I am writing a flashcards deck to memorize Minato-ku's list of 防災-related words.

一時集合場所  いっときしゅうごうばしょ  Temporary meeting places
一時滞在施設  いちじたいざいしせつ    Temporary stay facilities

As you see, one says 一時 as いっとき and the other one as いちじ.

This is an official document, so I don't think it is a case of "use the one you like it is exactly the same". Other official documents mark the exact same difference, for instance here is the yellow 東京防災 book sent to all families in Tokyo:


So, what is the nuance difference between いっとき and いちじ ?
Real-life examples appreciated, references would be wonderful.

  • 2
    大部分の日本語母語話者は、「いっときしゅうごうばしょ」という読み方には違和感を覚えるのでは?しかし、これは「ある理由」のため、故意的に、敢えてそう読んでいるのだ‌​と思います。「ニュアンス」とも無関係です。「市立 vs. 私立」、「科学 vs. 化学」などでも同様の現象が見られます。質問者さんが"references"さえ求められていなければ、小生が回答できなくもないのですが・・
    – user4032
    Jan 22, 2016 at 12:22
  • @l'électeur: ニュアンスではなく、完全に違う意味ということですか?referencesがあれば完璧ですがなくても大丈夫です。 Jan 23, 2016 at 7:04
  • 1
    My Japanese colleagues tell me that いっとき feels like the duration is a bit shorter than いちじ... Jan 23, 2016 at 7:50
  • 1
    へえ…「いっとき」と「いちじ」のどちらが長い感じがするか…?わかりません笑。 「いっとき」のほうが「いちじ」より口語的な感じはします(「とき」が訓読みだから?)  で、「一時避難場所」のように熟語にするときは、「いちじ」って読むのが自然な感じがします(「じ」が音読みだから?)
    – Chocolate
    Jan 23, 2016 at 9:13
  • detail.chiebukuro.yahoo.co.jp/qa/question_detail/q1425993699 Are the answers in there accurate? It seems there is some difference according to them. Jan 23, 2016 at 12:07

2 Answers 2


(Turning my own comment above into an answer. There will, however, be no references provided as OP requests. Everything I state here comes directly from my head as an average native Japanese-speaker.)

First off, I would like to make it clear that this is not a question of nuance. This is a question of what I might call the "practical and intentional reading/pronunciation alterations".

Not too many native J-speakers would feel that the reading of 「一時」 in 「[一時集合場所]{いっときしゅうごうばしょ}」 sounds natural. The far more natural reading of that part would indeed be 「いちじ」. So, why would some towns and districts employ the "funny" 「いっとき」 reading in their official publications?

That should be to artificially make a distinction between 「一集合場所」 ("temporary meeting place") and 「一次集合場所」 (primary meeting place) or more precisely, 「[一次避難場所]{いちじひなんばしょ}」 ("primary shelter").

By intentionally reading 「一時」 and 「一次」 differently, one is supposedly less likely to confuse the words above in times of emergency. Since the places described by these terms concern people's safety and sometimes even lives, the local government would want to make sure that we understand the differences among the places.

These practical and intentional reading/pronunciation alterations are nothing new to us.

Take the words 「市立」 ("municipal") and 「私立」 ("private") for example, the "dictionary" reading is 「しりつ」 for both. When we talk about schools, however, "municipal" and "private" can make huge differences. To avoid the confusion, we often alter our readings of those words. We would often read 「市立」 as 「いちりつ」, and 「私立」 as 「わたくしりつ」.

Another "famous" pair is 「科学」 (science) and 「化学」 (chemistry). The official reading is 「かがく」 for both, but we quite often read 「化学」 as 「ばけがく」 so that the listeners will know exactly which one you are talking about.

Again, nuance has nothing to do with it in the two pairs of words above, either.

  • 1
    Wow, that was a fantastic answer. Talk about insight! Jan 26, 2016 at 13:41
  • I have always wondered why they often say "bakegaku" for chemistry. So that's why.
    – meriororen
    Apr 25, 2016 at 6:35

As a nuance, 一時(いちじ) means tentative or temporary, like:

  • [一時的]{いちじてき}[措置]{そち} - tentative measure
  • 一時[立替]{たてかえ} - temporary financing
  • 一時的[避難]{ひなん} - temporary evacuation

一時(いっとき)means momentary or transient, like:

  • [一時]{いっとき}の[憩]{いこ}い - a short break
  • [訊]{き}くは[一時]{いっとき}の恥、訊かぬは一生の恥 - It's a momentary shame for you to ask a question, but it remains a life-long shame for you not to ask a question.

However, to force residents to read 一時集合場所 いっときしゅうごうばしょ is felt not only an absurd bureaucratic triviality but also a farfetched abuse of the word to me. It sounds really odd and ugly.

If you show the word indicating "一時集合場所" to your Japanese friends, I bet nine out of ten of them would read it "いちじしゅうごうばしょ," and that's why Tokyo officials had to awkwardly add 振り仮名.

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