CultureEssayEtymologyJapanese traditionKanjiUncorrected

Oku-san (奥さん)

  • Japanese people often refers to other’s wife as “oku-san” (奥さん).


    The literal meaning of “oku” (奥) is a deep inside of something, or a place that is far from the entrance.

    Because of this, it has come to mean a room far from the entrance, furthermore, a person (woman) living there.

    “San” of “oku-san” is a polite suffix that is often added to a person’s name.

    If you want to express it more polite, you can say “oku-sama” (奥様) by adding “sama” (様) instead of “san.”

    This word comes from the fact that people considered that women should be in a room that is far from the entrance.

    However, note that “oku” (奥) is not a word that put women down.

    In fact, the adjective “okuyukashii” (奥ゆかしい), which uses “oku,” is a praise term for almost all Japanese women.

    Original sentence