Pharmacy, Pharmacology, Pharmaceutics- Is it really just one word in Japanese?

I just learnt the vocabulary 薬学。 The meanings given are “study of pharmacy”, “pharmacology” and “pharmaceutics”. In English, all three are different but related fields. Do the Japanese have different words for the different subjects or do they lump all the fields together in one word? It’s almost like having “computer science”, “information technology” and “programming” under one umbrella term.

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If you look at a Japanese definition, they have more specific terms for more specific fields, this is just a general term that probably is only used in a general sense.


Wikipedia can often be a good source for looking up specific terms like this; just search the article in English and then change the language to Japanese - though of course this only works if the aforementioned article actually has an equivalent on Japanese Wikipedia.

Doing this with the terms you listed gave me 薬理学 (やくりがく) for pharmacology and 薬剤学 (やくざいがく) for pharmaceutics. I bet this would work for looking up the names of other fields like IT and programming as well :+1:


Thank you for the terms. This just clarifies that 薬学 is not pharmacology or pharmaceutics as given on WaniKani. So now, what do I put as an answer?

Noun, No-adjective
1. (study of) pharmacy; pharmaceutics​

It does mean pharmaceutics. It seems like an umbrella term for the field of pharmacy.

Huh? No it’s basically everything related to pharmacy, so you can put those things and be correct. I think you’re letting the fact the English doesn’t have an exactly equivalent umbrella term get in the way here.

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Pretty much what @Leebo is saying. It’s not rare for one of language to have a sweeping word for what others have more of. (In the case of English, consider how “fire” only refers to flames in general, while Japanese distinguishes between both 火事 for uncontrollable/uncontrolled fire, and 火 and others for other types of fire, or how both wood and trees are 木.)

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Thanks for all the replies. I understand now.

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