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Lately I've seen in some dialog games with this difference. They use 観る rather than 見る, e.g.:

・あなたテレビ観るかな。

・あんまり観ない方なんだ。

So I'm thinking I can use 見る to make the same dialog. However there must be a reason why they use one instead of the other. Perhaps its a simple reason...

What is the difference between 見る and 観る?

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    I feel like that has been asked before, but I can't find a duplicate. Anyway, while you're at it, why don't you add in 看る、視る、and 覧る? – istrasci Jul 17 '14 at 21:45
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    @istrasci Or possibly 診る, which is more common than any of those three. (I think 覧る is especially uncommon.) – snailcar Jul 17 '14 at 21:52
  • @snailboat: To me, 診る has a distinct enough definition to not be confused with the others. That's why I didn't include it. – istrasci Jul 17 '14 at 21:59
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    Here's an obligatory link to the 「異字同訓」の漢字の使い分け例 – ssb Jul 18 '14 at 4:42
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    大辞林には、『「観る」は“見物する。眺める。芝居などを鑑賞する”の意。「見る」とも書く。』 と書いてあるようです。 kotobank.jp/word/… 個人的には「テレビを見る」と書くより「テレビを観る」と書く方が少し教養がある感じがすると思います。 – naota Jul 19 '14 at 13:44
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The verb 「みる」("look"/"see"/"watch") is one case of a word which can be written with one commonly-used general-purpose kanji, and sometimes with other rarer, more specific kanji.

The general-purpose kanji writing is 「見る」. Any time you use 「みる」, you can be confident that you can write it 「見る」 and it will be correct (as long as it's a verb which means anything like look/see/watch). Here's a Japanese dictionary entry with a variety of meanings for 「見る」.

As the same dictionary entry says, 「観る」 is a way of writing 「みる」 which can be used when it has specific meanings:

  • Looking at scenery, as a tourist does, and
  • Watching something for entertainment, such as TV, as in your example.

In these cases, 「見る」 is also OK, so you don't have to use 「観る」, but if you do, it makes the meaning more precise.

As other people have commented, there are other specific kanji for 「みる」. The two common ones (also listed in the dictionary entry above) are:

  • 「診る」, which means to examine, in the sense of a doctor examining a patient, and
  • 「看る」, which means to watch over, in the sense of a nurse watching over a patient.

If you write

医者は患者を見た。

people might think you simply meant "the doctor looked at the patient" in the sense of "glanced casually at the patient". On the other hand, if you write

医者は患者を診た。

it's clear that you mean "the doctor examined the patient".

There are even rarer kanji. I found a blog which mentioned 「覧る・視る・覗る・監る」 as other possibilities. These are rather obscure, and if you make a habit of using them, your Japanese sentences will start to look strange. On the other hand, learning that all these kanji have a meaning related to seeing could be useful for studying kanji compound words. If you want to find out more, a kanji dictionary is a good place to look.

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This is very simple.

  • 観る means "to watch" - TV, theatre, whatever else action.
  • 見る means "to see" - to see the sea, for example.
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    Downvoted for a mix of two reasons; one is that I didn't feel the examples made it clearer about how to make future judgments about which kanji I might use in new circumstances (as the other answer did); the other reason is that prefacing an answer with "this is very simple" comes off as patronizing to me, and I don't care for patronizing tones at all, especially when they preface mediocre pedagogy. – steve_0804 Jul 23 '14 at 20:18
  • Thank you for your comment. Probably my problem is that I assumed particular proficiency in Japanese when giving the answer and it is definitely unsuitable for anyone who just started learning. – Rilakkuma Jul 26 '14 at 6:00

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