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書くと描くと画くの違い/Homonym: The difference between three かく(kaku) written in different kanji

In Japanese, there are many homonyms which are words that have exactly the same reading but have different meanings. This article focuses on かく(kaku). 書く, 描く, 画く all have same reading かく(kaku) but meaning slightly differs. When you are not sure which one to use, refer to the ways to differentiate them.


書く: To write. Used when writing letters.


描く: To draw or to paint. Used when drawing pictures or diagrams in detail.


画く: To draw. Used when drawing pictures or diagrams.


As you can tell from the above description, 描く and 画く are used in almost the same way. 描く is used for drawing with fine details such as manga, but 画く is used for drawing simple pictures or diagrams. However, since 画く is not a regular kanji, today the word 描く is used for drawing pictures and diagrams. On the other hand, 書く is a word used when writing letters or sentences. As 書く cannot have meanings of to draw, 描く is used to describe the scenery or the psychology of the characters in the novels.


Examples of 書く (To write)

手紙を書いて送った

てがみをかいておくった

Tegami wo kaite okutta

I wrote the letter and sent it.


小説を書いて応募した

しょうせつをかいておうぼした

Shosetsu wo kaite oubo shita

I wrote a novel and submitted it to a competition.


物語を書くのが好きだ

ものがたりをかくのがすきだ

Monogatari wo kakunoga sukida

I like writing stories.


Examples of 描く (To draw/paint)

漫画を描く

まんがをかく

Manga wo kaku

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