Distinguishing between gender and sex in Japanese

Quick disclaimer! I’m not starting a political discussion on gender issues, I’m just clearing up some confusions about the meaning of a kanji.

I’ve recently come across the kanji 性 and noticed it was listed as both “gender” and “sex” in the meanings. But is it used to refer to both in Japanese? Or is there a different word for biological female?

I know that gender issues aren’t a huge thing in Japan so I’m interested in how to say these different words and if they would make sense talking to a native speaker.

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Not sure but looking at the Dictionary this kanji is used for both. However, English words that use “sex” also display several other kanji

gen・der | dʒéndər | 〖原義は3 〗 名詞1 CU⦅かたく⦆ (社会的・文化的)性, ジェンダー, ⦅主に話/遠回しに⦆ (生物学的)性(sex) ▸ gender differences性差. 2 C〖集合的に〗男性, 女性▸ the male [female] gender 男[女]性(全体). 3 UC〘文法〙 (名詞・代名詞などの)性(の区分) ▸ the masculine [feminine, neuter, common] gender 男[女, 中, 通]性. ~́ awàreness 性別意識.~́ bènder ⦅くだけて・けなして⦆ 異性の格好[ふるまい]をする人.~́ bìas 性別による偏見.~́ discriminàtion 性差別.~́ dysphòria 〘医〙 性同一性障害.~́ gàp 男女格差.~́ idèntity 性自認, 性的自己同一性, ジェンダーアイデンティティ〘社会的・文化的に規定された自己の性別の自覚〙.~́ idèntity disòrder = gender dysphoria.~̀ reassígnment 性転換(手術).~́ ròle 性別役割〘性別によって社会的・文化的に期待される役割〙.

sex | seks | 〖原義は2 ; 1 の意は1929年英国の小説家・詩人D. H. Lawrenceの作品Pansiesから〗(形) sexual 名詞複~es | -ɪz | 1 U性交, セックス; 〖形容詞的に〗セックスの ▸ have sex with AAとセックスする ▸ safe sex 安全なセックス〘性病を予防するためにコンドームなどを使うセックス; unprotected sex〙 ▸ a sex partner セックスの相手. 2 UC性, 性別, (動植物の)雌雄(の別)(→ gender) ▸ regardless of age, sex, or occupation 年齢・性別・職業にかかわらず ▸ a single-sex school 〘英〙 男子[女子]校. 3 C〖集合的に〗男[女]の人, 雄[雌]の集団 ▸ the opposite sex異性(の人々) ▸ differences between the sexes 男女の違い ▸ the fair sex 〘やや古〙 女性. 動詞他動詞〖通例be ~ed〗 〈動物が〉性別を見分けられる (!「性交する」の意はない; → make love) . sèx A úp [úp A] A〈文書など〉を大げさにする, おもしろくする.~́ abùse = sexual abuse.~́àct 性交.~́ appèal 性的魅力.~́ chànge 〖通例単数形で〗性転換.~́ chèck (スポーツで, 女子選手に対する)セックスチェック, 性別判定テスト.~́ chròmosome 性染色体.~̀ discriminátion = sexual discrimination.~́ drìve 〖通例単数形で〗性的能力; 性衝動.~́ educàtion 性教育.~́ gòddess ⦅主に報道⦆ 性的に魅力のある映画女優.~́ hòrmone 性ホルモン.~́ìndustry 性産業.~́ kìtten ⦅やや古⦆ 性的魅力のある女性.~́ lìfe 性生活.~́ màniac セックス[色情]狂.~́òbject 性的対象〘単なるセックスの相手〙.~́ offènder 性犯罪者.~́òrgans 生殖器.~́ shòp ⦅英⦆ ポルノショップ.~́ sỳmbol 性的魅力のある有名人 (!特に歌手・俳優など) .~́ tèst = sex check.~́ tòurism 買春目的の外国旅行.~́ wòrker (労働者としての)売春婦.

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sweating

Oh boy, I’m sure this thread won’t become controversial in any way.

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I keep typing and deleting until I gave up.

I don’t have enough time and mental strength to do this. I feel like I was playing a minesweeper game.

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I assume its the same way in english that most people see gender and sex as synonyms, but those who are more accepting of trans/non binary as labels or are a part of tend to use different terms and just see them as different concepts.

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Gender = ジェンダー
Sex = セックス

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I don’t think it directly answers your question, but have you seen this Tofugu article on LGBTQ in Japan? Lots of interesting vocabulary in it.

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This is what I was thinking too! I’m trying to figure out what exactly these terms are and how I can use them though.

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I have read this article a couple times! I like that it has many different terms, but it doesn’t completely answer my question.

I think what I’m looking for is if 男性 and 女性 are only used to refer to biologically male/female or if they’re also used for those who identify as those.

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I think you are looking for 体の性 and 心の性.
Here are some examples from trans related questions on chiebukuro:

I also found a list with a bunch more expressions that weren’t covered in the tofugu article:

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Thanks! This was pretty much what I was looking for. I know that Japan isn’t as advanced as the western world on gender issues but it’s good to see that some native Japanese care about it!

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This is one of my favourite videos on the internet hahahahaha

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Sex isn’t real, you communists.

There, you can all relax now.

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It’s up there for me too hehe

Shinzo abes greatest soldier

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