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sensei Teacher; Zen teacher. Sensei (Sensei) is a Japanese title used to refer to or address teachers, and other authority figures. It is also used to show respect to someone who has achieved a certain level of mastery in an art form or some other skill: accomplished novelists, musicians, and artists are addressed with the title in this way; for example, Japanese manga fans refer to manga artist Rumiko Takahashi as "Takahashi-sensei." Sensei is also one of the common Japanese martial arts titles.

The Japanese expression sensei derives from but is not semantically identical to the Chinese word xiansheng, which is written with the same characters. Xiansheng is a courtesy title for a man of respected stature; its English equivalent is gentleman. It can also be attached to a man's name to mean "Mr." Prior to the development of the modern vernacular, Xiansheng was used to address teachers of both genders; however, this has fallen out of widespread usage, except in some southern Chinese dialects such as Hokkien where it still has the meaning of "teacher" or "doctor". In Japanese, sensei is used to address people of both genders.


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