I know that 畑 can refer to a physical field while 分野 can't, but what is the nuance when 畑 is used in the abstract sense? For example, what is the difference between:

  1. 教育の分野 and 教育畑
  2. 言語学の分野 and 言語学畑

Google frequency tells me that the former is more popular by a factor of like 100, but the latter doesn't seem wrong (google exact search of this type will give hundreds to 10s of thousands of hits from Japanese URLs).

  • 1
    Interesting how they conjure up the same metaphor. 分野 doesn't refer to a patch of land but words like and 大野 do/used to. 「満州の大野を蔽ふ大戦争の光景が」「私は北川村で藤三と申す百姓、野で働いておりましたら」 I guess 畑 is a lesser-used term in this sense because it seems to only exist as a suffix and it's more figurative? 分野 is related to 野 but has evolved to be a separate word in its own right, thus more specific and less figurative.
    – Eddie Kal
    Jan 10, 2022 at 19:43

1 Answer 1


畑 in this sense is a metaphorical expression used in relation to someone's career. This is an interesting expression in the context of introducing a person (formally or informally, e.g., 彼には教育畑を30年歩んできた自負がある, 営業畑を渡り歩いて多彩な経験を積んできました). It should be avoided when neutrality and objectiveness are important (e.g., in Wikipedia).

Besides, when it is intentionally used in contexts that have nothing to do with personal career, it may sound slightly disrespectful. For example, 言語学畑の人間 basically refers to linguists, but often with a nuance of "someone who has lived in the field of linguistics long enough to forget other things". 言語学畑の用語 may sound like "(odd) jargon used by linguists" rather than "linguistic terms".

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