7

Good day, I just want to ask in-general if these words have a different level of meaning or are they interchangeable when attched to a family name 家、氏、藩、閥、族、一族、一門、家門、閥族 。 I'm somewhat aware that a 藩 is a domain and 家 is literally a family for example the 伊達家 used to own the 伊達藩。 But I would like to know the exact difference of the other words for example the difference between 伊達氏 and 伊達一族 and all the other words above. Because for me a 氏 is literally the clan itself while an 一族 is something larger like the 田村家 is a part of the much larger 伊達一族。

Thank you all in advance for the reply, and may you all have a good day.

  • 閥 just means "faction" and has nothing particular with family names. 嘉門 and 閥族 don't attach to names. – broccoli forest Feb 7 '18 at 2:26
3

家【け】 neutrally refers to both an individual household and the whole clan spanning several hundred years or more. For example 徳川家 refers to the whole Tokugawa clan.

一族【いちぞく】 refers to a group of people/households who are related by blood. This mainly refers to those living in the same period, and they often do similar things like running a government, managing a circus, making violins, etc.

氏【うじ】 referred to an old form of Japanese clans. See: Uji (clan). Basically this is an uncommon historical term. As you may already know, today 氏 is usually read し and is used as a suffix for a person with that family name ("Mr./Ms. ~"). In academic contexts you can say 徳川氏 (とくがわし or とくがわうじ) to refer to Tokugawa clan, but this may be a little confusing to laypeople.


族【ぞく】 is "~ tribe". It refers to a social/ethnic group which is much larger than a family.

藩【はん】 is a suffix for old Japanese municipalities, not people nor families. See Han system.

閥【ばつ】 is a dated word for a familial corporation conglomerate. See: Zaibatsu.

一門【いちもん】, in modern Japanese, usually refers to a group of rakugo performers, sumo wrestlers, etc. Members do not have to be related by blood.

家門 and 閥族 are very rare and I believe you can forget them.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.