Frustrating Similiarities

Talking about these two beauties:

しょうぶ 勝負
しょうはい 勝敗

Its not like me to complain (it totally is), but I constantly get these two wrong so I took a quick break from reviews to come here and complain. I know that complaining about them usually helps, so here goes nothing.

Things is I actually went to jisho and copy pasted both of these words without their meanings. I already forgot which word is “win or lose” and which one is “match”

I first thought I must be overlooking something and that its simple, but both use a clam and both have a short of angular thing attached to the clam, so yeah sucks to be me…

I’m actually going to guess right now, I have no idea if what I write here is correct, but I think 勝負 means match and 勝敗 means win or lose? I’m not going to edit this post, but it kind of shows just how confusing these are if I’m wrong ;_;

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This is where it’s best to look up the words in a Japanese only dictionary. From what I see on Goo, they look like synonyms.

Edit: Well 勝負 has an additional definition meaning something like “a match”. But the first definition simply is 勝敗 or 勝ち負け.


This distinction was easy for me because I played Pokémon Sun in Japanese— every time another trainer challenges you to a fight, the game text introducing them says they want a 勝負 :wink:


Maybe compare the length of the words, stupid method perhaps but you never know…

match 勝負・しょうぶ less characters
win or lose 勝敗・しょうはい more characters

match - less characters
win or lose - more characters

勝負 is so common that it seems hard to think you’d be confusing it with 勝敗 once you start consuming enough Japanese content.


But… you were not wrong…

Also, I agree with @Leebo. Every time I get 勝負 I hear a generic anime voice screaming 勝負だぁぁぁぁぁ in my head.
Maybe start watching some sports anime?


I watch a ton of sports anime yet I’ve never heard of that word and can’t really associate it with anything :c

I guess it’s one of those things you never notice until you suddenly feel like it’s everywhere :thinking:

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Probably doesn’t help that BOTH words can mean “victory or defeat” according to Jisho and they are both composed of kanji meaning “win” and “lose/failure/defeat”. This issue could be resolved by adding a synonym to 勝負 so you can just answer both of them with the same response.

But if you want a handle for remembering which one means “Match” here is some additional info that might be helpful:

“勝負 (Shoubu). A Japanese word meaning a game or match, consisting of the characters for win (勝) and loss (負). A shoubugo is a serious, competitive game as opposed to a teaching game (shidougo). A shobute is a move on which victory or defeat hinges.”

Good luck on your reviews!

I haven’t run into 勝敗 yet but I remember 勝負 (しょうぶ) because of video games :smiley: In the Neo Geo fighting game Samurai Shodown, every round of the match starts with the announcer yelling 勝負!

Here’s the start of a fight:

Hope it helps you remember that one at least!

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