Japanese Language Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for students, teachers, and linguists wanting to discuss the finer points of the Japanese language. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

What is the difference between 腰掛ける and 座る?

share|improve this question

This is a nice cultural question.

「[座]{すわ}る」 originally means "to sit on the floor or ground".

「[腰掛]{こしか}ける」 means "to sit on a chair or something that has a certain height".

Nowadays, it is perfectly OK to use 座る when sitting on a chair, too, as in 「イスに座る = "to sit on a chair"」.

Older people still use the word (noun) 「腰かけ」 instead of 「イス」 to refer to a chair as well.

For the advanced learner, 腰掛 can also mean "temporary employment" in informal speech --- "a chair to sit on for a few months" kinda thing.

share|improve this answer
Katakana is usually used for 椅子? – 3 to 5 business days Aug 10 '14 at 13:22
@3to5businessdays The kanji 椅子 are pretty common, but surprisingly 椅 wasn't included on the 常用漢字表 until the 2010 revision, so before that I think the official recommendation was to avoid the kanji. – snailplane Aug 13 '14 at 10:11
Even so, wouldn't it be written in hiragana instead? I did notice that katakana is prevalent in plant names, animal names, and food though. – 3 to 5 business days Aug 13 '14 at 13:16
Using katakana as a replacement for certain diffult kanji words is very common, unless we are writing something very serious. – naruto Aug 14 '14 at 7:38

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.