I was looking through some definitions in 明鏡 and I noticed the following




❸ 自分がもとになって相手に好ましくない思いを与え、それが自分に向けられる。

I find this usage note to be a little over-prescriptive personally. 〜を買う seems to easily generalize to “do something which causes 〜 [negative thing] in response”, and I don’t really understand the point of the distinction between whether that thing is the 相手’s “feeling” or not.

Would it be fair to say this usage note is not describing how 〜を買う is understood and used today?


Their rationale as such is understandable. Behind the word 買う, there is a metaphor that you obtain something originally belongs to the other. 批判・非難・苦情 that they mentioned are things which are only actualized in interaction between people, and not what occurs inside the opponent's mind alone.

However, in the background of those "frequently misused" words is also a fact that they are supported by and often inseparable with a certain emotion. What is more, considering that words like 反発, 不評 or 同情 (which I think okay for them) are normally used for both the inner feeling and the outer expression, it is a bit too cognitively demanding to require a sharp line between these two in reality.

So, I personally do not feel much stretch seeing 批判を買う, but some people might feel unnaturalness for the reason above. 明鏡 indeed has a reputation being on the prescriptivist side in native speakers' eyes, and that is not necessarily bad as a dictionary.

In most times firmer words you want with the intended nuances of 批判/非難を買う are ~を呼ぶ/浴びる, and 苦情をもらう.

Querying over BCCWJ, you'll find one appearance of 批判を買う:


as well as some counterexamples when you try to apply the rule rigorously, such as:


忌避 implies the action of avoiding something (though it's not an "active" action).

But the most problematic one IMO is 失笑を買う, that appears as often as 不評を買う (15 times) and among them are the works of relatively conservative authors.

Note: the spelling is his style; not an old work


失笑 prescriptively needs to be an expressed action (though confirmed by the authority for an unrelated reason), thus we cannot have it both ways.


I have never seen a similar discussion before, but this description seem to hold true at least in many cases. I personally do not say 反論を買う, 反対意見を買う, 抵抗を買う, 文句を買う, クレームを買う, 苦情を買う or お叱りを買う. I feel 批判/非難を買う is slightly strange, too, and I'd usually say 批判をもらう/いただく, 批判を受ける or 批判される instead. That said, I can easily find real examples of 反論を買う and 批判を買う, and I won't say they are wrong.

On the other hand, I think 反発 is like 抵抗 in that it is essentially something directed to others. Although we don't say 彼から反感を受ける, we commonly say 彼から反発を受ける, 彼に反発する or 彼に反発される. Still, the dictionary considers 反発を買う to be fine, which seems inconsistent to me.

So the bottom line is uninteresting; this explanation seem to work at least as a rough guideline, but the level of acceptance varies from person to person or from word to word.


There is no collocation Japanese dictionary yet, but 買う is very popular for expressing trade/buy, appreciate, and get it aggressively. The usage of buy and appreciate are almost the same as in English, for example, 飴を買う and (他の人の)才能を買う.
For get it aggressively, 喧嘩を買う or 嫌な役を買って出る are the best examples. It sounds a little reluctant but it ought to.

The example in the original post, 批判を買う, is not wrong grammatically in Japanese by itself, but it doesn't sound right when you want to be modest. The subject is not "I":

批判をされる 'I am accused/criticized.'

批判を買う '(Someone) might get accusation/critique to me.'

That is not the decision/opinion of the speaker, he should respect others and well if he knows he might be accused or such, I might say he needs to correct himself first. Therefore, 批判をされる is considered as a normal sentence but 批判を買う is considered a little arrogant.
It would be modest to say to be given 批判をいただく/頂戴する or もらう(second best).

This is how I understand what the dictionary meant. But the dictionary says "it's inappropriate". That is too short for explaining this because well when arrogant people use this phrase, it sounds right. 

See also "誘う" for 涙を誘う or 笑いを誘う - related usage.

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