Does senpai mean crush In Japanese ? What does senpai mean in anime?

Does senpai mean crush In Japanese ? What does senpai mean in anime?

Does senpai mean crush In Japanese ? What does senpai mean in anime? | Japanese Language guide

The Japanese word Senpai isn’t only a frequently-heard term in anime or manga, but it has also fallen planted into English. The famous meme “Notice me senpai” has recently sparked its operation, so I decided to write a detailed blog post regarding what Senpai means in Japanese, anime, and English.

The Japanese word senpai (先輩) means “elderly,” “upperclassman,” or “tutor” in English and is used for people with an advanced social status either because of their age, experience, or skill. Juniors called kohai (後輩) use the moniker to address further elderly members anyhow of their age and gender.

Are you wondering if Senpai means crush? 

Do you want to know further about the meme “notice me senpai “? Or are you’re looking for its counterpart kohai (後輩)? Below I’ve all the answers for you. Please look at the other possible restatements for the Japanese word senpai (先輩) and learn what it means in anime and English.

What Does Senpai Mean in Japanese?

Senpai (先輩) is one of the standard honorific titles used in Japanese to address or relate to someone in a discussion politely. It shows that the person has a different experience, an advanced position, status, or age than you, but also indicates their part as a tutor, instructor, or chum for you and other inferiors aka kohai (後輩).

That’s why we generally used to relate to an aged or further elderly member of the same company, academy, club, association, or association ( source). While nonnatives, guests, guests, and elders don’t offer you backing, coaching, or mentorship, other polite honorifics similar to san (さん) or sama (様) are more common.

In utmost cases, your Senpai (先輩) will be someone aged, but your Senpai can also be youngish than you. In prevalent, if someone has entered the same academy, plant, club, or association before you, they’re your Senpai ( elderly), and you’re their kohai ( inferior). Indeed when you’re, in fact, an aged person.

Still, there’s also a concept called “Jinsei no Senpai” (人生の先輩), which means that everyone who’s aged than you is your Senpai in everyday life. So anyhow of you being the kohai ( inferior), if you’re older than your Senpai, they might call you Senpai, too ( spring).

So in Japan, you can call an individual senpai (先輩) when they

  • Have been a pupil, hand, or member for a longer time than you
  • Are aged than you (and hence have further life experience)
  • Are someone you look up to because of their outstanding chops

In addition, to handle them with respect and gratefulness, you’re also supposed to use grim speech, called Keigo (敬語), when chattering to them.

What Does Senpai Denote in Anime?

In anime as well as manga, Senpai (先輩) is used in the same way as it’s in diurnal Japanese and means “elderly” or “upperclassman.” Juniors called kohai (後輩) use it with aged or more educated characters at work or academy. Occasionally it also indicates that they see the symbol further than a friend.

What Does Senpai Denote in English?

The most common English restatements for the Japanese word senpai (先輩) are “elderly (at work or academy), “upperclassman, “and “tutor. “Still, it can also mean “superior,” “elder,” “aged graduate,” “ancestor,” or “old- timekeeper.” (please see online word books similar to Jisho or Wadoku for illustration).

Then’s a table showing all the possible English meanings and restatements of the Japanese word senpai (先輩, elderly). I’ve also added its counterparts kohai (後輩, inferior) and sensei (先生, schoolteacher) to illustrate the relationship and scale between them.

先生 Sensei Teacher, Instructor, Master
先輩 Senpai Senior (at work or school), superior, elder, older graduate, progenitor, old-timer.
後輩 Kohai Junior (at work, school, etc), younger people, younger student.


The Japanese word Senpai plants its way into the English language through anime and manga. Mostly the popular meme “Notice me senpai” and its other variations “Please notice me Senpai, “Senpai, why don’t you notice me? “I hope Senpai will see me, “etc.

The Meaning of “Awareness me Senpai.”

“Notice me senpai” and “I plan senpai will notice me” are memes incline by anime and manga temperament that are trying to get conceded by an upperclassman or an aged person they greatly respect. In English, when someone tries to get the attention of a celebrity or their secret crush.

In many academy-related stories and occasionally work-related bones, you’ll come across an anime or manga temperament which has a compress on their upperclassman or further elderly colleague. Generally, hopeless sweats try to get the person’s attention and make their Senpai fall in love with them.

This plot is the origin of the popular meme and has sparked the operation of the Japanese word senpai in the English language. Currently, it’s still most generally used in this environment and reference to anime and manga.

Does Senpai Mean Crush?

The Japanese word senpai (先輩) means “elderly” or “upperclassman,” but it can also use for people you look up to or greatly respect. In anime and the English language, to relate to someone you want to be a musketeer or with whom you want to be further than just musketeers.

So while generally speaking, the word Senpai (先輩) doesn’t mean “crush” in Japanese, it can indicate that you have a personal interest in someone. It is extra so the case in anime than in real life, still.

In Japanese, it’s relatively quotidian to use the word Senpai for people you look up to, either because of their work/ life knowledge or chops. Most of the time, it just means that the inscribed person is older than you or started working at the same factory or going to the same academy before you.

Can You Call Your Swain Senpai?

Whenever your swain is older, you or a pupil in an Avant grade, he’s your elderly and, thus, your Senpai. Still, the term senpai is principally reticent for people you have to address at an academy or work in a regardful manner. It’s more applicable to call your mate by their name.

How to Utilize the Word Senpai in Japan

There are two correct ways to use Senpai (先輩) in Japanese. The first one is to add the epithet after a person’s first or last name, and the other way is to homily someone or relate to them just by calling them Senpai.

For illustration, if the name of your Senpai is Takumi Usui. You can moreover call him “ Takumi-senpai” or “ Usui-senpai” or just “ senpai “. In anime, the first two feel more familiar, mainly when the character addresses or addresses the person directly.

Still, when I talk to my three scholars who still attend the high- academy, they frequently brief me that they ingest Ramen with their Senpai ( elderly) or went to see the event of their kohai ( inferior). They generally no-way mention their names.

First name Tatsuya-senpai


(my senior) Tatsuya


(my senior) Lisa
Last name Ito-senpai


(my senior) Mrs Ito


(my senior) Mr Smith
No name senpai


(my senior)

Senpai or Sempai, Whichever is Correct?

The correct curbing of the Japanese word senpai (先輩) is せんぱい (se-n- dad-i). Still, when pronounced, it sounds more like “sempai” since the word flows more fluently when you shift the “n” sound to an “m.” That’s why in English, you’ll also find it generally but inaptly transcribed as “sempai.”

The misspelling also becomes apparent if you look at the Japanese ABC. Except for “n,” all consonants are generally followed by a vowel. So we only have the sounds mama (ま), mi (み), mu (む), me (め), and mo (も) and n (ん), but no autonomous “m.”

The Fronting of Senpai is “Kohai”

The appellation kohai (後輩, こうはい) is used in Japanese when you relate to someone who’s youngish than you or who has to begin working at the same factory or going to the same academy latterly than you. It means “inferior” or “underclassman” and is the contrary of Senpai (先輩, せんぱい), the Japanese word for “elderly.”