Take the 2-minute tour ×
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. It's 100% free, no registration required.

According to A Guide to Remembering Japanese Characters, 森 (38) is woods and 林 (75) is forest.

But some material I've found online related to Japan seems to indicate 森 is the more correct Japanese word for forest.

Is the book correct or do native Japanese speakers use 森 for forest, and not 林?

Edit: To give a little more context I originally avoided in the question to avoid appearing commercial but now I see will help make answers more specific, one of these words is already used to brand a product. If it's the incorrect word I'll need to change the product name.

I hope that helps, and I apologize if being vague hampers you giving what you feel is an appropriate response.

share|improve this question

3 Answers 3

林 is usually used for "copse", and 森 for "forest".

share|improve this answer
2  
Nope. –  Ignacio Vazquez-Abrams Jun 8 '11 at 3:48
4  
I'd say "woods"... "copse" is an exceedingly rare word. –  Kef Schecter Jun 8 '11 at 6:42
2  
I used the word "grove" the other day for 林 –  makdad Jun 8 '11 at 12:06
2  
That would be a simple-yet-good answer if you changed it to "woods" or "grove". The word "copse" is just too rare and confusing. –  Boaz Yaniv Jun 8 '11 at 15:33
1  
I had never heard the word "copse" until I was studying the kanji. I'm not sure enough about the etymology to present this as it's own answer, but instead of thinking direct translation, I think it's fair to simply consider 森 the larger body of wooded area than 林. –  Questioner Aug 26 '11 at 6:46

It's going to depend on the type of place you're describing. In the case of 森、which in goo's dictionary leads to 森林:

樹木、特に高木が群生して大きな面積を占めている所。また、その植物群落

Loose translation: "A place where trees and shrubs, more specifically tall trees occupy a large area in mass"

Source: http://dictionary.goo.ne.jp/leaf/jn2/115966/m0u/

Where in the case of 林:

樹木がたくさん集まって生えている所

Source: http://dictionary.goo.ne.jp/leaf/jn2/179447/m0u/%E6%9E%97/

Loose Translation: "A place where trees and shrubs gather and grow"

share|improve this answer
    
Thank you. It sounds like I might need to write a follow-up question. –  Huperniketes Jun 8 '11 at 4:14

Put them together. 森林 (しんりん)

For example: アメリカ合衆国国立森林公園 American National Forest Park

This Japanese Wikipedia article will give you a huge list of examples using: 森, 林, 森林, and others like 梅林. But it seems like "nani nani no mori" is very commonly used. "Nani nani no hayashi" seems not to be used.

share|improve this answer
5  
森林 is used when you're talking about tree areas in general. 森 and 林 are more specific, with the former referring to denser groups of trees (i.e. forests), and 林 referring to "copse" as Ignacio notes. –  Rei Miyasaka Jun 8 '11 at 7:40

Your Answer

 
discard

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.