What is the difference between 建 and 築?

Question is basically in the title. Thank you in advance.

The difference is that one is 建 and one is 築. They’re different kanji, they look different, they’re pronounced differently.

They both have meanings associated with building and constructing. They’re used together in the word 建築(けんちく) - architecture.

建’s main kun’yomi word is ()てる - to build. This is mainly used for buildings, but can be used abstractly to refer to building an organization, a nation, etc
築’s main kun’yomi word is (きず)く - to build. This is a bit more abstract, referring to building something from scratch, or something like accumulating the results of hard work over a long period of time.

Other than this, there’s plenty of other uses of these kanji in different words, that can be completely unrelated to each other.

Kanji are building blocks of words. Sometimes when multiple kanji have close meanings, you can find them as alternate spellings for the same kun’yomi words, with different nuances, like ()く and ()く, other times you’ll find them both in the same on’yomi jukugo, and other times, you’ll find them used in different words altogether.


It’s more meaningful to look at differences as they appear in actual words, since neither 建 nor 築 can be words on their own.

So if there are compounds or verbs that use them you don’t understand, please offer those and we could get into those details.


Fundamentally they are the same, like the words ‘build’ and ‘construct’ in English. However, they are not words in isolation, they are roots like English uses Latin and Greek prefixes. The difference depends on how you use the root in other vocabulary.


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