I am having trouble when naming a variable, deciding if I should use ABC種別 or ABC区分. I have been reading a lot of software specifications and the Japanese description usually uses 種別 and 区分 to specify a type or a class.

When do you use 種別 and when do you use 区分? For example, for a device, would you use 種別 or 区分 to differentiate the type here? Is this just a preference?

Added based on the context comments (2011/12/12): I was referring to customer types. I do ask my colleague, why they use 区分、種別 or even 種類 pertaining to the same variable but they just say they are the same. Example of usage that I see, for example column names of database tables (Customer=>TOKUI_KUBUN,TOKUI_SHUBETSU) or (User=>USER_KUBUN,USER_SHUBETSU). I do think they are essentially the same with subtle difference. It just is annoying which one is the more appropriate one especially if you want to make a naming convention.

  • Without context, it is not clear what you are talking about. It looks like it is a technical term used among a narrow group of people.
    – user458
    Commented Dec 9, 2011 at 6:03
  • 2
    I think that's what his question is. In terms of programming, is there a clear, definite difference between these two words, are they nuanced in some way, or is it preference? Commented Dec 9, 2011 at 17:48
  • I think I understand what you're asking, but it would help if you could add some more clarifying details, especially for the example.
    – Troyen
    Commented Dec 9, 2011 at 19:38
  • (1) I do not know which programming language you are using, but in many programming languages, it is customary to name variables using English letters. (2) If you want to know how “device type” is called in Japanese, I guess that you can check translations in several operating systems, and I do not think that it is a question about programming at all. (I cannot provide the answer by myself because I do not have an easy access to the Japanese version of any operating system.) Commented Dec 10, 2011 at 0:05

1 Answer 1


I'm a programmer at a Japanese company, and all of our variable names are named in English. Sometimes it's misspelled or unclear English, but it's English nonetheless. It's just the standard. Heck, most programming languages don't even support non-ASCII variable names, and romaji variable names are unwieldy and unnecessary. Of course, it all comes down to the style used at your particular organization, and variable naming convention can really run the gamut.

That being said, to get to your core question (if you absolutely have to give your variables Japanese names), I would probably go with 種類 for a general sort of type (as in the phrase "a type of customer"), タイプ for a programming data type (as in "the integer type") and maybe 種別 or カテゴリー for a classification or category or something.

Also, I would never use "tokui" for "customer;" I'm not even sure how you got that. I usually see 顧客 or お客様. Or sometimes even カスタマー. But "tokui" doesn't mean that.

Hope this answer helps! To summarize, go with English for the variable names and comment in Japanese :)

  • Look up the meaning of 得意. We sometimes call regulars as お得意さん among others (like 常連さん etc)
    – syockit
    Commented Jan 15, 2012 at 7:32
  • Ahh, お得意さん hadn't occurred to me. Thanks! Commented Jan 15, 2012 at 9:08
  • We actually do not use Japanese character as name of our variable but rather the Furigana in Romanji form. The question was more on how to the use of the words as in meaning rather that using it in programming. I think sawa (user name) changed the title of the question and added when programming. It is not just a programming variable question.
    – Nap
    Commented Jan 16, 2012 at 3:00

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