Both verbs have the same reading, and both seem to have meanings of "yearning", "longing" or "admiration". I can't figure any difference between the two; are there any situations where you would use one kanji and not the other?

I ask because Heisig's Remembering The Kanji's keywords for 憬, 憧 and 慕 as "hanker", "yearn" and "pining" respectively, are unhelpfully similar, but the two あこがれる kanji are particularly troubling me.

  • I am Japanese and I believe that I've received an avg education though, I assume that It is hardly possible to find out something using the latter one 憬れる in usual life in japan but 憧れる is everywhere. The meaning is exactly the same though.
    – suish
    Jan 13, 2016 at 9:16

1 Answer 1


There's no semantic difference, only stylistic one, as long as being used to write the word あこがれる.

憧 is the primary choice because this is the original kanji designated for the word. 憬 didn't have this reading until the word 憧憬 (しょうけい or どうけい) was coined, but you're allowed to use it in order to add some different flavor, too.

As an aside, technically neither of 憧 and 憬 means "yearning" separately. The former is "wander" and the latter is "go far". A dictionary says that 憧憬 was created to translate German Sehnsucht, which sounds likely to me.


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