I just learned a new word, "地主{じぬし}, whose definition in my web dictionary, and paper dictionary, is landlord, land owner.

"家主{やぬし}" is surely the word that native English speakers would use for the landlord of the apartment where they live. I've never heard anything else.

  • Because "地" means "land, soil", is "地主" like the owner of a plot of land? Whether there is a house on that plot of land is not relevant?
  • Most "家主" work as employees for large companies that own buildings with apartments in them? In that, your typical "家主" does not own the apartments that they manage?
  • If so, then a 不動産屋 would introduce me to a 地主 to exchange cash for her / his land? I would be introduced to a 家主 to ask if it is ok to live in the apartments that he/she manages?

Am I correct about this?

  • Did you mean to write "native Japanese speakers"?
    – user1478
    Aug 23 '15 at 4:27
  • @snailboat no. What I mean is that when I, and many other native English speakers who I known, expressed in Japanese our perception of what a "landlord" is, we would say "yanushi". "Yanshi" had been a direct mapping to "landlord", but now I see it is not that simple.
    – david.t
    Aug 23 '15 at 4:51
  • Indeed, because native Japanese speakers prefer 大家{おおや}(さん). Aug 26 '15 at 16:22
  • @broccoliforest I was just confused, because when I read the question, I figured that the word native speakers of English would choose was irrelevant . . . I guess I understand now.
    – user1478
    Aug 26 '15 at 17:45
  • @snailboat Actually, 家主 is a word you wouldn't see very much outside something legal... Aug 26 '15 at 17:50

地主 is an owner of the land, while 家主 is an owner of housing. Land and housing are separate objects of separate ownerships in Japan. If you rent a land from someone, he/she is 地主 for you. If you build a house on that land and rent the house to someone else, you are 家主 for him/her.

When you are seeking a house, 不動産屋 wouldn't introduce you to a 地主, instead, they would to a 家主. 地主 is irrelevant in this contract.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.