I'm trying to memorize the kanji 発 and a few of its most important usages in vocab.

Jisho says はっけん means discovery and はつめい means invention. Aren't these synonyms of each other? They are both used in, for example, a scientific context or for new technologies. What are the differences?

1 Answer 1


You can safely follow the difference of discovery/invention for 発見/発明, I suppose.

  • 彼は遺跡を{発見した/*発明した} : He discovered/*invented the remains.
  • 彼はラジオを{*発見した/発明した}: He *discovered/invented radio.

発明した is used usually for things made by the subject, just like invent. Let me know if I'm wrong in the assumption.

  • 2
    If I am making the correct conclusion with your answer "はっけん" means more like "to find" "found"? "Stumbled upon"? Aug 13, 2021 at 7:17
  • Yes, 見つける/発見する are mostly interchangeable. One thing worth noting about difference between 発明する and invent is that 発明する cannot be used in the sense of telling a lie. E.g. He invented a story / *彼は話を発明した (でっちあげた is the correct verb here).
    – sundowner
    Aug 13, 2021 at 7:57

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