I read the definition of 義務 because I found the word 義務教育:


I understand the definition as "Thing that a person has to do" but I can't find the meanings of 立場上 and 身分上, so my understanding is excluding those parts. What is the 上 meaning in these words? Is it the 上-definition: 

Noun, Noun which may take the genitive case particle 'no', Adverb (fukushi), Noun, used as a suffix: 1. above; up; over; elder (e.g. daughter)(jisho)

But then I don't understand how the sentence makes sense.

1 Answer 1


This ~上【じょう】 is a suffix that forms an adverb/no-adjective meaning "~-wise", "in terms of ~" or "from the viewpoint of ~".

For example:

  • 金銭上: in terms of money; financially
  • 文法上: grammar-wise; grammatically
  • 教育上: from an educational point of view; educationally
  • 法律上: according to the law; legally speaking
  • 計算上: mathematically speaking; if my calculation is correct

立場 is "standpoint", and 身分 is "social status/position". 立場 is something that can change depending on the situation, while 身分 is something that is fixed for a long time (sometimes for the entire life).

In your sentence, I think 上 can be translated like:

a thing one must naturally do {based on | in accord with} his/her position

  • 1
    How does it compare with 的に?
    – Jimmy Yang
    Commented Jan 20, 2022 at 17:59
  • 1
    @JimmyYang Not very different, but 上 is stiffer, and preferred in academic/legal contexts.
    – naruto
    Commented Jan 20, 2022 at 23:37
  • 1
    @JimmyYang 歴史上の means "in history" or "historical", whereas 歴史的な usually means "epoch-making" or "historic", so they are not always interchangeable. Not sure if there's a general rule...
    – naruto
    Commented Jan 21, 2022 at 0:51

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