What is the difference between 母{はは} and 妣{なきはは}?

  • 4
    What kind of dictionary are you using? I'm sure most native speakers don't know 妣, and I haven't even remember seeing this kanji in my archaic Japanese class at high school.
    – naruto
    Dec 25, 2016 at 10:22
  • @naruto I'm using site jisho.org to learning and search kanjis.
    – Macabeus
    Dec 25, 2016 at 17:18
  • 1
    Actually jisho.org is full of rare kanji and words which even native speakers can't read. One thing I recommend is to double-check the word with ALC, which is a large e-dictionary targeted at native Japanese audience. If ALC don't know some kanji, it probably means ordinary Japanese people don't know that kanji, either :)
    – naruto
    Dec 25, 2016 at 17:26

1 Answer 1


母 is a very common term for mother. 妣 is rarely used nowadays and usually understood as "late mother", but it may be used as a variant of 母.

母に万葉で「妣」の字を宛てたのは、歿後の父母なる事を示したと言ふ事も出来ようが、唯母と通用したものだらう。そして、唯色々な形の歌を組み入れたゞけと見る方がよい。 (折口信夫 相聞の発達)

  • 1
    You rather say "late mother" in English.
    – macraf
    Dec 25, 2016 at 7:57
  • @macraf I knew 'dead' here wasn't appropriate but couldn't find the right one (I thought of deceased, which wasn't what I needed). Very much appreciated, thank you!
    – Yosh
    Dec 25, 2016 at 8:06

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