There’s something very intimate about calling people by their first names or nicknames in Japan.
Perhaps this is more so in Japan, where the age difference puts so many restrictions on addressing others and the language we use. In fact, as an adult, I rarely get called by my first name or use the tameguchi (タメ口（ぐち）) form (informal speech in Japanese) unless I’m with my old friends from school.
I might still use tameguchi with people of the same age, but I find it hard to get another step closer and call them by their first names.
There’s something very intimate about calling people by their first names or nicknames in Japan because Japanese people use various honorific titles when addressing others. Still, it’s because of this system that addressing someone by their nickname or first name becomes a sign of a close relationship.
So let’s look at how Japanese people address others in different stages of life, from elementary school to when they are out of school.