I've seen Unmei (運命) Which apparently means destiny that can be changed by your will.

and Shukumei (宿命) meaning destiny that is pre written and cant be changed.

Are these correct or is there any other word that means Destiny/Fate that guides us.

Please help me out thanks very much

2 Answers 2


宿命 refers to your fate that is predetermined by your bloodline or the "star" you were born under. It is uncontrollable because your ancestors, god or environment had determined your life path when you were born. Basically it's something special people in fiction or legend have, and ordinary people like me tend not to think about their own 宿命. It's not necessarily a negative word, but someone with 宿命 in fiction is often involved in a long term battle and/or hardship.

運命 is associated more with fortune or luck factors. It is still largely uncontrollable, but that's simply because no one can control their fortune or predict their future precisely. Many people believe it cannot be changed, while others believe they can improve their 運命 at least a bit through hard work or prayer.


Analising the kanji of booth you can see that in 運命 has the kanji which has the meaning of fate, but also can be interpreted as luck, advance, followed by the kanji that means life. With that said you can see it as you luck in life, or how you progress in life, but that's only an interpretation. The other one 宿命 has the kanji 宿 which means residence, reside, therefore you can see that word as your place in life. Usually the last one (宿命) has a negative meaning, it's most used in phrases referring to a disaster. So I would recommend you to use 運命.

Also, I don't know if you are interested or if that is your intention, but in Japanese/Chinese folklore they have a concept of 赤い糸 which represents the predestination of love.

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    "Usually the last one (宿命) has a negative meaning, it's most used in phrases referring to a disaster." Well, it may be a frequency matter, but I don't think so. It instead sounds more "destined" than 運命. Sep 30, 2020 at 17:13

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