I searched examples for the verb "ageru - raise" and I found it written with two different kanji:


Mostly their meaning is "raise". I found them with the following examples:

棚に箱を上げる。Put a box on the shelves.
学校で生徒は手を挙げる。Put one's hands up
旗を揚げる。to raise a flag (a third kanji for ageru! :) )

I would like to ask if there are strict rules to use these kanji in certain cases just like in the examples, or I can use them in a transposed way?

  • 2
    See THIS POST for a good explanation on homophonic kanji distinction.
    – istrasci
    Commented Jan 24, 2013 at 15:23

1 Answer 1


My dictionary lists five uses:

  1. 上げる - moving something to a higher position / status

    荷物を棚に上げる Put the luggage on the shelf
    利益を上げる Raise profits
  2. 上げる - give or supply something

    歓声を上げる Give a cheer
    プレゼントを上げる Give a present
  3. 挙げる - indicate, or cause something to happen

    手を挙げる Raise your hand
    式を挙げる Hold a ceremony
  4. 揚げる - suspend in space, fry

    国旗を揚げる Raise the national flag
    てんぷらを揚げる Fry tempura
  5. あげる - do something for somebody

    本を貸してあげる Lend a book

To address your actual question: it depends on the meaning you want to convey. Obviously for "fry" you would only use 揚げる, which is a bit disconnected from the other meanings. The difference between 手を揚げる and 手を上げる is a bit more subtle: the latter might refer to the physical motion of raising your hand, the former to indicate you wished to speak. In the last case, the verb ending 〜てあげる is listed as all-hiragana, but I've seen 〜て上げる in the wild.

  • 4
    '手を揚げる'? pretty sure that was supposed to be '手を挙げる'
    – jkerian
    Commented Jan 25, 2013 at 3:38

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