Incorrect meaning of 留守番?

My Japanese officemate noticed me doing my lesson on 留守番 and read the example sentences. He thinks the word “caretaker” isn’t a good English translation to give for 留守番, as he understands it to mean the action of taking care of a house in someone’s absence rather than the person doing such an action.

He also thought the 3rd example sentence in the kanji context section (2ヶ月間旅行したければ、留守番を雇う必要があります。) sounds like odd Japanese, because he doesn’t think they usually say the phrase “留守番を雇う”.

Can any native Japanese person confirm this?

1 Like

Japanese definition for 留守番:



This isn’t a great forum to reach out directly to natives, but as pointed out, monolingual dictionaries are on the side of “it’s both.”

It’s entirely possible for that to not jive with what natives “feel” about the word, but it’s in the dictionary at the very least.

Been a while since we had a good “over-the-shoulder-WaniKani-critique” thread.


Or, what a specific native feels…


Thanks everyone for your quick feedback!
This coworker has seen me studying other words and said the same thing, or said that a certain vocab wasn’t a word that Japanese would naturally use. But I guess it could either be just him (he has said himself that his Japanese isn’t perfect, possibly because of his experience living overseas for a few years)…or I’ve also seen elsewhere on this forum that WK sometimes teaches us kanji/words not necessarily because they’re useful, but because it helps us to learn patterns, etc.


I think there is definitely a vast number of factors at play here. For more information on context and usage, I think this article is actually pretty good: 留守番 - Wikipedia

It would be good to clarify with your coworker how he understands the word “caretaker” in English, because it might be he was thinking of a specific meaning which doesn’t align with what 留守番 means.


That can also vary by age group as well. Some words that kids and young people use today are rarely used by older folks and vice versa. Can also vary by region of Japan one is from or lives in.