Does anyone reading this site know of any nuance(s) differentiating these two words? Numerous online sites say that kakejiku is more commonly used, but I have found no information about whether the words are truly synonymous, e.g. with reference to size, significance, materials used, subject of the work, or other characteristics.

1 Answer 1


At least in Japanese, 掛軸(かけじく) is a type of 掛物(かけもの). 掛軸 only refers to hanging scrolls. Note the kanji 軸 ("axis/shaft"), which refers to scrolls in this context.

掛物 is much less common, but it is broadly used to refer to paintings and calligraphic works​ that are intended to be hung on a wall. The kanji 物 is just "thing(s)" or "one(s)". They include 掛軸, but they may be drawn also on shikishi, tanzaku, etc.

(English Wikipedia article for kakemono doesn't seem to distinguish kakemono and kakejiku, and they are defined as Japanese hanging scrolls. The Japanese word 掛軸 refers to hanging scrolls in general, and it's perfectly fine to say 中国の掛軸. I don't know how these words are used by English-speaking experts as English loanwords.)

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    英語わかりませんがこの時の軸ってaxleとかshaftと呼ぶんじゃないでしょうか? Commented Jul 16, 2019 at 4:56
  • Naruto, thank you! Your clarification is precisely what I needed. Many thanks. Re. the ambiguity in Wikipedia: I found the same implication of the two words being synonyms in numerous other sources. As you explain, one is a subset of the other.
    – NattoYum
    Commented Jul 16, 2019 at 5:44
  • @broccoliforest 確かにちょっと乱暴な書き方でしたね…
    – naruto
    Commented Jul 16, 2019 at 5:46
  • @NattoYum Loans sometimes have a narrower meaning. For example, as an English word, kanji usually refers only to Japanese kanji, but we Japanese believe 漢字 refers to those CJK ideograms in general. So I wonder if a similar thing is happening regarding kakejiku, too.
    – naruto
    Commented Jul 16, 2019 at 5:55
  • @naruto I found your answer convincing. Because 掛 means "hang," technically 掛物 could refer to what in English are called pillar prints— narrow vertical woodblock prints. They, tanzaku, and shikishi are quite different from "hanging scrolls." So it makes sense that 掛物 has a broader meaning than 掛軸.
    – NattoYum
    Commented Jul 16, 2019 at 6:24

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