Kawa (皮/革 – Skin/Leather)

  • Kawa


    The English words “skin” and “leather” are both referred to as kawa (かわ) in Japanese.
    英語の “skin” と “leather” は、どちらも日本語で「かわ」といいます。

    However, those kanji are different: 皮 is used to mean “skin,” whereas 革 is used to mean “leather.”
    ただし、”skin” を意味する場合は「皮」、”leather” を意味する場合は「革」の漢字が使われます。

    (Note that there is also a homonym kawa (川/河), which means “river.”)
    (同音異義語に “river” を意味する「川/河」もあるので注意してください。)

    Basically, just like in English, 皮 (skin) refers to a “surface covering of an animal, plant, or food,” and 革 (leather) refers to a “tanning processed animal skin.”

    Besides, there is a word hikaku (皮革), which is a combination of 皮 and 革.

    Hikaku (皮革) literally refers to both “(animal) skin” and “leather.”

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