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I have some questions about the difference between 係 and 担当.

  1. Do these words have the same meaning? Basically, can they be used interchangeably as "the person/group in charge of something"?

  2. I know that there can be more than one 係 in a department (for example, when sending an email, it seems like 経理係 御中 is acceptable), but can there be more than one 担当? Or does 担当 only point to one person within a department? On a similar note, if you don't know who the person in charge is, should you write ~担当 御中 or ~担当者 様?


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up vote 7 down vote accepted

Basically, yes they have the same meaning, but normally the company decides which word they use in each case, and a customer or business partner shouldn't use the words interchangeably. If they call themselves as "XX担当" then you call them that way, too.

担当 is treated as a person (even if there were more than one person in charge), so you use 様, not 御中.

[係]{かかり} is treated as a group, so you use [御中]{おんちゅう}, not 様.

If you don't know the name of the person in charge:

XX係 + 御中 (eg 人事部 人事課 採用係御中)
XXご担当者 + 様 (eg 人事部 人事課 採用ご担当者様 )

If you know the name of the person in charge (=YY):

XX係 + YY様 (eg 人事部 人事課 採用係 山田様)
XX担当 + YY様 (eg 人事部 人事課 採用担当 山田様)

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