What's the difference between these words?

Inochi and seikatsu?

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Looking at the definitions on Jisho, it seems to me that 命 refers to the concept of life itself, as opposed to the life of a person, as in: “That’s life.” However, 生活 refers to ones livelihood, as in: “My life (livelihood) was taken from me.”
TL;DR, if you can replace it with ‘livelihood’, it’s 生活; if not, use 命 instead.

Of course, take this with a grain of salt. I’m not Japanese, and I’m not a high enough level to where I’ve learned these on WK yet.

Some define “inochi” as “lifeforce”, as in “losing your life” of “giving your life for someone”, etc. It’s a common word but not something you would use everyday.

Seikatsu is a more everyday word, and means more like lifestyle or your everyday life. When I was in Japan, people would ask things like “日本の生活はどうですか?” “How’s your life in Japan?”

There’s another important word for life in Japanese, Jinsei (人生)which is like your…lifespan? A common expression using jinsei is “人生に初めて…” (For the first time in my life)

Hope this helps!


“Lifespan” would literally be 寿命, but 人生 is basically used as you mentioned.

To add another word to the mix, there is 一生, which is like “lifetime.” You can say 一生忘れない, “I’ll never forget (that in my lifetime).”


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