I can't figure out the difference between 出身地 and 故郷{こきょう}, both meaning "hometown, birthplace", despite having done some research of my own in the internet as well as in this site.

There is this related Q&A How would I say "The place where I come from/where I come from" with useful information, particularly this answer by @Mindful where several words with similar meanings are explained.

In Weel's answer here, it is suggested that both 出身 and 故郷{こきょう} mean the same, but 出身 has also other meanings (like an institution you used to belong to, etc.) rather than "place" and would be broader (attempted translation mine):


"出身" has the same meaning than "故郷". Besides that, it also means the school you graduated from, your workplace or your occupation. "He is a Harvard graduate", "That guy is a politician with a background as an author".

However, I am not sure if this would apply to 出身 given that 地 means "land" and it seems reasonable to assume it refers to places only.

From this other answer:

故郷 hometown, just like home for me.

出身 the place where I was born.

I get the impression than 故郷{こきょう} also accounts for the subjective feelings or attachment to the place, and 出身(地) would be a more objective, factual term. Is that so?


1 Answer 1


Yes, as explained in Mindful's answer, 出身地 is closer to "birthplace" and 故郷 is closer to "home(town)".

出身地 is a matter-of-fact word that objectively refers to the place where one was born. 故郷 is your home; it's that hometown that makes us nostalgic, talk about dialects or local cuisine, feel a sense of belonging, and so on.

出身地 is preferred in businesslike or academic settings, whereas 故郷 is preferred in phrases like 懐かしい故郷, 故郷の料理, 故郷の両親, etc. 故郷 should be much more common than 出身地 in lyrics and poems. People who have lived in central Tokyo all their lives may say 私には故郷がない but not 私には出身地がない. 第2の故郷 is a common phrase, but 第2の出身地 (my second birthplace) sounds simply illogical.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .