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Here is the full sentence including the word.

小気味いい矢吹丈と、ボクシングだけを想う老残の丹下段平、そしてチャーミングな仇役力石徹。

I found that the first Kanji 「仇」is 表外漢字 and an alternative form of 「敵」. Then, I am curious why the writer did not use the later one which would be easier to read for Japanese reader.

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  • According to weblio.jp/content/%E4%BB%87, the kanji includes the connotation of grudge/hatred, and not just a plain enemy.
    – nhahtdh
    Commented Jun 22, 2016 at 7:49
  • @nhahtdh かたき frequently has such a vengeful connotation, but in this case it's used more positively ("good rival" rather than "enemy"). But I agree that かたき is a more "emotional" word then plain ライバル, and it does imply there is a complicated story between 矢吹 and 力石.
    – naruto
    Commented Jun 22, 2016 at 8:12

1 Answer 1

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仇 is not an alternative form of 敵 (there's a word 仇敵【きゅうてき】). And aside from it, not being 常用漢字 doesn't mean immediately the kanji is rarely used. Kanji frequency distribution usually shows a long tail, and the rank varies depending on the source collection. According to @scriptin's investigation, 仇 is at #1951 among novels in 青空文庫, as well as #2280 in Wikipedia JP, so you can see it's a pretty close loser to 常用漢字 (now has 2,136 kanji).

In my personal experience, 仇 for the word かたき ("foe; rival; who should be avenged on") is a fairly well understood, or perhaps more preferred way of writing, partly because 敵 stands for another well known reading: てき ("enemy; opponent").

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