If you are a fan of anime or have read a manga (cartoon), it is very likely that you have heard the word Onii-chan. This expression of Japanese origin is highly popular within this culture. Will you join us to discover more about it? Ahead!

Onii-chan is a variant of the word Onii-san, and comes from Japan. Onii-chan is estimated to have first appeared in 2007 as a term used to give special respect to the older brother of the family or clan.

Definition of Onii-chan

Onii means older brother or head of the family, Onee is used to refer to sister. For his part, Chan is a diminutive that represents affection and admiration; and the –san variant is used on more respectful occasions. If we combine both words, the term Onii-chan arises.

However, it should be clarified that this word is not only used to address the older brother, it is also common among friends or members of the same clan to communicate with each other, expressing admiration and affection.

Those who receive this qualification are characterized by having very high moral values, and an attitude framed by honesty and respect for others.


  • Oni written with an i refers to a Japanese demon.
  • In 2008, a process of dissemination on the Internet began to make the meaning of this word known worldwide.
  • In 2015 Onii-san became one of the most used phrases for memes on the internet.

It means that

The importance of the term Onii-Chan lies in the representation of the eldest son in the family, within Japanese culture. Leading his clan and protecting his family, make him worthy of the nickname, Onii-chan.

Other meanings that may be of interest: