What is the difference between [嬉]{うれ}しい and [幸]{しあわ}せ for "happy" or "happiness"? Are these interchangeable or are there cases where one should be used over the other? If so, please give examples where one would be used and not the other.


2 Answers 2



If we can win this game, we'll win the championship.

→We won.



With the prize money we won, we bought new equipment, had a victory party with our friends, and did many other fun things.

→There were many happy and good things.


Unnatural/non interchangeable usage:

うれしい人生. This is wrong usage of うれしい.

幸せな人生. This is good usage of 幸せ.

Basically, うれしい is for short-term happiness, when compared to 幸せ.


Basically 幸せ means happiness. But I have seen this conversation in an American movie:

Mother: Is she your girlfriend? Looking disappointed

Son: No, are you happy?

This "happy" is 嬉しい in Japanese. So it depends on the context.

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