We were talking about our family over lunch and my Japanese colleague asked me how many children I have. I wanted to say I have a girl. How do I say “girl” in Japanese?


Answer by Professional Japanese Teacher
1. 女(おんな)の子(こ)
Onna no ko

2. 娘(むすめ)

The word 女(おんな) onna means “female”. To distinguish between an adult and child female, 女(おんな)の人(ひと) onna no hito (female person) is used for a woman; and 女(おんな)の子(こ) onna no ko (female child) is used for a girl.

If you wish to mean your girl as in “daughter”, you can use the word 娘(むすめ) musume. Your colleague’s daughter would not be called musume however.

She would be known as 娘(むすめ)さん musume san. This is the same idea as when we address other people by adding “~san” after their names to indicate politeness.