Definitions for senpai
This page provides all possible meanings and translations of the word senpai
Senior member of a group in Japanese arts; mentor.
Senpai and kōhai
Senpai and kōhai are terms applied to the mentor system in wide use in Japanese culture; often found at all levels of education, in sports clubs, businesses, and informal or social organizations. The relationship is an essential element of Japanese seniority-based status relationships, similar to the way that family and other relationships are decided based on age, in which even twins may be divided into elder and younger siblings. The senpai is roughly equivalent to the Western concept of a mentor, while kōhai is roughly equivalent to protégé, though they do not imply as strong a relationship as these words mean in the West. More simply, these may be translated as senior and junior, or as an elder compared with someone younger in the family/company/organization; the terms are used more widely than a true mentor/protégé in the West and are applied to all members of one group that are senior to all the members of another group. There is usually no average separation in age between a senpai and his or her kōhai. A junior student will often refer to senior students as "senpai", and alumni will often refer to alumni from earlier classes as "senpai". This holds true particularly if events bring them together later on, such as joining the same company, serving on a board together, or simply being in a club or parent's organization at the same time.
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