Keywords: Culture & History

Sensei (先生) is a polite Japanese name suffix used to address:

  • a teacher, regardless of relation to the speaker,
  • someone strong enough to be a teacher and/or
  • an older player.


  • In Hikaru no Go, an older player comes into the club to find 11-year old Akira Toya, a kid aspiring to become a professional go player. The man asks if Akira Sensei is present. Mr. Kitajima, a player at a go salon, tells Harumi Ichikawa to call Akira "Sensei". Akira later states that he would feel awkward if Ms. Ichikawa called him "Sensei".
  • Imaginary amateur player Dan studies Honinbo Shuei's games. After learning many things he begins to address Shuei as one of his go teachers, or senseis.

Note on Chinese

In the Chinese language, 先生 (xiān sheng) is most commonly used to mean "Mister", i.e., 李先生 simply means Mr. Li. However, but more rarely, 先生 can also take on any of the Japanese meanings listed above.

Typical Chinese terms for "teacher" include 老师 and 教师.

See Also

Sensei last edited by Unkx80 on August 20, 2023 - 18:06
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