Okan (おかん) & Oton (おとん) Fun! Japan Words vol.163



Okan and Oton are slang terms in Japanese that refer to one’s mom and dad used in some areas, mostly western parts, of Japan. Okan means mother, while Oton means father.

These slang terms are, however, very casual and mostly used amongst close friends. It is not common and can come off as rude if used in improper settings. If there are doubts about whether or not it is appropriate, it is safer to avoid using it.

Instead of Okan and Oton, the more common phrases used to refer to one’s own parents include “Haha” for mother, and “Chichi” for father. When referring to other people’s parents, you would use “Okaasan” for mother, and “Otousan” for father. This difference in words used for one’s own parents and another person’s parents is critical for being polite and showing proper manners.

While it is acceptable to use Okaasan or Otousan to refer to one’s own parents when talking to very close friends, it can be very rude to use it with strangers.

Let’s remember the following useful sentences before going to Japan!


●Uchi no okan ga tsukuru ryouri wa sugoku oishii desuyo.
> My mother’s cooking is extremely delicious.

Uchi no oton wa iroiro ni taishite、kibishiidesu.
> My father is very strict with regards to many things.


Now all that’s left is to go out there and try using them in Japan!

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