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What is the difference between 収める and 納める? The former is what I originally learned the word as, and it seems to be more common. But I came across the latter a few days ago and I'm not sure what the difference is, if any.

Some dictionaries list 納める as an alternate form of 収める, while others just give them meanings that greatly overlap. So now I'm not really sure.

Are they interchangeable? Or does one have a meaning the other does not?

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They are definitely similar and I'm sure most Japanese native speakers do use these interchangeably or wouldn't know the "correct" usage. After reading a few 知恵袋 answers, I can say the following.

「納める」 1. To pay or to make payments(納付、納入). For example お金を納める or 税金を納める. 2. To finish up (おしまいにする), e.g. 仕事納め 3. To place or fit into something (しまい込む)

「収める」 1. To put away, place into something (収容、収拾、取り入れる) e.g. 怒りを収める or 写真に収める 2. something to finish/calm down/return to normal (元通りの安定した状態にする). e.g. 風が収まる、勝利を収める

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    I personally think most native speakers are aware of the difference between these two kanji. It's one of the most frequently asked questions on high school entrance exams :-) – naruto Aug 30 '15 at 6:14

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