Luck, good luck, luck, grrrrr

Is there any difference?!! I am always typing the wrong one. Or is the ‘luck’ genuinely neutral and the ‘good luck’ good?

And I haven’t seen any ‘bad luck’ yet at my level. I’m guessing that’s going to be a twist on ‘luck’ and not ‘good luck’.

I should just stop moaning and buckle down… get a better mnemonic stuck in my head.

And should I infer that the Japanese culture puts a lot of store by luck and fortune? I don’t think we have many words for it in English (or maybe we do. luck. fortune. fate…)

(sorry for venting)

Yeah that’s right. Usually the abstract meaning vocab like these don’t have exact meaning in another langauges. So they usually fall into a spectrum of meaning. They are not actually or always mean luck, good luck, and vice versa, depending on their contexts and usage


Are you talking about 福 and 吉?

Disclaimer: It is definitely likely that I’m not getting the nuances right, but you made me wonder as well.

The descriptions seems like they both mean good fortune when taken on their own.

But when I look around on jisho for words that include 福, I’m also seeing a lot of links to words like 福祉 “social welfare.” Or 福引 “lottery.” With those words, you can see how bringing “luck” or “fortune” into the word makes sense, but it also doesn’t strictly mean “good luck.” You don’t know if you’ll be lucky in a lottery - that’s up in the air. It is a form of good fortune to receive government welfare, but it isn’t exactly straight-up “good luck.”

When looking up things for 吉, I really only get hits having to do with happy times, fortunate, luck.

That’s at least what a cursory google search my super solid research has me believe.


I reckon so. Unless you’re in the middle of the wilderness, you’re never more than five minutes’ walk from a temple or shrine willing to sell you omikuji or omamori. And then there’s blood-type fortune telling…


Thank you all for your supportive comments :slight_smile:

yeah @Omun I’m stuck in a loop with confusing
運 and 幸運 (luck, good luck) and
also 福 and 幸福 (luck and happiness)
so one time, combining the two means good luck and the other time it means happiness.
I suppose the spirit in the ‘happiness’ combination can smile and be happy. Maybe that’s how I can remember it.
(as always, one needs to sit down and figure these things out in a rational manner rather than throwing a fit)

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