I am wondering if there are any differences in the usage of 自己 and 自分, or are they simply synonyms?

It seems that the two are interchangeable with nouns stemming from them.

I.e, 非自己 and 非自分 also appear to be synonyms.

2 Answers 2


I'm pretty sure that the meaning is about 'self'. Now there are differences in the two words. I myself am not really sure about all the little differences in meaning of these two words. But I am pretty sure that in certain cases, it's not interchangeable. So to answer your question, I would like to give you some phrases about each one.

自分はそう思う。 Methinks

自分なりにやる。 Do something in one's own way

自分自身 Me, myself

両親のためではなく、自分のために勉強する To study for myself not for my parents

自分で決める Decide it by myself

自己紹介 Introducing oneself I'm pretty sure they don't use 自分紹介

自己主義 自己中心 Egoism, selfish

自己宣伝 To advertise oneself

自己流 Self-taught, one's own way

自己批判 Criticizing oneself

So in conclusion the two are a bit like myself vs oneself/self. And some sites said that it's the subjective self (自分 = I, me) vs objective self (自己, oneself).

Also there are other words that you might be interested in too.

[自我]{じが} (means ego)、 [自]{みずか}ら means himself/oneself.

In fact, [自]{みずか}ら is a bit like himself. Sample sentences from Weblio:

彼は自らを[省]{かえり}みる He reviews himself

社長自ら[指揮]{しき}をとる The CEO himself takes command of sth.

  • 2
    Going through your summary, it seems that 自分 is a recursive pronoun while 自己 is a noun. For example, 自分主義 would sound as amateurish as Me-ism. I appreciate your effort.
    – user4092
    Commented Jul 31, 2018 at 0:28
  • Thank you very much for your extensive answer. It highlights the differences quite nicely.
    – Tim F.
    Commented Jul 31, 2018 at 3:16

Synonyms. 自己 is a little bit formal/academic.

  • 1
    Are you saying they are always interchangeable?
    – Earthliŋ
    Commented Jul 30, 2018 at 12:18
  • Yes, except used as an idiom.
    – Kuto
    Commented Jul 30, 2018 at 12:48
  • 2
    ^ でも・・・「自分のことは自分でやりなさい!」とは言えますが「自己のことは自己でやりなさい!」とは言わないですよね・・ 軍隊でも「自分に(=私に)やらせてください」を「自己にやらせてください」とは言わないですよね・・
    – chocolate
    Commented Jul 30, 2018 at 14:06
  • You are right. When you use 自分 to mean 私(I), you cannot use 自己 instead. 自分=自己(when 自分 means “self”.
    – Kuto
    Commented Jul 30, 2018 at 14:38

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