うち vs. いえ?


#1

Hi everyone! I’m almost done with Genki I and getting increasingly confused about the difference between the two words for “house/home”, うち & いえ, and whether they are interchangeable. Does anybody have an answer?


#2

うち is used to talk about the place you live in (maybe it is a house, maybe a department building or other). いえ is a house (the type of building that is called a house).

They both use the same kanji though: 家


#3

And sometimes when you see someone writing about their own 家, it can be either うち or いえ.

Edit: either うち or いえ … depending on what @SleepyOne says below me. :wink:


#4

My understanding is that うち is closer to “home”, which encompasses the house, the environment, your family within, etc. While いえ is simply closer to “house.” There’s a couple examples here.


#5

Agreeing with above based on this video by japanesepod101!


#6

I see! Thanks a bunch guys! :slight_smile:


#7

うち reminds me of that cute manga チーズスエートホーム in which little kitten チ loses her way home. This may help you remember which is which, too :slight_smile:


#8

Oh no, 可愛すぎる


#9

Aw, this is adorable! Is the manga readable if your level is intermediate/advanced beginner?


#10

If anyone is suggesting that いえ can’t be used for an apartment, that’s not true. The distinction being made by that video, for instance, is just that いえ is a physical place, whereas うち can mean more than just the physical place.


#11

So, いえ is house where うち is home?

うち is where your 心 is.


#12

You could understand Chi’'s Sweet Home even if you knew no Japanese.


#13

Yes, I think so - It’s simple enough to actually read a great deal of dialogue. Some of the pages are a bit harder, but you can pick up a lot from context and start picking up on things as you learn. I’d recommend this series because, while it is quite simple, it’s pretty endearing and enjoyable. :blush:


#14

As @Leebo said (and as I found out the hard way coming to Japan), いえ refers to a physical residence in general, not particular type of residence that is a house. 一戸建て (いっこだて) refers to a house as opposed to an apartment. うち is the home found in the phrase “there’s no place like home.” いえ is where you live.


#15

迷子迷子の子猫ちゃん


#16

…This is fantastic, thanks for sharing! I think I recognize the melody from My Neighbours the Yamadas - it plays on their car radio when they’ve just realized they left their daughter at the mall. :grin:


#17

Hi,
To fully understand the Japanese language I advise you to learn Japanese culture and history as well.
In my history book there is 6 pages about the concept いえ.
I won’t write it here though :rofl:
The main point is that いえ is household but much wider than in western culture, it is formed of several generations, also the passed ones.


#18

What history book do you use?


#19

We studied the only Finnish written book of Japanese history and culture. We also used a very wide English written book A History of Japan 1-3 by Sansom George


#20

Very helpful, thanks