Transitive-intransitive pairs are common in Japanese. But in general the reading of the kanji is the same. I know of two exceptions: 出す{だす}-出る{でる} and 入れる{いれる}-入る{はいる}. Are there more?

  • Interesting question but could you give more specific criteria? For example, do you expect 教【おそ】わる and 教【おし】える in your list? Apr 5, 2019 at 3:51
  • @broccoliforest If there are few verbs even with loose criteria then no need to get finicky. But if the list can be long, then perhaps a typology will arise. I honestly don't know the answer to your question because I don't know the answer to mine. Apr 5, 2019 at 5:44

1 Answer 1


There are many possible ways to demarcate your question's scope, but if we focus on pairs whose morae until the shorter kanji coverage ends are different (based on the current orthography), the number is quite limited.

  • 入【はい】る (it.) : 入【い】れる (t.)
    The intransitive is a suppletion from はいいる "sneak in".

  • 出【で】る : 出【だ】す
    The pair lost their initial mora; in Classical Japanese they were いでる and いだす.

  • 消【き】える : 消【け】す
    Already different since the earliest appearance (きゆ vs. けつ).

  • 教【おそ】わる : 教【おし】える
    The intransitive is post-Classical; perhaps the influence of 襲う "inherit"?

  • 出来【でき】る : 出来【でか】す
    A leveled conjugation of Classical いでく and its transitive by analogy.

  • 干【ひ】る : 干【ほ】す
    The intransitive is almost obsolete but nevertheless in 常用漢字表 because of its numerous compounds.

  • [Added] 陥【おちい】る : 陥【おとしい】れる
    The sole paired compound verbs that let both elements alter (落ちる + 入【い】る vs 落とす + 入れる) and have a single kanji.

The lengthy criterion above is to exclude such pairs that the kanji is allowed to span in unequal length under the orthography, which are not very rare:

終【おわ】る (also 終わる) : 終【お】える / 冷【ひ】える : 冷【ひや】す (also 冷やす) / 泊【とま】る (also 泊まる) : 泊【と】める / 変【かわ】る (also 変わる) : 変【か】える etc.

And even:

座【すわ】る : 据【す】える / 怖【お】じる : 脅【おど】す etc.

  • 2
    For きゆ・けす, the even older form might be く, as possibly indicated by 万葉集 poem 4024: 「立山【たちやま】の雪【ゆき】し消【く】らしも」. Thus, きゆ would represent 上二段 + spontaneous ゆ, and けす would represent 下二段 + transitive / causative す. Notably, instances in the 万葉集 of 消 read as け are analyzed as 上代特殊仮名遣い as having the vowel value //e₂//, which is reconstructed by some as possibly //we//, aligning with a potential derivation as //ku// + //e// → //ke₂//. I cannot find 消 read as き in the 万葉集, however. Apr 5, 2019 at 18:17
  • 1
    @EiríkrÚtlendi Interesting, thank you for your input. Yes, 消ゆ seems certainly newer somehow. Apr 6, 2019 at 5:31
  • 陥 (おちいる) vs 陥 (おとしいれる) is interesting (although transparent). I hadn't come across the transitive before.
    – jogloran
    Sep 10, 2019 at 5:01
  • 1
    @jogloran That means you're lucky that you've not 陥る into a situation someone 陥れる you :D Sep 10, 2019 at 6:07

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