What is Oniichan, Otouto and Kyoudai? Explained

Everyone, it is time to learn another lesson in otaku culture! 

So, Take a seat, get out your notebooks, and start to pay attention. 


MOW Recently trying to answer all your existential questions about anime. 

Sometimes, you may hear Japanese words that make no sense. 

You will want to understand their meanings the more you hear them. 

That “Oniichaaaaan!” is a case in point. We usually listen to female characters speak.

First things first! 

Remember that, Japanese society is hierarchical. Because Japan is a popular nation, it keeps an eye on its traditions. 

Both tradition and hierarchy are protected in the sacred space of the family house. 

It is essential that the Japanese have a male successor.

He will be responsible for the execution of the family’s goals, the direction of the household and the care of his parents when he retires. 

It is important to nurture and educate the male offspring. Even if there are more than one boy in a family, there will be a hierarchy. 

This is why we often hear the funny and strange names that each brother gets. 

This hierarchy also implies that each family member has different expectations about their role. 

You might be interested in learning more about the three terms brothers are used to describe their roles within the family. 

Let’s get started!

What is Onii-chan Mean?


Oniichan is actually a variant on the word “Oniisan”. In Japanese, [Xiong] the first part is pronounced “O Nii” or “Ani”. 

The meaning of the Kanji is “older brother” (or “head of a region “…).

This is a good way of reminding us that the older brother will become the head. 

This means that the big brother is expected to be the “face” of the clan. He will need to have many virtues and set an example for his sisters and brothers. 

In ideal circumstances, he would also protect the young ones. 

However, the kanji could also refer to “young man” and “skilled craftsman”. 

These requirements can sometimes be too much for the big bro, so he decides to keep a distance from his smaller siblings.

However, this does not mean he doesn’t care about them. The big brother needs his space.

We are referring to the familiar context so… what happens if we add -san and –chan

If you know in Japanese, –san can be used in more respectful situations. 

However, –chan expresses affection and closeness to a person. 

Onii-chan can be used to refer to your older brother if you love him deeply or are simply close to him.

What is Otouto Mean?


We only have one pronunciation of “otouto” in the context of the term, and that is [Di] Its meaning is “younger brother” in the family context. The ideogram may also mean “pupil”, “apprentice” or both. 

This is why you’ll also see this kanji when discussing school.

Otouto are often the most adorable characters in anime! 

Although the Onii-chan may be a teaser and a bit mean due to his age and size, otouto are usually sweet and innocent. 

Let’s not forget about the legendary small brothers Alphonse Elric of Fullmetal Alchemist and Takeru Takaishi, Digimon Adventure. 

They are cool, and you know it! 

However, there is also the possibility of having a small brother in anime who is too dependent on older people and bratty or insecure. Sometimes, the small brother can become violent. 

Guess who is going to have to deal with him the most often? 

Poor old sister or brother (je, je), as will be shown in the next example.

What is Kyodai Mean?


This Japanese word is [Xiong Di ]. You can probably guess the meaning. 

It is the term for brothers. 

Sometimes Kyodai is used with the political family. 

Only if you can get along with your sister’s husband.

“Kyodai”, which also means “mate” and “friend”, is another meaning of the word. Japanese use the expression “bro” occasionally, but that’s just how it works. 

Remember that Kyodai can only be used for male offspring. Other words are available for girls, but this is another topic.

There you have it! 

You now have three more Japanese words to add to your vocabulary. 

Keep in mind that this is an ancient language with an ancient writing system, which was inherited from China. 

Many Japanese terms have stories. It’s interesting to find a few. 

This will help us understand anime better.

It is now time to ask questions. 

What other animes are you interested in about brothers? 

We are open to your suggestions and comments. 

We hope to see you soon!

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About the Author

Garima Singh

Moshi Moshi everyone! I'm Garima, an anime enthusiast with a passion for sharing my love of anime with others. I've watched over 1000 anime, and I'm always on the lookout for new and exciting shows to watch.

I love everything about anime, from the stories and characters to the animation and music. I'm also a big fan of anime culture, and I love to learn about Japanese culture and history through anime.

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