In a jōyō kanji list I read, there are 2 kanji for village. One of them 里 is just mentioned in the jōyō kanji list to mean "village", it is mentioned in another book to mean a measure of distances that is about 4 km or 2.5 miles. Does it have 2 meanings? Is one of the meanings obsolete or wrong?

1 Answer 1


It does have the two meanings you mentioned: a unit of distance 里{り} (which is more or less 4km), and the meaning village 里{さと}.

Note that 里{り} is a counter. 一里{いちり}・二里{にり}・三里{さんり}… (be precise because 一里 is not read as ひとり).

However, the unit of distance is obsolete, and the meaning for village is not used anymore productively. You will still find it in place names and in some words like 古里{ふるさと}, but nothing more.

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