For the longest time I was using 肉親 for a blood relative however I have seen 血族 being used. I was wondering if I could get more context on the two. I have looked up the individual kanji in the words.

1 Answer 1


Simply put, 肉親 means your family and 血族 the broader blood relatives.

大辞泉 says it means your parents or siblings. Practically it more often refers to your parents. In some contexts like 遺産をめぐり肉親で争う (conflicts over inheritance among family members), it includes your relatives.

血族 includes your aunts, uncles, cousins etc. So marriages among relatives are called 血族結婚. FYI, not a common word, but there seems to be the word 血族親, which means relatives within 6 steps in the family tree.

  • I was wondering which would be more appropriate to describe relationship with a step-sibling. Mostly, I have used 肉親, but 血族 seemed also plausible.
    – A.M
    Dec 26, 2022 at 22:38
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    @A.M Technically there is a word 法定血族, but I think what you're looking for is 親戚.
    – sundowner
    Dec 26, 2022 at 22:41
  • @A.M Sorry i misread your comment. I think for your own step-siblings, it is more common to use 義理の兄弟・姉妹. See this question.
    – sundowner
    Dec 27, 2022 at 0:28
  • @A.M 血族 ("relatives by blood", "clan") in modern Japanese is something we see mostly in historical dramas, soap operas and fantasy works where bloodline (usually a special one) is emphasized. It's safe to avoid it unless you have a good reason.
    – naruto
    Dec 27, 2022 at 0:51

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