The many words of Law, how do i differenciate them

There are so many words for Law/Laws stuff like that. I understand that they are used differently and through immersion i’ll pick up the differences, when to use each one, etc. For example there’s 法規, 法則, 法律, 規律 (this one says it’s called rules, but I still get mixed up). I’m talking about wanikani’s reviews in this situation.

Do you jumble them all together so when you see one of them, you think law? Or do you have specific mnemonics for each to differentiate them?

I’ll probably get past it if I make specific mnemonics, just wondering if anyone else struggled with this.


I looked at the context sentences to get a rough idea and waited to get a more concrete understanding from immersion. If I really need to understand a word’s nuance better I look it up in a J-J dictionary. It’s a lot more work, especially when your vocabulary is still small, but it’s worth the effort.


I see 律 and guess law and 法 as law
I hope that’s not going to hurt me further down.


As a Chinese speaker, this is how each one feels to me:

法規 – rules, fairly binding, set things in place
法則 – for some reason, these feel like the sorts of rules you’d find in a book or manual… they’re closer to principles, and probably have a specific context of application, so they’re less binding in general
法律 – law in the broad sense, usually imposed by a government at a state or national level
規律 – order as created by rules and standards

Kanji by kanji, I guess it would be
法 – law, method; may evoke doing things the right way
規 – rules, things that have been set
律 – order, everything lining up
則 – principles, guidelines

I’m writing all this with only cursory references to the dictionary, and it’s been a long time since I’ve used these words, so I could be wrong, but hopefully I’m not wrong about the general feel of each word and kanji. (In any case, as an afterthought, if you analyse each word and compare it to what I said about each kanji, you’ll notice that they line up. I was worried that they wouldn’t fit together, but it seems my feel for these characters is thankfully still internally coherent.)

I guess that works, but each is a slightly different type of law. Hahaha.