My research indicates that both terms refer to movies, 動画 and 映画. Is there a difference in usage? Does 映画 refer to film/videotape based movies and 動画 refer to everything else?

1 Answer 1



Film; Movie; Motion Picture

For example, you would use this when referring to a film you would watch in a cinema.

It is used in the Japanese word for cinema (映画館) as well as a few of these examples:

  • 映画監督 - Film Director
  • 映画祭 - Film Festival
  • 映画学校 - Film School



Used for animation and online videos (such as YouTube).

  • 動画配信 / ビデオ・オン・デマンド - Video streaming / Video on Demand
  • would dvds be douga too?
    – Jack Bosma
    Sep 24, 2019 at 13:00
  • @JACK If you were watching a movie on a DVD it would be 映画. Think of film or movie (映画) as the art form. Video (動画) is more about the technology, the kanji characters literally mean 'moving picture'.
    – Ambo100
    Sep 24, 2019 at 13:07
  • the way its projected
    – Jack Bosma
    Sep 24, 2019 at 13:08
  • 1
    You can watch a movie/film 映画 in a cinema, laptop, phone, TV, etc... it doesn't matter. Perhaps think of the difference between a movie/film and video as the difference between a novel and a book. The first being the artistic form, the second the means by which it is recorded.
    – Ambo100
    Sep 24, 2019 at 13:13
  • 1
    @JACK You can watch a 動画 (video) on YouTube and it could be アニメ (anime), 映画 (movie/film), CM (Commercial), 予告編 (film trailer), etc...
    – Ambo100
    Sep 24, 2019 at 13:59

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