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Can someone explain me the difference in nuance of these words? Both of them mean "weapon", but while I was reading the manga where I got these words from, most of the characters used 武器 and then there's just one character that used 兵器.
I also want to mention that the furigana for 兵器 was ぶき and not へいき.
I found a similar question on a Japanese site but I couldn't understand very well...

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武器 means generally "weapons which are as little as you can hold like swords and guns.

兵器 means generally "weapons for war which are big like tanks and fighter aircrafts" and is used for generic name of weapons of war like 化学兵器(chemical weapon).

We call adding different furigana for a kanji 当て字. In this case, the author willfully made this 当て字. We commonly don't read 兵器 ぶき. I am not sure about the author's intention but he might describe it as between 兵器 and 武器.

  • Thank you very much! This explains it clearly. I actually did get a little from the Japanese site where I found the similar question that there might have been this difference between small weaponry and those that are bigger and more destructive used in wars, but I wanted to check to make sure. The author of this manga uses a lot of times 当て字 and alternate spellings which I found really interesting because it ads more depth to the things the characters talk about and now I think I understand more the intention of why the author did that with those two words. – Alice B. Rabbit Aug 19 '17 at 13:37

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