I'm sure 椅子 is more common but I can't find any information on the nuance of 席

1 Answer 1


The difference here is very much like the difference between chair and seat/seating in English.

椅子 quite literally means chair. See jisho.org as well as Google image search results.

is a slightly more abstract term primarily used to mean "somewhere to sit", in the same way seating is used in English. could be a chair, or a bench, or a cushion on the ground. Phrases such as:

この席、空いていますか? (Is this seat open?)

席が足りません。 (There isn't enough seating.)

Are fairly common, and while you might be understood even if you replaced with 椅子, it would sound very literal - you'll just be talking about chair(s).

Note that there is also a word 座席, which is quite similar to with minor differences as described here.

  • I'm not sure substituting 「椅子」 would make it sound at all unnatural, but it would make it clear that you're asking specifically about a chair (in the first) or talking about the number of chairs specifically (in the second).
    – Sjiveru
    Nov 18, 2018 at 9:42
  • Fair enough, it's a little ambiguous. 椅子 in the first one sounds unnecessarily specific to me, but I'll update the post - this may just be personal preference on my part.
    – Mindful
    Nov 18, 2018 at 10:46

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