助力 (Level 8)

My Japanese wife has never heard of this word. Has anyone seen this one in the wild? If so, how was it used?

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It is actually labelled as ‘common’ in my dictionary. Although I cannot recall having seen it now that you mention it.

It has tons of examples listed beneath the definition though.

It seems to be mostly used in a business context. See some examples on this page I found:


「助力」の意味とビジネスでの使い方、類語、敬語・謙譲語、英語表現を解説 - WURK[ワーク]


I got 153 results for it in the Balanced Corpus of Contemporary Written Japanese, which means it’s not terribly common (usually common words have thousands of hits), but it’s also not super obscure either (that would be more like tens of hits).




Here we go again…


This was a great response. Thank you…

…Except that I wasn’t complaining… just asking how people have seen it used, since as Leebo has stated, it’s not terribly common.


Usually “my Japanese wife doesn’t know this word” is code for “this word is useless.” We’re just too used to that meme.


I got 153 results for “my Japanese wife doesn’t know this word” in the Balanced Corpus of Contemporary Written English.


Isn’t it surprising to know that even native speakers don’t know every word in their language?


You’re right. Just the other day I learned the English word “jentacular”. It means anything related to breakfast! :slight_smile:


Just for your information, 助力 apparently exists in Chinese as well, but I’ve never seen it as a Chinese native speaker even though the kanji that constitute it are quite basic. The second definition in my Chinese dictionary, ‘a force that aids’, makes intuitive sense to me, but the first, ‘to provide assistance’ is a little less intuitive, because 助 itself is a verb that means ‘to help/assist’, whereas 力 is usually a noun that means ‘strength’ or ‘force’… Unless the idea is that when one ‘supports (someone else’s) efforts’, one ‘helps’? (This analysis is pointless in Japanese because in order to use 助力 as a verb, adding する suffices. No question need be asked.)

My point is just that perhaps it’s not the most obvious/natural choice for a word meaning ‘help’, which might explain why it’s comparatively rare even if it’s accepted as a proper word.

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I just saw 助力 in a light novel (Ascendance of a bookworm, volume 4).

Because of this topic, I was expected to spot it in some kind of complicated or rare situation, or in business writing, but it was actually used in a surprisingly plain dialog.

「どうなさいますか?[…] それとも、[…] 余所の神殿に助力を乞いますか?」

What will you do ? […] Or are you going to beg for help from other temples?
(Sorry, I removed the […] part because it’s serious spoiler)

Edit: It just keep coming


Always the same expression though, 誰かに助力を乞う


I just heard this word in Youjo Senki


Level 21 and reading light novels. Throw me some tips :sweat_smile:

Disappointing answer: I did a reset from level 60 :stuck_out_tongue:

Unfortunately, no good tips from me because around level 20 (and grammar ~N4) the first time around I just plainly couldn’t read any native content without going crazy, and I tried really hard. I guess I have a low tolerance for ambiguity… So I went back to things like textbook, graded reader, NHK easy news, satori reader, and also buckled up, studied N3 grammar and got to WK level 40~50. Finally at that time native content started to get understable enough to be enjoyable.


Level on Wanikani is next to nothing. Some may be on level 60 but their grammar and vocab pool might not be enough to understand complex materials.

Some of them might be on the low level but they might have reset their level. Or they could be an advance Japanese user but just start using Wanikani or not using at all but enjoy helping people around this webboard.

Yeah I’m studying N3 grammar and it just start to make sense. I can’t say it’s on the level that one could enjoy reading anything but children’s stories.

And it’s usually immediately followed by “WaniKani is useless” and “I’m quitting forever”

Chinese speaker here, so my appreciation for exactly how much kanji one knows at each WK level is probably really skewed. However… the hard thing about light novels isn’t so much the number of kanji (though some authors use a lot of them) as it is the number of ways each can be used. For example, when I opened one of my first light novels in Japanese, I saw 押さえ〜 as part of a compound verb, whereas 押す was the only verb using 押 I knew at the time. Sure, I could tell there was some kind of ‘force’ or ‘suppressing’ involved, but I had no idea what to make of it.

Knowing a good amount of grammar and some basic vocabulary is probably a lot more helpful for reading LNs than knowing a lot of kanji and vocabulary and very little grammar. Grammatical knowledge will let you break sentences down and easily spot holes in your comprehension when reading sentences, so you know what to look up. Vocabulary knowledge, in contrast, might leave you struggling to put together the meaning of the entire sentence if you don’t know enough about grammar.

As mentioned above, having a grammar level roughly equivalent to N3 is probably the point where ‘normal’ native material starts to become meaningful. Granted, my first textbook was designed to take the reader to N3, and I didn’t do much Japanese outside of that textbook while studying it (watching some anime aside), so I don’t have clear memories of what the limitations of being at N4 are, but I couldn’t do much in Tokyo after doing only 22/98 lessons (I could barely form sentences), and I was completely incapable of handling embedded/long relative clauses. All that starts becoming easier around N3.

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