Japanese Culture vol.1: Senpai and Kouhai

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Oct 6, 2012 23:34 Japanese Culture
We Japanese have concepts of Senpai and Kouhai. Senpai means a person who is elder than you or an upper-class student, and Kouhai means that a person that is younger than you or an lower-class student. These concepts are very important in Japanese society. We have to use Keigo, honorific language in Japanese when we talk with Senpai. However, sometimes we face a difficult situation. Someone could be elder than me even if he is an lower-class student. In this case, should I use Keigo to him? To tell the truth, what I can say is that it depends on atmosphere between me and him. there is no common sense. How difficult Japanese is!