I encountered this sample sentence:


The app I was using simply translated 意向 as "intention" which led me to ask: how does it differ from 意思? And how do the component kanjis lead to this difference? My first instinct was to recall other words that use the other kanjis. Words like 向こう、方向 and 思う、思想, but as I expected, using this strategy has a limit. (Btw, I'm thinking that 意向 is an intention that is externally manifested and that emphasizes a sense of direction, while 意思 is something internal and does not necessarily imply a set course of action.)

(Of course, I can look it up using a thesaurus, but I don't think it will strengthen my ability to intuitively grasp the fine shades of meaning, and will cause me to be too dependent on it.)

  • You seem almost answered your question yourself. Apr 28, 2020 at 7:29

1 Answer 1


I agree to what you thought from 漢字. Plus, 意向 is usually other people's intention, not mine. But anyway I think learning collocations is more practical way to master. ご意向を伺う 意向に従う 意思決定 意思表示 意思無能力 etc

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