出所 with reading しゅっしょ means "release from prison" rather than "source" to Japanese speakers. でどころ means "source"

Hello all, sorry if this has been posted before but I didn’t see it earlier. Also, sorry to complain, I’m loving WaniKani but I feel like the only time I post is to point out mistakes or make complaints.

Apologies out of the way, I’ve just recently run into an issue with the level 8 vocabulary word 出所. While I was reviewing this word my three Japanese coworkers expressed surprise that I was reading about prison. Apparently their first instinct with this word, read しゅっしょ, is that it’s a verb about being released/discharged from prison, typically with する at the end.

This is obviously quite different from the provided meanings of “source”, “origin”, or “place of origin”.

After much confusion it came to light that this does have a (fairly obscure) meaning of “source”, when read でどころ, which my IME confirms is a valid reading for the compound. 2/3 of my Japanese coworkers were surprised to learn that 出所 can mean “origin”, and had to look it up in a Japanese dictionary.

For reference, these are modern Japanese speakers living in the greater Tokyo region of Japan of varying ages (~20, ~30, and ~50 years old). They agree that でどころ means origin/source, and that it can be written with the same kanji. The consensus though is that the strong relation with prisons overshadows the other meaning quite heavily.

On further examination, the second provided WK example sentence for 出所 uses it as a する verb:
When you get out of the prison, please return the favor, okay?

Hopefully someone with more experience than me can chime in on whether or not this is an error and whether or not WK should instead teach the reading でどころ (or keep the current reading and change/add to the meaning). I’m by no means an expert or even a true intermediate, just going based on the very vocal reactions this word garnered in my office.

Thanks for your time.


Tagging native speakers among WK staff for attention: @mamimumason @TofuguKanae


Seems to me that it very well can mean source as a noun.


Wisdom dictionary has:

しゅっしょ 出所
(情報などの) a source.
trace [give] the source of the rumor.
The news comes from a reliable source.
be released from prison / get out of prison.

I would be surprised if your coworkers wouldn’t understand the example sentences :wink:

でどころ 出所
(源) a source.
the source of the rumor.
I don’t know who supplied the money [(どこからその金が出たか) where the money came from].


Just tested it on them, they read these as でどころ


Not trying to pick a fight, just sharing. It seems a pretty widespread thing (mistake?) to have 出所 tagged in English dictionaries as being read しゅっしょ rather than でどころ.

My personal theory is that the prison connotation is so strong the other (potentially substandard?) reading is preferred. But again, you guys are far more the experts than me.


J → J dictionary

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I came to trust the Wisdom dictionary, it’s an English learners dictionary for Japanese natives that you can only get in Japanese app stores (highly recommended if you are in Japan!)

But the context sentences in WK are also written and the entries checked by natives, just jisho wouldn’t be too trustworthy :slight_smile:


You can’t really argue against natives, if they feel like you wouldn’t use it that way you have to be careful. But it’s not wrong :slight_smile: WK doesn’t really give good insights in how to use the vocab or what the connotations are, you have to check J-J sources as well, and in the best case get some live feedback from natives like you did.

What do they think about 入所? WK has admission, entrance, imprisonment, internment, it should be pretty similar then.


Thanks for the tip! I’ll definitely check it out.

You kinda can though, depending on the circumstances, because they can bring their own biases and word selection to the table. Source is absolutely one of the meanings of 出所 even if it has multiple meanings.

And it’s the first meaning in 大辞林.

Feel free to listen to what they say and of course don’t use WK for everyday conversation vocab (that’s not what it’s for) but if you read 出所 it is not necessarily about prison and reading is what WK is for.


I think the biases of native Japanese speakers when speaking and reading Japanese are pretty good ones to have :wink:. I’ve no interest in one upping the natives, I’d just like to get closer to equal footing with them.

I appreciate your input, but my main concern is that, prior to this whole thing I didn’t know that 出所 meant anything other than source (and the logically related translations). Prison is a pretty big semantic step away from that, and one that I would quite like to know when initially learning the word, especially if that’s the first thing a native speaker sees when presented with the word. I’ll be reading native materials designed with a native audience in mind, so I’d kinda like to get the word meaning that matches the original reading 出所 (しゅっしょ) or 出所 (でどころ).


WaniKani actually mentions this in the vocab: “Note: Some Japanese people may look at this word and think about someone being released from prison, but that’s really only in spoken Japanese. For our purposes (reading comprehension), remember this as source!”


Wow I completely missed that, thank you! My only remaining concern is that when reading this word as source my coworkers use the reading でどころ :thinking:


See the post below yours. What context did you give the natives when you asked about it? That’s why I say take their input with a grain of salt, because rarely do they know what WK is for. Or users don’t mention what WK is for.

Additionally, natives are not linguists. They may not even be aware of how often word usages differ by context.

We have threads regularly where someone says a native told them “we never say that word” but of course they knew the word and then the person who made the topic ends up seeing the word in writing later on.


Also, WK has the other direction, https://www.wanikani.com/vocabulary/入所 , as imprisonment and incarceration, maybe it’ll help remember or further hint at the prison release analogy.


I agree with your point about linguists and not realizing what they know/how it changes. I’ve noticed that with myself and English more times than I can count.

re: context, one of them walked past my computer and saw the word in big characters on the screen. Asked why I was reading about prison.

Ah the “over the shoulder unsolicited commentary”. That one is more common with spouses but I suppose coworkers and whatnot are second most common.

My favorite one was a thread where a wife scoffed at learning “aircraft carrier” here on WK and then they were watching news that night together and it showed up.


I mostly agree with you, it’s sometimes baffling how even groups of natives can contradict what’s in the dictionary.

What I meant is that if you know that people don’t agree that しゅっしょ and でどころ should be equivalent then you shouldn’t bring it up in the “wrong way” a conversation, even with dictionary evidence. Of course if you see it written somewhere you should still have an open mind (but even then you could read it both ways).

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Howdy everybody.

First, both 出所 (しゅっしょ) and 出所 (でどころ) can mean source, origin, or place of origin.
The former is an On’yomi word (Kango) that is more formal, whereas the later is a Kun’yomi word (Wago) that is more casual.

So, if you speak officially, or when it’s written, it’s usually read as しゅっしょ. For example, if you see something like: 「出所: 2018 Tofugu 記事」(source: 2018 tofugu article) as a citation, it’s always read as しゅっしょ. When it’s spoken (when it’s casual), it can be either しゅっしょ or でどころ and it’s just your preference which one to use.

Sadly, we can’t add 出所 (でどころ) as a new vocab because Wanikani can only has one word that has the same kanji by our system. We just choose the most useful one when there are multiple readings. Thus, please memorize でどころ on your own.

出所 (しゅっしょ) also means release from a prison (noun/suru-verb), and that’s why we have the example sentence. We were debating about this term, but I forget why we decided not to add the meaning to our vocab. @anon20839864 ??


But you can add a second reading to 出所 (with a note saying that しゅっしょ can mean “source” or “released from prison” while でどころ can only mean “source”). One vocab can have multiple readings, right? For example 工場 has two readings こうじょう and こうば.