I've learned that hero could be translated as:

  • ヒーロー
  • えいゆう
  • ゆうしゃ
  • けっし

Aside from ヒーロー (which seems just to be roumaji version of hero), is there any usage difference among them?

  • 2
    けえし does not look like a Japanese word (it is rare to have え after an -e letter), and it is probably a typo for something ([剣士]{けんし}?). Commented Jul 21, 2012 at 12:40
  • 1
    Does ヒーロー get used for heroines (female heroes)?
    – Golden Cuy
    Commented Jul 21, 2012 at 12:45
  • 1
    There is a Japanese word けっし (決死), but it does not refer to a person at all…. Commented Jul 21, 2012 at 12:54
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    @TsuyoshiIto 傑士 I believe is the kanji for it.
    – dotnetN00b
    Commented Jul 21, 2012 at 13:20
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    @dotnetN00b The word 傑士 is rare enough that neither TsuyoshiIto nor I could come up with in mind.
    – user458
    Commented Jul 21, 2012 at 14:03

3 Answers 3


英雄 is most normally used for heros whose status as such is established. ヒーロー implies an American hero. For example, Beethoven's third symphony is called 英雄 in Japanese, but no one would call it ヒーロー. 勇者 means someone who is brave, and is not the same as hero. 傑士 is not normally used.

Japanese hero shows are called 戦隊もの, as it comes from the early hero shows like 秘密戦隊ゴレンジャー, 電子戦隊デンジマン, 太陽戦隊サンバルカン.

  • 勇者{ゆうしゃ} is never used to mean hero?
    – dotnetN00b
    Commented Jul 22, 2012 at 3:42
  • @dotnetN00b It can be used as long as that hero is brave as well.
    – user458
    Commented Jul 22, 2012 at 5:08

I was thinking about this old question recently. 勇者 as 'hero' may seem confusing to people who aren't big into pop culture, but in fantasy, especially fantasy video games (I think Dragon Quest may have originated this), 勇者 can refer to a 'chosen one'. This is a very particular use though and not exactly mainstream.

  • I suppose that a hero in a typical RPG is more like a classical Western conception, which is different from either an American comic-book superhero (or the American folk heroes that inspired that variety of storytelling) or one of the good guys in a tokusatsu. (I say "Western", but maybe there is a segment of Japanese folklore that I'm unaware of which fits the mold.) Commented Nov 24, 2023 at 0:48

You can do a combination with two of them using one as an ateji of another:

label statue

  • I didn't downvote you. Mainly, because I thought you accidentally posted in the thread.
    – dotnetN00b
    Commented Jul 21, 2012 at 14:21
  • This is just a joke, as well as telling in an ironically way that you cannot always differentiate different words. One may not be able to read the message if they are not smart enough. I do not care if someone downvotes, but I can guess that whomever did it probably cannot even read the kanji in 英雄.
    – user458
    Commented Jul 21, 2012 at 14:27
  • @sawa I thought you guys with all that rep get special moderator tools that let you look under the hood to see things like who downvoted. Commented Jul 21, 2012 at 15:16
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    @Louis: Votes are anonymous.
    – Zhen Lin
    Commented Jul 21, 2012 at 15:26
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    Ah, I often see the ateji combination of "[英雄]{ヒーロー}" (though I've never seen "[ヒーロー]{えいゆう}" or "[ヒーロー]{英雄}". ^o^)
    – user1016
    Commented Jul 22, 2012 at 1:42

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