I've seen it in an anime. There was 購買部 in the first season and then it has been changed into 購売部 in the second season. I suppose they have the same meaning and pronunciation, but 購売部 doesn't even exist on Jisho. It can't even be typed automatically.

The anime is うる星やつら.


2 Answers 2


It should be 購買部, and 購売部 is plain wrong. And you are right, in a lot of words 買 and 売 do share the same pronunciation バイ. 買 means to buy and 売 means to sell. There is even a word 売買{ばいばい} meaning trade (売り買い, literally both selling and buying). And that very fact may well have led to some people mistakenly writing 購売部, but unfortunately it simply doesn't make much sense.

購買 is a Sino-Japanese word that dates back at least around 1,000 years. It is a 漢語 that originally came from classical Chinese text. The reason that 購 only collocates with 買 here not 売 is because the kanji 購 means to pay money and to offer something in exchange for something else, and 買 has more of an emphasis on getting, receiving things. The two kanji word 購買 may sound a bit repetitive if you try and take it apart, but so do a lot of two kanji words. Also that's much less the case in classical text.

Since the two kanji often share the same pronunciation, they have been mixed up by many people. Contemporary computer-reliant human species aside (most members of this species have lost the ability to write or spell correctly without the help of IMEs and autocorrect), even earlier writers made this mistake. 『精選版 日本国語大辞典』 has this example from 中野好夫


  • I see. Indeed, it's written on a sign in the anime, it's literally drawn. I didn't understand how they could slowly draw the wrong kanji. Jun 30 at 2:49
  • I'm definitely one of those who could not tell which spelling(?) was correct :D
    – naruto
    Jun 30 at 3:17
  • 2
    売 and 買 having the same 音読み has caused confusion in 売春 and 買春. Now かいしゅん (in ugly 湯桶読み, I would say) is even listed in dictionaries for the latter.
    – aguijonazo
    Jun 30 at 5:47
  • @Haragurodanshi you might want to mention the anime title on the question if possible. Perhaps there's an additional context around it... or just something that most Japaneses even do the mistake...
    – Andrew T.
    Jun 30 at 11:29

It is こうばいぶ. Apparently 購買部 is the correct one, literally meaning "buying department".

According to this chiebukuro answer, since 購 means "to buy", 購買 is the only possibility and means buying.

Practically, こうばいぶ in a school is a small shop that sells sandwiches, pens, notebooks, etc. Since it is a selling place, 購売部 may look natural but is an instance where a wrong usage is familiarized.

As a department in a company, 購買(部門) means procurement (which was the term used in the company I was working for).


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