Watashi? Ore? The 7 ways to say “I” or “me” in Japanese

Have you ever got confused when watching anime? Who are boku, watashi, and ore? When you begin digging deeper into the language, you will find that there is a variety of terms to say “I” or “me”, according to social status, gender, and the situation. Hopefully, this list will help you with your own Japanese adventures.



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“Watashi” is the standard, gender-neutral way to say “I.” You will always find it on Japanese language textbooks and it is the best choice for all beginners. However, it is often seen as feminine, especially if you are a conversation with a group of men. In this case, you may use the term “ore.”



If you are looking for a term that is even more formal and polite, choose “watakushi” instead. It can be used in business settings or with respected elders, and often used by adults in the workplaces only. If you try using it in casual settings, it may be awkward as the only time you may hear it is probably from older women or noble characters in anime.



This is an informal feminine form of “watashi”, and it adds some cuteness to your personality. Although the kanji of “watashi” and “Atashi” are the same, it is most commonly written in hiragana.



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“Ore” is one of the most common terms used by men during an informal conversation. It can actually convey a sense of intimacy and “hard-masculinity.”



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This term is used primarily by teens and younger men, but some young or boyish girls use it too. “Boku” literally means manservant, so it is more likely to be a humble expression of yourself in a casual situation.



“Jibun” is a gender-neutral term seeing oneself from second personnel, and often adopted by traditional military personnel or athlete.



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If you have watched any Japanese drama about the military or the anime Keroro, you will probably remember the characters saying “wareware.” The term “wareware” is the plural form of “ware.” It is a formal self-proclaimed term used for speech, meeting or discussion


There is more way to say “I” and “me” in different occasion and different dialects. Practice more and soon you will be able to blend in.