Specifically, I'm thinking of 平等, 同等, 対等, 均等, and 互角. I understand that 互角 is usually referring to a small number of things which are really close (seemingly usually in competitions). 同等, according to goo, is subjective equality of degree, and 対等 is equality of abilities. 均等 is about distribution of something (treatment, money, etc), and 平等 usually seems to be about fairness.

But what is the differences between 対等 and 互角? How is 対等 different from 均一? When 対等 is about "treatment" it seems like it is just like 平等. And is there anything else I'm missing from the others?

1 Answer 1


平等(びょうどう) tends to be used in contexts related to equality of rights. See for instance article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights: https://www.mofa.go.jp/mofaj/gaiko/udhr/1b_001.html

同等(どうとう) is used to compare the quality of two items or skill levels. See for instance the requirements for the Japanese Language B program at Sophia University: https://www.sophia.ac.jp/jpn/otherprograms/seiki_jugyo/nd/index.html

対等(たいとう) refers to two counterparts in a discussion or relationship. See for instance the aim of the Ibaraki Prefectural Government to help Japanese and foreigners develop relationships on an equal footing: https://www.pref.ibaraki.jp/seikatsukankyo/josei/kenmin/nihongo.html

均等(きんとう) is about equal distribution, e.g. between genders, age groups, etc. See the following discussion about the distribution of age groups at Sakan: https://www.t-cb.co.jp/recruit/enquete/

互角(ごかく) refers to competition, e.g. in an election or war. See the following article about the Liberals and Conservatives being neck and neck: https://www.vancouvershinpo.ca/news/canada-news/2021/09/17/canada-election-2021-preview/

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