I found here that 涙 is a semasio-phonetic character (形声文字) while 泪 is a more visual version. Apart from that no big differences should be between this two ways of writing "namida". Anyway I would like to be sure of that.

Thank you very much!

Edit: I searched 泪 on google. Although the results are mostly in Chinese there are also results in Japanese. See for example here.

  • The difference is you will never see the latter in Japanese. Your first hint should be a google search which returns pages and pages of Chinese. Mar 8, 2016 at 21:21
  • thank you for your comment. Actually I searched it on google. If you do a quick search with a hiragana on it you will see that it is used in japanese as well.
    – Strabo
    Mar 8, 2016 at 22:00
  • 2
    @kiss-o-matic But I have seen 泪 in Japanese, more than once. It's definitely much less frequent, however.
    – user1478
    Mar 8, 2016 at 22:04
  • "never" was a bit of an exaggeration and I admit, it's lost in the nature of message boards. Mar 9, 2016 at 16:25

2 Answers 2


涙 is 常用漢字 but 泪 is not. Today 泪 is only seen in lyrics, poetry and such. One answer in the chiebukuro question you linked says 「泪の方が演歌っぽい」, which I think best describes the actual difference in usage.


There is apparently also a third character for this reading, 涕. I'm not aware of any differences in meaning between the three, but in my own reading, I've only ever run across the 涙 spelling.


Be sure to read the comments from snailboat -- the additional data should paint a clearer picture of the relative occurrences of these different spellings.

  • 5
    In various web-based corpora, I found that the ratio is something like 100:1 for 涙 to 泪, and 1000:1 for 涙 to 涕, but I'd actually expect those ratios to be greater if they only included modern usage. I think the corpus results must also include some pre-war orthography. Personally, I've only seen 泪 a few times, I think mostly in song titles and lyrics where people are deliberately using the "non-standard" choice of kanji, but I think I've seen it in fiction writing at least once. (I didn't put it in my notes, so I'm not sure.)
    – user1478
    Mar 8, 2016 at 22:45
  • Useful additional data, thank you @snailboat! Mar 8, 2016 at 22:48

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