Are there other instances in Japanese where a kanji compound has two or more readings that all carry the same or very similar meanings, akin to the use of 明日 for tomorrow, which can be read as あした, あす, and みょうにち?


1 Answer 1


There are quite a few instances in Japanese where this happens, mostly because the Japanese already had a word for something(like あす for tomorrow), then they imported the Chinese word for that thing and installed the native reading onto it as the kun-yomi(like the kanji 明日), but then in formal contexts instead of 訓読み, they'd actually read the Kanji's by their 音読み. Just like in formal settings, 明日 is not あす・あした but みょうにち.

Other examples:

  • 昨日{きのう} vs 昨日{さくじつ}
  • 泡沫{うたかた} vs 泡沫{ほうまつ}
  • 紫陽花{あじさい} vs 紫陽花{しようか}
  • 白髪{しらが} vs 白髪{はくはつ}
  • 今年{ことし} vs 今年{こんねん}
  • Great examples, thank you!
    – j--
    Commented May 29, 2023 at 7:13

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