Both of them mean fire. But what are the difference between the two ?

For the sentence : There is a fire in my room. Can I use both of them ?

And what about for the sentence : Fire is part of the 5 elements.

  • 3
    I think we normally use 火事 to refer to the condition where something not meant to burn is on fire. And.. you can say「~~が火事だ。(~~is on fire)」but not 「~~が火だ。」 (We'd say 「~~が燃えて(い)る。」instead).
    – user1016
    Aug 18, 2012 at 16:21
  • Please check your favorite dictionary, or Wiktionary if you do not have one. Wiktionary shows appropriate translations of different meanings of noun “fire” to Japanese (somewhat surprising to me…), and it also answers your question. Aug 18, 2012 at 19:08
  • Of course, that's my first step, then my second is google and my third is this site's search bar.
    – Kalzem
    Aug 19, 2012 at 0:21
  • “Of course”? Apparently you did not check a dictionary before asking this question, did you? If you had checked a dictionary, you should have known the answer. Aug 19, 2012 at 0:29
  • I always study and check with "Japanese", an iOS app based on Jmdict and Kanjidic2 with sentence examples of Wwwjdic. But the sentence didn't really help me. I had "The fire burned up brighty" with 火 and "The fire was soon extinguished" with 火事.
    – Kalzem
    Aug 19, 2012 at 0:45

1 Answer 1


火事 means "fire" like what you shout when a building is burning down. Or when we say "my house was lost in a fire", it's that "fire". The big kind that burns things it isn't supposed to.

火 is a more generic word for fire. It's what's on a candle or a torch or in a fireplace.

For your first sentence...it depends on if the fire is burning down your room(火事), or if you have a candle or a fireplace that's lit(火). So, yes you can use both, but it means (very) different things.

For your second sentence, I believe you could use 火. I seem to recall my Yu-gi-oh! cards using 炎{ほのお} which is "flame, blaze", but I'm not sure what meaning you can derive from that...

  • 3
    I've always thought of 事 as adding the meaning 'situation' or 'event' to the compound. So a candle flame is not much of an event, but a part of your house on fire certainly is an event.
    – taylor
    Aug 20, 2012 at 14:30
  • As an interesting side note, 火事 used to be pronounced ひのこと in ancient times, then the samurais thought it was cool to used 音読み for these Japanese origin words and so they started reading it かじ, which is the pronunciation that stayed.
    – dvx2718
    May 5, 2022 at 4:36

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