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I found two different translations for "going to see a doctor," and I was wondering which contexts you would use each in.

The first is 受診{じゅしん}する which is defined on jisho.org as "having a medical examination; seeing a doctor​."

The other option I found on jisho was (医者に)見てもらう。My understanding of this is that a literal translation would be "I received the favor of (being seen by) a doctor."

The first translation makes sense in that it literally refers to the examination. However, if you wanted to say, "I'm going to see a doctor [at a specific time]" (like tomorrow, today, etc) which one of these phrases would you pick? How would this be different from indicating continuing care by saying "I am being seen by a doctor" (on a continuing basis)?

Thanks, folks!

2 Answers 2

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You can use both:

  • 明日(病院を)受診します。
  • 明日(医者に)見てもらいます。
  • (月に2回)皮膚科を受診しています。
  • (月に2回)皮膚科の先生に見てもらっています。

Difference:

  • 受診 sounds relatively more objective and formal because it's a kango (See: ). But it's safe also in casual conversations.
  • 受診 can take an institute name as a direct object.
  • As you already know, てもらう carries some nuance of "receiving favor", but it's not an issue unless you dislike the doctor.

As an aside, 見る can be replaced by 診る.

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  • 1
    As an aside, 見る can be replaced by 診る. Doesn't it have to be 診る? I've never see it as 見る in this context.
    – istrasci
    Apr 24, 2019 at 2:07
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    @istrasci Yes, the majority of people use 診る in this sense, but I don't think 見る is wrong. Two dictionaries I checked say (「診る」とも書く).
    – naruto
    Apr 24, 2019 at 4:41
  • 「病院を」でもOKですか?「病院で」ではなく
    – sazarando
    Apr 24, 2019 at 5:42
  • @sazarando 病院で見てもらう is fine, but 病院で受診する sounds tautological and weird to me. 病院を受診する is fine, but 病院を見てもらう would mean "to have someone look at the hospital".
    – naruto
    Apr 24, 2019 at 7:24
  • I found a Japaneses blog post about 病院を受診する koko10.com/hospital_visit
    – Leebo
    Jan 26, 2022 at 23:46
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It's like going against the premise of the question, but neither is the most popular expression people use to mean "visit a doctor to take medical treatment". We usually say 病院に行く or 医者に行く(お医者さんに行く). For seeing a doctor constantly, we use 通う.

So:

3時に病院に行きます。
明日お医者さんに行きます。
毎月歯医者に通っています。 (歯医者 dentist)

Now,

  • 見てもらう
    Context-wise, this word is likely used when you are already focused on (care about) a specific symptom you have, such as "I have an unusual headache, so I'm going to see a doctor" or "I have a such-and-such chronic disease, so I must see the doctor every week". That's because it literally mean have it seen (= diagnosed, treated).
  • 受診する
    Although it's a single word to mean "see a doctor", the term is not a very casual word, say, for a child to use. Of course, it is okay for whoever an adult to use it in conversation, just always sounds like "ophthalmologist" instead of "eye doctor" (I hope I didn't misspell).

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