Is there any difference in meaning between 護{まも}る and 守{まも}る? When there are multiple kanji for a particular reading (like 暑{あつ}い/熱{あつ}い or 初{はじ}め/始{はじ}め), they are frequently used in different situations (hot weather/hot to touch or first time/start). According to the dictionaries (jisho.org and a pocket dictionary) 守{まも}る is more common, but the story I'm reading now is using 護{まも}る. So I was wondering if there would be any particular reason for using 護 over 守.

  • 守護天使 is a good mix of both.
    – oldergod
    Commented May 28, 2014 at 10:29
  • This looks like a case of either a) a word that be written with a choice of kanji that alters the nuance, or b) two homonyms / homophones - different words that coincidentally have the same pronunciation. You might want to add the "kanji choice" or "homonyms" tag. Commented May 29, 2014 at 8:29

3 Answers 3


Basically 守る is the more general and common word for "protecting, guarding, or keeping someone / something."

The 訓読み 「[護る]{まもる}」 is not listed in 常用漢字表 (thus it's not taught in schools), and it can be only specifically used to protect/guard something from foreign attacks.

  • 約束{やくそく}を守る (keep a promise): Good
  • 約束を護る: Not good
  • 秘密{ひみつ}を守る (keep a secret): Good
  • 秘密を護る: Not good
  • 法律{ほうりつ}を守る (uphold/obey the law): Good
  • 法律を護る: Not good, or maybe OK if you mean "to protect the law itself from being altered badly"

  • 祖国{そこく}を守る/護る (protect the homeland): OK

  • 打撃{だげき}から身{み}を守る/護る (protect oneself from damage): OK
  • サッカーのゴールを守る/護る (guard the goal): OK

Personally, I always use 守る for all those purposes, and regard 護る as the word only for novelists or songwriters.


護る is used more to guard someone. There's a sense of security and guarding. Instances of this can be seen in words like 護衛、援護、擁護、警護 etc

A use of 護る can be in a sentence like 陛下を護る、主君を護る

守る is used to defend or protect something. Words that use 守 include those like 守備、攻守, 守衛

Uses of 守る: 宝を守る、陣地を守る、城を守る etc.

So one's used to guard, the other is used to protect Hope that helps

  • What is the difference between "guard" and "protect"?
    – user4032
    Commented May 28, 2014 at 3:27
  • To guard, is to watch over, and protect, if needed. So you're preparing for a "threat" which may or maynot harm your subject. To protect/defend something, is to directly prevent it from the immediate threat. I'll use a castle as my example. One that "Guards・護る" a castle, is there to respond to a potential threat that pops-up. So normally, there isn't a threat, but if there is, they're there to deal with it. One that "Defends/Protects 守る", is responding to a threat that is currently occurring. Hope that helps :)
    – user153603
    Commented May 28, 2014 at 10:58
  • I think this is the best answer.
    – istrasci
    Commented May 29, 2014 at 15:16

My personal feeling...

The most often use of 「護」 of 「護る」 is when god defends somebody. We use 「神の御加護がありますように」 as "I hope god bless you". And their is a 「護国神社」 in every prefecture.

Or parents defends their kids, we call 「保護者」, adults who are legally responsible for kids.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .