I am confused about some similar words in Japanese. Where in English we can use the same word for "implement" and "capacity", Japanese seem to be using different words depending on situation. Any chance someone could explain the difference between the words in the two sets of words below:

実装 = 実現 = 実施 = Same implement meaning?

容量 = Capacity (e.g. for a hard drive) 容積 = Capacity too? 体積 = Capacity for tangible things?

Which word to use in which situation? I'm very confused.

Many thanks in advance!

  • 1
    Could you give an example of how 'implement' and 'capacity' are interchangeable in English?
    – henreetee
    Nov 30, 2020 at 13:23
  • Apologies, maybe I wasn't clear enough in my post earlier. 'Implement' and 'capacity' are in no way interchangeable in English. My question was about the Japanese words for each that seemed to me interchangeable. Dec 2, 2020 at 23:24
  • Ah, I see, thanks! :)
    – henreetee
    Dec 3, 2020 at 11:43

1 Answer 1


Each kanji tells its meaning.

  • 実装: Because 装 means "mount" or "install", the word means implementing something on machines (hardware and software) for it to work.

  • 実施: 施 means "exert" or "extend", so the word is for implementing rules, strategy, or activity to make people act in some ways. It does not translate such "implement" for all situations. This one is for something mainly affecting other people than the planner; 実行 is better for what yourself mainly do; 遂行 if it is a task rather than your initiative; 履行 if promise; and so on.

    社会調査を実施する conduct a social survey
    オリンピックを実施する Olympic Games take place (rather than not)

  • 実現: 現 = "appear; be present". I don't think it corresponds to "implement" in many cases. Its core meaning is "materialize" or "fulfill", so if something is "implemented", it is probably "materialized" too. As an aside, the reversed 現実 is totally different thing "reality".

  • 容量: 容 = "contain", 量 = "mass". Thus it means how much bulk, such as those of wheat or water, a container can hold, but also by extension, data (of storage) or people (of building) etc.

  • 体積: It means volume, which is 体 = "cubic", 積 = "expanse".

  • 容積: 体積 a container has inside. Of course it is equivalent with 容量 under the scientific definition, but rather focused on how much space (physical only) it has.

PS: If you ask about a server machine's 容量, I'd likely answer in bytes. If its 容積, likely in liters or cubic meters.

  • What a wonderful answer. Thank you so much for showing the differences between the words in such a clear and thorough way! Dec 2, 2020 at 23:20

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