is there a significant difference between 道具{どうぐ} & 工具{こうぐ}? They both seem to mean tool, but the former has a longer list of than the latter but all still basically tool/instrument. Also how is 具{ぐ} different?


道具 refers to tools in general. 工具 refers to hand tools used to build or fix something, such as hammers, screwdrivers, saws, wire cutters, monkey wrenches and so on:

Examples of 工具

All 工具 are also 道具, but the opposite is not true. Kitchen knifes, nail clippers, clothespins and fish poles are 道具 but not 工具.

  • I asked this because I'm working on a "japanized" toki pona. It has a very small vocabulary, resulting in the words being very generic, so 道具 would be used for "ilo"(tool). A hand tool would just be something like 手道具{てどうぐ}. I'm still not sure how much grammar to derive from Japanese.
    – jastako
    Oct 8 '20 at 19:49
  • @jastako 手道具 makes little sense in Japanese. Imagine tools you typically need for DIY projects, and they are 工具. I don't know how it's rendered in toki pona.
    – naruto
    Oct 8 '20 at 21:20
  • Toki pona only has a vocabulary of about 124 words, so the toki pona equivalent would be ijo luka (tool hand). The adjective follows the noun. I just reversed the order to adjective+noun as English & as far as I know Japanese does, so it becomes 手+道具.
    – jastako
    Oct 9 '20 at 14:29

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