My dearest friend / My old friend


New Member

Could you please help me with the following situation?
  1. two male old men (in their late seventies)
  2. who have been friends since they were young
  3. they show a lot of respect to each other
  4. they have undergone hard circumstances together (e.g. a war, an earthquake, a genocide...)
  5. one of them is Japanese, the other is not
How would the Japanese man say to his friend (who is not Japanese): "my old friend" or "my dearest friend"?

Would any of these be appropriate?: "kojin-san"; "Kyūyū", "mukashi ka-ra no tomo-tachi", or "mukashinaji mi na"

Thank you very much for your help!
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  • Inouez

    Senior Member
    Japanese - Japan
    Actually, there is no equivalent "my old friend" and my dearest friend in Japanese.
    To be exact, for us Japanese, the literal meaning of "my old friend" or "my dearest friend" does not exist.

    If a Japanese here your "kojin-san", this word is not used in Japanese. I understand your meaning, "kojin-san" suggest like "ko means old" and "jin" means people, but if native Japanese here "kojin" then it means "故人=a dead person" or "個人= a individual"

    Kyuyu, mukashi kara no tomo-dachi, not tachi, mukashinajimi are all makes sense, but you don't use to that alleged person in face to face.
    Kyuyu, mukashi kara no tomo-dachi, mukashinajimi is all 3rd person narattive.

    Normally, we Japanese does not add adjective to friend if you use this word to that person in face to face meeting.

    So, for us Japanese, English way of speaking and attaching adjective to the word " friend" to that paticular person in face to face conversation is very much weird.

    Offcourse in 3rd person narrative, it is appropriate.



    Senior Member
    Furuki-yoki-tomo (古き良き友)might be a candidate, although they were written in old Japanese grammar.
    It may sound lofty, and may be obsolete though.

    Waga-yoki-tomo (我が良き友)might be another lofty and might-be-obsolete expression.



    New Member
    Very much appreciated! Arigatō!

    The man speaking (the one who is Japanese) is old-fashioned, and loves old traditions. Also, he considers his interlocutor like a "guide", or a "master". That is, a slightly higher rank or influence than him in the group they both belonged to (they both were part of a scientific group).

    Would it sound awkward if he called him: Senpai (先輩)?

    Many thanks, again!

    PS: I promise you both will be credited. This is for a novel.