Someone else asked this question in another Japanese learning space I'm in and I attempted to research it to find an answer for them, but I didn't quite get a conclusive answer.

On goo, they define 卓 as 物を置く台 and they define 台 as 物をのせるもの

I also found this article which I briefly skimmed through, and while it doesn't specifically address the difference between the two words/kanji in this question, there were mentions of them throughout, but it didn't seem like there was any clear difference, that I could find at least.

All I've been able to guess so far is that 台 is maybe broader in meaning in regard to tables than 卓, since 卓 is defined as a type of 台. I also noticed from my brief research that 卓 doesn't seem to be used by itself very often. All I was able to find was 卓を囲む when it came to that. Otherwise it was mostly just compounds like 食卓. Where as with 台 it seemed that it could be used by itself or in compounds, either way.

I am assuming that there is perhaps a way to distinguish between the two based on the characteristics of any given table at hand whether it would be more appropriate to refer to it as a 卓 or a 台, but I was not able to find anything covering this.


1 Answer 1


A 台 is closer to "stand" or "base". It can be big or small, depending on the thing you put on it.


A 卓 is closer to "booth" or "counter". It can refer to tables or desks in general, but today it typically refers to some specialized desks you use while standing or sitting by it. For details, please see: When is a table not a table?


Tables are usually just called テーブル.

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