I have seen and been taught many words meaning "feeling", but what is the difference between the words, and where are they used?

I have done a bit of research myself and have come up with these meanings. Are they correct? Could someone please give a more detailed explanation?

  • 具合 - health related
  • 気分 - mood
  • 気持ち - inner/emotional feeling
  • 感じ - outside/perceived feeling
  • 感覚 - ?
  • 感情 - ?
  • 意識 - ?
  • 情 - ?
  • 情意 - ?
  • 心持ち - ?

Are there any others I should know about?

  • 2
    Where are you seeing まま as feeling?
    – ssb
    Apr 18, 2014 at 12:57
  • 2
    「感覚{かんかく}」 might be one. 「意識」another.
    – davewp
    Apr 18, 2014 at 13:07
  • 1
    感情 is used for emotions eg 感情的=emotional, 感情を込めて謝りました=He apologized with real feeling. 感覚 is used for sense eg 金銭感覚= sense for the value of money.
    – Tim
    Apr 19, 2014 at 2:25
  • 1
    You may want to include [体調]{たい・ちょう}. It technically means "physical/bodily condition", but you hear it often in 体調がいい・悪い to mean "I feel good/bad". Basically, it's the same as 体の具合.
    – istrasci
    Jul 1, 2014 at 14:43
  • 1
    Also missing: 触れる、触る
    – Kaji
    Jul 1, 2014 at 15:21

1 Answer 1

  • 具合【ぐあい】 - Health / condition. It's worth noting that this doesn't apply exclusively to people, though!
    • 「エンジンの具合を調【しら】べる」 ("Check the condition of the engine.")
    • 「具合が悪【わる】いので休【やす】む」 ("I'm not feeling to good today so I'm gonna rest.")
  • 気分【きぶん】 - Mood.
    • 「仕事【しごと】をする気分になれない」 ("I can't get into the mood to do work.")
    • 「今日【きょう】は気分がのらない」 ("I'm not in the mood today.")
    • Can also be somewhat synonymous with 雰囲気【ふんいき】. 「音楽【おんがく】が会場【かいじょう】の気分を盛【も】り上【あ】げる」 ("Music really ups the mood of the meeting area.")
  • 気持【きも】ち - Feeling about something. The first definition on Kotobank says "The emotion / what you feel in your heart upon encountering something / an event taking place." Almost sort of like an opinion, but more emotional than that? Kind of difficult to define, I guess...
    • 「気持ちが変【か】わる」 ("[Subject's] feelings are changing.")
    • 「彼【かれ】の気持ちが理解【りかい】できない」 ("I can't understand the way he feels [about a particular thing happening].")
  • 感【かん】じ - Sensation or impression. Can be used in both the physical and emotional senses.
    • 「指先【ゆびさき】の感じがなくなる」 ("Lose the feeling in the tip of one's finger.")
    • 「感じのいい人【ひと】」 ("A person who seems good [/ who makes a good impression].")
    • 「春【はる】らしい感じの日【ひ】ざし」 ("Sunshine that makes it seem like a Spring day.")
  • 感覚【かんかく】 - Sense. Again, it can be used in both the physical and the more metaphorical.
    • 「寒【さむ】さで指の感覚がなくなる」 ("So cold one loses the sensation in one's finger.")
    • 「新【しん】感覚のデザイン」 ("A design made with a new sense [of style].")
  • 感情【かんじょう】 - Pure emotions. Pleasure, displeasure, like, hate, fear, anger, etc.
    • 「国民【こくみん】感情を刺激【しげき】する」 ("Stir up the emotions of the nation's people.")
  • 意識【いしき】 - Consciousness / be conscious of.
    • 「意識を取【と】り戻【もど】す」 ("Return to consciousness.")
    • 「彼女【かのじょ】の存在【そんざい】を意識する」 ("To be aware of her existence.")
  • 情【じょう】 - Emotion. A pretty broad word; kind of difficult to concisely define. Emotions, feelings, literal, more metaphysical... Lots of possibilities.
    • 「憂国【ゆうこく】の情」 ("A feeling of love for one's country.")
    • 「情の深【ふか】い人」 ("An emotional person.")
    • In certain contexts it can refer to romantic feelings specifically. 「夫婦【ふうふ】の情」 ("A couple's love.")
  • 情意【じょうい】 - Feeling in one's heart. Pretty much synonymous with 気持ち, according to my dictionary.
    • 「情意[相通]{あいつう}じる」 ("Share one's feelings.")
  • 心持【こころも】ち - One's emotional state.
    • 「心持ちのよい人」 - ("A calm [/ cool] person.")
    • Also can be synonymous with 気持ち. 「心持ちが悪【わる】い」 ("[Something that] feels bad.")

EDIT: Comments from istrasci and Kaji have presented more words, and I felt it would be good to include them!

  • 体調【たいちょう】 - The condition of one's body (more generally, "health").
    • 「体調を整【ととの】える」 ("Improve one's health.")
    • 「体調が良【よ】い」 ("In good health." alternatively, per istrasci, "I feel good.")
  • 触【ふ】れる - To touch. Many nuanced definitions are available for this word, so I'll just focus on the ones that are more related to our discussion here.
    • One meaning is "to take on an emotion (usually negative?)":「怒【いか】りに触れる」 ("To anger [/ offend / upset] somebody.")
    • Another is more straight-forward: 「心【こころ】に触れる話【はなし】」 ("A talk [/ word / conversation] that touches the heart.")
  • 触【さわ】る - Also to touch, but slightly different. The only emotional definition here is negative: being angry about something.
    • 「神経【しんけい】に触る」 ("To get on one's nerves.")
    • 「癇【かん】に障【さわ】る」 ("To get on one's nerves." This isn't a typo, by the way; as far as I can tell, this is the only correct way to write this particular phrase. The meaning is very similar, though, and I felt it was relevant enough to include.)

All definitions and example sentences come from Kotobank! I can't think of any more related words, so I suppose this will do. :) If anyone has any corrections or clarifications (I'm not super confident on a couple of the translations), please do bring them up in the comments!

  • 1
    Eijiro has a few more. Jul 1, 2014 at 17:17
  • I feel like 気味 and [気]{け} also fit the bill ^^
    – Jak
    Aug 27, 2021 at 19:59
  • If you get a chance, could you please add 心地?
    – max
    Jun 21, 2022 at 13:38

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