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How should I read 花弁? I came across it in this sentence from ねじまき鳥と火曜日の女たち by 村上春樹.

テーブルの上には紫色の木蓮の花弁が雨に打たれてはりついていた

大辞泉 has these two entries, which leads me to believe 花弁 is more officially correct as a way of writing かべん than of はなびら.

か‐べん【花弁・花×瓣】
はな‐びら【花△弁・花△片・×瓣】

On the other hand, I feel like I've heard the word はなびら more often in speech.

  • 'A short story by Haruki Murakami' is sort of a vague context. Can you tell us which story, or better yet show us the paragraph in question? – Aeon Akechi Apr 15 at 0:44
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    I edited the question. – ignorantFid Apr 15 at 1:01
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Both readings are possible. はなびら is a yamato-kotoba (wago) and thus much more common as a word, but it tends to be spelled as 花びら to avoid confusion. For reference, this lyrics search knows 3,338 songs that contain 花びら and 203 songs that contain 花弁. For this reason, when I see 花弁 in all-kanji, I personally read it かべん most of the time. かべん sounds relatively stiffer, but IMHO it's not strange in a serious literary work. But this is basically a matter of taste, and I know almost nothing about Murakami's writing style. His fans may think differently.

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村上春樹's style is basically spoken language in daily life. So はな‐びら is better.

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