What is the meaning of shusshin (出身) in Japanese?

This article will give you all of the knowledge you need on the Japanese word shusshin, including its Japanese definition and translation, example sentences, related expressions and more!

What does shusshin mean?

Shusshin means place of origin or homeland in Japanese. It’s an important word that is used to talk about where people come from.

Shusshin wa doko desu ka?
Where are you from?

Note that, in Japanese, the word for “you” is not always necessary. Let’s look at the different ways to answer this question below.

shusshin means place of origin or hometown in Japanese

As a foreigner, you can simply state your country of origin + no-shusshin + desu.

Again, the word for “I” is optional.

Igirisu no shusshin desu.
I’m from England.

Japanese people will typically respond with their hometown or home prefecture.

Watashi wa oosaka no shusshin desu.
I’m from Osaka.

Boku wa miyagi ken no shusshin desu.
I’m from Miyagi Prefecture.

People usually ask this question to someone they just met, so you will often hear a more polite version:

Goshusshin wa dochira desu ka?
Where are you from? (polite)

Note the go- in front of shusshin, which is an honorific prefix. The difference between shusshin and go-shusshin is basically just one of politeness.

Doko (where) also becomes dochira in more formal Japanese.

the meaning of shusshin is place of origin or hometown in Japanese

Does shusshin mean your birthplace or where you grew up?

Shusshin generally refers to where you grew up or spent the most time. For some people, this could be the same place as where they were born, but this is of course not always the case.

Rondon de umareta kedo, sodatta no wa baaminguhamu.
I was born in London, but grew up in Birmingham.

Other uses of shusshin

Japanese people also use shusshin to refer to the school someone graduated from. This is especially true if the school a famous one.

Kanojo wa toukyou daigaku shusshin desu.
She is a graduate of Tokyo University.

In business settings, shusshin is sometimes used to talk about where someone started their career or spent their formative years training.

Kare wa panasonikku shusshin no yuushuu na enjinia desu.
He is a talented engineer who came here from Panasonic.

More casual ways to ask where someone is from

Japanese students and young people often drop the formalities to others close to their own age. You might therefore hear either of these questions instead:

Doko shusshin?
Where are you from?

Doko kara kita no?
Where are you from?

To answer informally, you can just state your country or hometown without the desu.