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I've learned that hero could be translated as:

  • ヒーロー
  • えいゆう
  • ゆうしゃ
  • けっし

Aside from ヒーロー (which seems just to be roumaji version of hero), is there any usage difference among them?

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けえし does not look like a Japanese word (it is rare to have え after an -e letter), and it is probably a typo for something ([剣士]{けんし}?). –  Tsuyoshi Ito Jul 21 '12 at 12:40
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Does ヒーロー get used for heroines (female heroes)? –  Andrew Grimm Jul 21 '12 at 12:45
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There is a Japanese word けっし (決死), but it does not refer to a person at all…. –  Tsuyoshi Ito Jul 21 '12 at 12:54
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@TsuyoshiIto 傑士 I believe is the kanji for it. –  dotnetN00b Jul 21 '12 at 13:20
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@dotnetN00b The word 傑士 is rare enough that neither TsuyoshiIto nor I could come up with in mind. –  sawa Jul 21 '12 at 14:03
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2 Answers

up vote 5 down vote accepted

英雄 is most normally used for heros whose status as such is established. ヒーロー implies an American hero. For example, Beethoven's third symphony is called 英雄 in Japanese, but no one would call it ヒーロー. 勇者 means someone who is brave, and is not the same as hero. 傑士 is not normally used.

Japanese hero shows are called 戦隊もの, as it comes from the early hero shows like 秘密戦隊ゴレンジャー, 電子戦隊デンジマン, 太陽戦隊サンバルカン.

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勇者{ゆうしゃ} is never used to mean hero? –  dotnetN00b Jul 22 '12 at 3:42
    
@dotnetN00b It can be used as long as that hero is brave as well. –  sawa Jul 22 '12 at 5:08
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You can do a combination with two of them using one as an ateji of another:

label statue

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I didn't downvote you. Mainly, because I thought you accidentally posted in the thread. –  dotnetN00b Jul 21 '12 at 14:21
    
This is just a joke, as well as telling in an ironically way that you cannot always differentiate different words. One may not be able to read the message if they are not smart enough. I do not care if someone downvotes, but I can guess that whomever did it probably cannot even read the kanji in 英雄. –  sawa Jul 21 '12 at 14:27
    
@sawa I thought you guys with all that rep get special moderator tools that let you look under the hood to see things like who downvoted. –  Louis Jul 21 '12 at 15:16
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@Louis: Votes are anonymous. –  Zhen Lin Jul 21 '12 at 15:26
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Ah, I often see the ateji combination of "[英雄]{ヒーロー}" (though I've never seen "[ヒーロー]{えいゆう}" or "[ヒーロー]{英雄}". ^o^) –  Chocolate Jul 22 '12 at 1:42
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