型 and 形 the same word?

Are 型 and 形 the same word in Japanese with different kanji depending on the nuance?

I just noticed the 音読み and 訓読み are the same.

No, they aren’t. The former I’ve seen used mostly in the context of a machine’s or product’s model or type (like a model of printer for example) where as the latter is used more for the shape or figure of something or used in linguistics terms to talk about form or tense such as 活用形.


From what I searched these two kanjis aren’t similar but the Japanese language has many kanjis that can mean the same thing but with slight difference like for example 花 and 華 both share the on’yomi and kun’yomi readings and both mean flower but the latter one you would IIRC see in poetry, songs? Feel free to correct me and fill me up on this.


True. The two kanji have the same on’yomi and kun’yomi readings on WK but they’re not the same word. However, WK doesn’t list all possible readings or possible combinations of readings. For example, ningyou means doll and genkei means prototype, i.e. 人形 means doll and 原型 means prototype. While 形 has two on’yomi readings, けい and ぎょう, 型 seems to have only one, けい, at least according to one of my dictionaries. Lots of kanji seem to have identical readings but different meanings and uses. I hope this makes sense to you.


Thanks all! That clears up a lot. :smiley:

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They share a kunyomi, but it’s not like they’re identical. 型 can’t be read as かたち.


Please, look again ぎょう is an onyomi for 形 but not for 型.

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Don’t I know it :sob: (well, no - seemingly I don’t)