Here’s some good examples I’ve collected of false friends in Chinese and Japanese – that is, words that are used by the two languages but have different meanings.
There are of course many more than the ones I managed to come up with – if you know of any, please leave them in the comments.
Note that I haven’t included terms like 怪我 (Chinese: “blame me”; Japanese: “injury; wound”), 我慢 (Chinese: “I’m slow” or “(Buddhism) egoism”; Japanese: “patience”) and 切手 (Chinese: “cut the hands”; Japanese: “postage stamp”) as they are not actual words in Chinese the way they are in Japanese. Still, you could argue they are false friends too, as they could be misleading to learners of Japanese who can also speak Chinese.
35 Common False Friends in Chinese and Japanese
In Chinese 私 sī means “personal; private” or “selfish”. In Japanese 私 watashi means “I”. Read more »