So in trying to make my own notes for things, I wanted to make use of the word "classifications". Not the act of classification, but rather the plural of the idea of "a classification", as in, "Animals are a classification of living things". As I see it, it's similar to using the word class, group or category, but I find it carries less of an objective connotation. Kind of like saying 数学的 instead of 数理的. Both mean "mathematical", but the former is mathematical within the scope of our study of math, whereas the latter seems to encompass things beyond the scope of our study (ex. 数理的思考、the idea of mathematical thinking, see https://www.kitasato-u.ac.jp/sci/resea/buturi/hisenkei/sogo/suuri.pdf).

So back to the point, the main words I've been able to find that relate to classification are 分類、類別 and 部類. The former two seem to imply the act of classification as far as I can see, and I don't know if they can be used the way I'm looking to use classification. As for 部類, it looks at first glance that it's similar to class/group/category, with the more objective connotation. Maybe the lines are blurred in translation, but is there any word more specific to what I'm looking for? Can't find one myself.



1 Answer 1


The safest choice is 分類, which is a noun that also works as a suru-verb.

  • 哺乳類の分類 classifications of mammalians
  • 哺乳類を分類する to classify mammalians

類別 seems to have a pure mathematical definition, but it's relatively uncommon. According to a dictionary, 類別 refers to categorizing thing according to an existing classification criterion. It works as a suru-verb.

部類 does not work as a suru-verb, and it doesn't sound technical in modern Japanese. Rather than classifying something in a strict manner, people typically use this word like so:

  • 1万円なら安い部類に入る。
  • そのホテルは高級な部類だろう。
  • まあまあ美人の部類に属する人

So English equivalent is perhaps something like "You can call it ~".

There is also 分別.

  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat.
    – user1478
    Jun 4, 2017 at 21:03
  • Alright, can others access it for reference? Or do I have to copy and paste it into a new question if I want to reference this discussion for context? That's why I didn't move it myself.
    – Erik
    Jun 4, 2017 at 21:12

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