country by the name and very similar to Italian. Spanish and Portuguese seem considerably different seeing th wording but I suppose the pronunciations are not so different.
  As to Arabic, I am not sure but found at a site or Arabic in Japanese. The words for brother, sister, older and younger are my guess. Probably is the "older" and is the "younger" and the structure is the same as english group.