When I was looking through the main page of OKWAVE, and I saw that the questions are put in categories. One of the categories says 生活・暮らし.

When I looked them up on Weblio, 生活 has the meanings of “(a) life/lives; (a) livelihood, (a) living” and 暮らし has the meanings of “a living, a [one's] livelihood; life; existence, subsistence”.

This shows that both of them seem very similar, but there must be a difference between them. Does anyone know what it is?

1 Answer 1


生活 and 暮らし are very similar terms, essentially synonymous with "life" or "lifestyle" or "living", but you do see some differences in usage in writing and online...

生活 in general is used to talk about the way a person lives. What they do daily, how they spend money, leisure activities and so on. It is also, online, used in talking about helpful items or practices for living your life, or about interesting things around town.

暮らし can be found on websites and discussions about making a home more homey or comfortable, more beautiful, decorative, or in other words a nicer environment to live in.

I hear the word 生活 used more than 暮らし, but that could be an effect of being a foreigner living in Japan, and Japanese people being careful to simplify their discussions with me...

There is overlap, since the terms are in many ways synonymous, and I am sure a native speaker will have more insight.

  • 1
    You are correct. 暮らし is more 'lifestyle within a particular environment' and 生活 is general lifestyle. Pretty much every city/town website will have 暮らし情報 about their location (city.kyoto.lg.jp).
    – BJCUAI
    Commented Jul 8, 2018 at 5:16

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