A mamasan refers to a female in a position of authority. It is usually the head of a brothel or adult massage parlor. The term originated from a combination of English and Japanese terms. The English term for mama is combined with the Japanese suffix -san. The suffix in Japanese is used to signify honor and command respect. When coined by US soldiers during the second World War, the term mamasan signifies a figure of authority although, ironically, not one of honor. Mamasan is also sometimes spelled as mama-san.