In my JLPT workbook, there is this example question:


この殺人{さつじん}事件{じけん}の裏{うら}には(  )上{じょう}のトラブルがあるようだ。

A 金額{きんがく}  B 大金{たいきん}  C 金銭{きんせん}  D 基金{ききん}

The answer is... (drum roll, please)... C, 金銭{きんせん}.

First, I'm a little vague on the meaning of 金銭{きんせん}. Seems to just mean "money", but how is it different from just saying 金{かね}?

More importantly, while it does fit as an answer, I don't clearly see why it's a better answer than B, 大金{たいきん} (can also be read おおがね), which means "a large amount of money".

To me it makes more sense that a large amount of money is more of a motive for murder than just money in general.

Why is 金銭{きんせん} a better answer than 大金{たいきん}?

Rough translation of the question:

Select the appropriate word

It appears that underneath this incident of murder there was some trouble with ( ).

A An amount of money B a large amount of money C money(?) D a fund

  • If 金銭上 means monetary/percuniary, does monetary/percuniary troubles sound better than the other options? bit.ly/ovmPzb Commented Sep 19, 2011 at 6:34
  • @Louis: I have never heard the word pecuniary before. Who knew I'd learn English on this site... ;) In any case, 金銭 fits fine, but my question is why doesn't 大金 fit.
    – Questioner
    Commented Sep 19, 2011 at 7:37
  • @Dave M G: Same here, hence the misspelling. ;) I have looked at some lower-level JLPT exams, and in these questions I was sure other answers would work, but they were looking for the "best" one. I think the instructions even hinted at the possibility. Commented Sep 19, 2011 at 8:19
  • 3
    Is this possibly 上 as じょう? (meaning "に関して・の面で"). The reasoning might be that among the given options only 金銭 means "money" as a general term, and so it fits best with ~上.
    – nkjt
    Commented Sep 19, 2011 at 12:54
  • "大金" just means "a big amount of money", while "金銭" means "financial" in general.
    – vdudouyt
    Commented Dec 7, 2016 at 0:33

1 Answer 1


As @nkjt said in a comment above, this 〜上 is the one meaning, "from the viewpoint/standpoint of 〜". A very common one you'll see in a lot of places is 安全上の注意 ("safety precautions" -- I used to see this under the lids of those fancy toilets). So 金銭上 would mean "from the standpoint of money", or put more simply, "financial". So it would translate as, "...it appears there was some financial trouble."

Also, as you mentioned in the comments, the other answers aren't necessarily wrong, but they are not the best choice for the sentence. In this case, the other three words 金額 (amount of money), 大金 (large sum of money), and 基金 (funds/funding) could work if there were more context. However, for it to be the best answer, it seems like you'd need a fair amount of context. You'd almost need a short "story", probably involving an amount of money and/or a description of the crime scene. But something like that would be better fitted to the reading section of the test instead the grammar or vocab section.

  • @DaveMG: You had edited the question to have the correct readings, so my first line didn't make sense any more. But that's why I crossed it out instead of deleting it, so that it might still be somewhat helpful to anyone who sees it. If you think it to be more helpful than I do, you can un-cross it out if you want.
    – istrasci
    Commented Oct 3, 2013 at 14:35

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