Is there any difference between 交替 and 交代 or are they completely interchangeable?


2 Answers 2


They're mostly interchangeable.

If you want to be nit-picky, 交替 is for regularly occurring changes, and 交代 is for one-time changes, but this is not a hard-set rule.

  • +1 but I missed your line, but this is not a hard-set rule.. It looks like they are more kind of the "hard-set rule" though.. 知っ得袋.biz/443.html ( I am afraid I can not provide the link well. )
    – user7644
    Aug 15, 2015 at 21:32
  • I still feel, though, that what the link and I have said is still more of a tendency than a rule.
    – Blavius
    Aug 16, 2015 at 1:57
  • Even the site says つまり、スポーツの選手交代など、一度変わった後は、もう元に戻ることができない状況の事を「交代」と呼ぶのです。 Translated : 交代 is used to express irreversible situations such like when a sports player is changed and the previous player will not return??
    – user7644
    Aug 16, 2015 at 2:29
  • Yes, that would be the technically correct way of selecting which to use, but in practice that rule is often ignored. In particular, I think 交代 is used more often than 交替 (even in circumstances where 交替 would be proper assuming this rule).
    – Blavius
    Aug 16, 2015 at 3:12
  • 2
    In my answer I said they were mostly interchangeable. Sure there are some compounds with other words where changing it wouldn't make sense. What I am saying is that sometimes you will find that 交代 is used in place of 交替. In fact, newspapers use 交代 much more often than 交替. As I said before, it is a tendency, not a hard-set rule.
    – Blavius
    Aug 16, 2015 at 3:45

I would like to give further information since Mr. Blavius asserts 交代 is for one-time changes, but this is not a hard-set rule. and per choco san's advice.

From this site http://知っ得袋.biz/443.html

From the site,




交代 --- one time change of roles or jobs or plays etc etc,

交替 --- repetitive change of roles or jobs or plays etc, etc.

And from the above



So, 交代 is used to express irreversible situations such like when a sports player is changed and the previous player will not return. On the other hand, 交替, is used to express the repetitive motions, such as a person A does a job then afterward another B take over the job. The example is guard men or day and night duties. One person can not do the job 24 hours and 5 days in succession, so that in such a case 交替 is used.

Examples respectively from the source.




Generational changes of company's important members ( such as bosses ).

Would the previous bosses come back 50 years later? Quite unlikely




Day and night shift ( works ).

A person A can not work day and night 5 days a week ( for example ). Please think about the above mentioned guard men's case kindly

Have a nice day.

  • 3
    – user1478
    Aug 16, 2015 at 4:16
  • 2
    I said before, I don't disagree that they have subtle differences- but people tend to use one for the other (particularly 交代 for 交替) anyway. Also, look at the accepted answer on this question on chiebukuro.
    – Blavius
    Aug 16, 2015 at 4:50
  • 2
    – naruto
    Aug 16, 2015 at 22:42
  • 1
    "snaiboatさんは参勤交代の例を挙げていますが">> えっ、どこでですか?上のコメントでは彼女は辞書を引用しているだけで、彼女が「参勤交代の例を挙げて」いるわけではありませんよね? "どういう「基準」なのでしょうか?">> 辞書にも『「交代」は、「世代交代」のように、その役目などが一回限りの場合に、「交替」は、「昼夜交替」「交替での勤務」のように、繰り‌​返される場合に使われることが多い。ただし絶対的なものではなく、「参勤交代」などは伝統的に「交代」を使う。』とあるのですから、『かくかくしかじかのように区別して使われることが多い、使われる傾向がある。絶対ではないが。新聞用字用語辞典は「交代」に統一しているので、新聞では区別されず全てに「交代」が使われている。』ということを質問者に教えて差し上げればそれでよいではありませんか。
    – chocolate
    Aug 17, 2015 at 1:51
  • 2
    – naruto
    Aug 17, 2015 at 9:15

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