Is there a difference between 興味を持っている and 興味がある? With physical objects I understand how the latter is more passive, but what about for abstract nouns like 興味? For example in the sentence


Is there any difference if I instead say


  • 1
    They're the same.
    – user4092
    Commented Apr 17, 2016 at 13:38

2 Answers 2


興味を持っている is equivalent to "have an interest in sth." 興味がある is eqivalent to "be interested in sth." Both are saying the same thing.

  • Do Japanese feel that "興味を持つ" is a metaphor?
    – konishiki
    Commented Apr 17, 2016 at 11:55
  • @konishiki. No. it isn't a metaphor. It's the same with "be interested in sth," just like the verb, 'interest' being used in the intransitive form. Commented Apr 17, 2016 at 20:39
  • 1
    Adding onto @Yoichi Oishi's comment, try to think 興味を持つ as something along the lines of "holding someones interest" or "hold attention"
    – user11589
    Commented Apr 17, 2016 at 21:29

It's just my opinion,
I guess that a subject is different among those two sentences.

For example:

I have a question.

There is a question in my mind

The latter is a little bit more natural as spoken language in Japan than the former, but I think those are completely same. I feel many of the former are expressions from the literal translation.

→I have a good idea.

  • I'm confused. Are you saying "basically" the same, or "completely" the same"? "Basically" and "completely" are different. Commented Apr 17, 2016 at 20:45
  • Sorry for the confusion. I revised my sentence. I am writing on the premise that this is only my opinion.
    – nariuji
    Commented Apr 18, 2016 at 14:06

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