I'm writing an essay about the North Korean abductions of Japanese citizens. In English literature I found that the concepts "abduction" and "kidnapping" are used interchangeably. I'm not familiar with Japanese language, but some languages have clear distinctions between words where other languages have not. I wondered if the Japanese translations of the words can be used interchangeably and if not, what the distinctions are. Do they have different connotations?

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    My Chinese intuition feels that the use of 拉 implies that it involves direct physical force, while 誘 involves some kind of scheming or trickery.
    – Flaw
    Jan 16, 2019 at 15:57

1 Answer 1


This Japanese WP entry has a very clear summary:


誘拐, as a Japanese legal term, indicates the act of placing a person under one's effective control by way of deceit or temptation. While it is not accurate to use 誘拐 referring to the act of taking away by brute force or intimidation (no Japanese dictionary describes 誘拐 with forcible connotation), mass media is prone to use 誘拐 even when someone is forcibly taken away against their will (拉致), so are people in casual parlance.

拉致 is, of course, not limited to the North Korean conduct, but I think many people today would associate it with that matter as if it were the capitalized "Abduction".

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