Both 勇気 and 勇 are nouns and mean courage. Does 気 give it a different twist?

Couldn't you say 力と勇 instead of 力と勇気? (meaning power and courage)


1 Answer 1


You usually cannot say 力と勇 instead of 力と勇気. 勇気 is the default word for 'courage'. This 気 on its own means something like 'trait' or 'spirit', and it is true that it adds little to the meaning. Still, it's important because ゆう is usually too short as a word, and there are many other kanji whose on-reading is ゆう (e.g., 有 existence, 友 friend, 遊 play, 融 melt). In general, the majority of Sino-Japanese words (kango) are made of two or more kanji with on-readings. You have to say ゆうじん (友人) instead of ゆう even though 友 means 'friend' by itself, and you have to say ゆうかい (融解) instead of ゆう even though 融 means 'melt' by itself. Please see the following questions, too.

勇 is occasionally used as a standalone word in literary or theatrical contexts. For example, a knight in a fantasy novel may say 戦場にて我が勇を示さん ("I shall show my courage on the battlefield!"). But this is rather exceptional, and you should use 勇気 most of the time.


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