I would like to ask about "住まい" meaning. I know that "一番大変" is the hardest. And I also search about "住まい" and they said it's "address, home, live, dwelling, residence". But there are no word that suit with "the hardest" and it's no make sense. Or this is a figurative sentence??

Thank you in advanced.

  • Can you provide some context to the sentence?
    – istrasci
    Commented Nov 18, 2020 at 17:33
  • hi @istrasci thank you for the response. the context is a sister told to her brother that there is a wisdom behind their parents dying. she proud with their house, and then she said "衣食住の中では住 (dwelling for fullfill necessities), 住まいが一番大変 (.... is the hardest)"
    – Renna
    Commented Nov 18, 2020 at 17:59
  • Just in terms of budgeting, that makes sense to me -- clothing and food are relatively inexpensive, while housing is often the biggest single chunk of anyone's monthly budget (either to pay the rent, or to pay the mortgage). Does that help make this sentence make sense to you? Commented Nov 18, 2020 at 18:07
  • 1
    hi @EiríkrÚtlendi thank you for your explanation. Oh, I see. Does it means that i can translate 住まい as manage housing?
    – Renna
    Commented Nov 18, 2020 at 18:17
  • @Renna, 住【す】まい is literally "residence, dwelling, home", as you note. The "manage" part is not included just in the word 住【す】まい. Commented Nov 18, 2020 at 18:25

1 Answer 1


Please don't omit the context and the full sentence. So is this the full sentence you are asking about?


Then it means "Among 衣食住, 住 is the hardest". 衣食住【いしょくじゅう】 is a compound that refers to the three basic necessities in our life (衣 = clothing, 食 = eating, 住 = sheltering/housing/housekeeping).

住まい refers to the same thing as 住 here. Since 住 is a short on-reading which makes little sense in isolation, this person rephrased it as 住まい, which is a wago that means the same thing.

But what this 住 (= 住まい) actually translates to depends on the context. It may refer to buying a new physical house, or it may refer to housekeeping jobs such as cleaning. The sentence may just mean "I like cooking but cleaning my house is a hard task to me".

  • Aah, sorry for incomplete sentence. Yeah, she thankful about the house she had. So, she said "衣食住の中では住" , but there are some difficulty in it. Thank you for your explanation, I understand now
    – Renna
    Commented Nov 19, 2020 at 6:38

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