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What is the difference between 損害 and 被害? My dictionary lists them both as "damage", and I can't figure out any differences from the example sentences it gives. In fact, there are some examples that are basically the same except with those words swapped out, leading me to believe they are interchangeable at least in many cases. Perhaps one is broader, and the other is a little more specific and limited?

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    Which dictionary is this? – White Shirt Jun 19 '15 at 21:59
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I am not a linguist, so I may be wrong, but...

損害 and 被害 both mean "damage", "loss."

But 被害 is something caused by somebody else or something that is beyond control, while 損害 includes damage and loss caused by oneself or something under one's control.

Example:

地震による被害   damage caused by the earthquake

株取引による損害  loss generated in stock trading

You can say 地震による損害, but 株取引による被害 sounds awkaward unless you are forced to engage in the trading.

Hope this helps.

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