When should I write わたし instead of 私?


I cannot imagine any particular case that Japanese people have to write わたし instead of 私. To a beginner of the Japanese learning, I would like to advise to use 私 instead of わたし in any case.

As a Japanese writer, however, I often avoid using 私 in my writing, because I think it better to use hiragana when using the words originated in Japan, not in China. So my ideal is to write original Japanese words in hiragana and to use Chinese characters in writing many words originated in China. This is only my rule or ideal but in practice I have to use 私 instead of わた(く)し not to make my sentence ambiguous or difficult to read because of a long sequence of hiragana.

  • 3
    There are cases when わたし is preferred, including one aimed at improving readability. Classic style guides such as 『日本語の作文技術』by 本多勝一 note the importance of bolstering readability by deliberately using hiragana(わたし) over kanji(私)--which is better always depends on the context. But practically, 私 is more frequently used than わたし. – user48754 May 23 at 10:32

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