|Kanji for June 2, 2005 - First Person Pronoun Series #1
||[Jun. 2nd, 2005|01:16 pm]
Kanji of the Day
シ わたくし わたし*
SHI; watakushi; watashi*
私立 = shiritsu - private (as in the opposite of 'public')
私学 = shigaku - private college/university (short for 私立学校)
私事 = shiji/watakushigoto - personal affairs
Not to be confused with:
利 = RI, ki(ku) - advantage, benefit
和 = WA - peace, harmony; Japan
If you've studied Chinese, you're probably used to 我 being used for "I." There are many, many, many, many different first-person pronouns in Japanese. I'll be going over the most common ones over the next few entries (so please don't try to overload people with different pronoun choices in the comments!), and so I figured I'd start with the big and the basic: watashi.
Any beginning Japanese textbook will list watashi for "I," with the exception of some older books which might list it as watakushi. The latter is the 'official' kun-yomi of the character, though this pronunciation is largely outdated, and rarely used in common speech today outside of some compounds (like watakushigoto above) or if you're trying to be exceedingly formal.
For the most part, watashi is somewhat formal-sounding, but not overly stiff. It's used more by women than by men, but if you're a traveling gaijin in Japan, you don't need to feel gender conscious about using it. Beginners of the language are strongly advised to stick with watashi for their first-person pronoun, regardless of gender, and especially regardless of what they may have leared of other common pronouns through anime and the like.