In this sentence from 龍が如く極, localized title 'Yakuza Kiwami', (spoilers)

Nishikiyama says 堂島組長殺ったのは…この俺だ!

where 殺った is pronounced as やった. I checked a kanji dictionary but didn't see a kunyomi of や(る) listed for 殺. Is writing やる as 殺る a slang usage? What's the difference in nuance between saying 殺した vs 殺った?

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    It is not official reading, but definitions of やる list this meaning with possible spelling 殺る, e.g. here and here. The latter dictionary has it marked as 俗語 = colloquial and 婉曲 = euphemistic.
    – Arfrever
    Commented Feb 9 at 23:28
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    Compare the basic "to do" meaning of やる with the English expression "to do (someone in) → to kill someone". Seems like a similar kind of metaphoric usage. Commented Feb 9 at 23:34

1 Answer 1


Yes, 殺る is a slangy usage of kanji used only when やる means "to kill". It's nonstandard, but common enough in manga and light novels.

殺す【ころす】 is a plain verb meaning "kill". 殺る【やる】 is a kind of euphemistic expression used by gangs and such to avoid directly mentioning "kill". English-speaking gangs may use "take care of [someone]" in a similar situation.


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