According to the dictionary, 運転手 means driver and 車掌 means conductor. So, 運転手 would be any person at the controls/steering wheel of any vehicle, while 車掌 would be someone who "is in charge of a train and travels with it, but does not drive it" (according to an English dictionary. I am not an English native speaker so I can't grasp the difference between both words in English either). So, the latter is only for trains? and if he does not drive, what does a 車掌 do in a train?

If you could provide some example sentences that illustrate the difference between both words, it would be nice.


1 Answer 1


[運転手]{うんてんしゅ} is responsible for driving the vehicle like the car, the bus or the train. As you suppose, [車掌]{しゃしょう} only applies to the person who works on the train. [車掌]{しゃしょう} takes care of other than driving the train duties like...

  • Closing door while maintaining customer's safety
  • Informing the next station name
  • Taking care of the sick person while the train is on the way to next station
  • (If you ride the bullet train) Confirming if you are in the right train by checking the ticket.
  • (If you stop at an unmanned train station in rural area) Collecting your train ticket (to make sure you are not cheating...)

[運転手]{うんてんしゅ} always stays in the first car of the train while [車掌]{しゃしょう} is usually in the last car (but [車掌]{しゃしょう}may move to the other cars).

By the way you don't use [運転手]{うんてんしゅ} for the person driving the airplane or the ship. They are called [操縦士]{そうじゅうし}. A pilot of the airplane you can call [パイロット]{ぱいろっと} which came directly from the word "pilot".

I could not figure out the good sentences though I hope it gives you an idea.

  • @JACK thank you for the edit :)
    – plsplsme
    Commented Sep 5, 2019 at 0:08
  • @naruto thank you for the edit. I should check my answer more carefully...
    – plsplsme
    Commented Sep 6, 2019 at 1:43

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