The difference between ‘daijina’ (大事な) and ‘taisetsuna’ (大切な)


The meanings of ‘daijina’ (大事な) and ‘taisetsuna’ (大切な)

‘daijina’ (大事な): 

‘Daijina’ is an adjectival verb and there is also a noun ‘daiji’. Here, however, we are only concerned about the adjectival verb form.

Meaning ① recognizing the value of something and cherishing it

       e.g. ‘daijina takaramono’ (valuable treasure)

      ‘O-karada wo o-daiji ni.`
      (Take good care of yourself. [literally: Treat your body as a treasure.])

Meaning ② being important

       e.g. ‘daijina yakume wo hatasu’ (to fulfil one’s important duty) 

      ‘daijina tokoro wo yoku benkyō suru’ (to study important sections very carefully)

‘taisetsuna’ (大切な)

‘Taisetsuna’ is an adjectival verb but, unlike ‘daijina’, there is no noun form.

Meaning ① being very important

       e.g. ‘taisetsuna shigen’ (very important resources) 

Meaning ② handling/dealing with something very carefully because it is important

       e.g. ‘Bijutsuhin wo taisetsu ni atsukau.’ (To handle works of art very carefully) 

      ‘O-karada wo taisetsu ni nasatte kudasai.’
(Take good care of yourself. [literally: Do handle your body very carefully.])

Two words, ‘daijina’ (大事な) and ‘taisetsuna’ (大切な), are almost synonymous!

You can see from the above examples that the two words are almost synonymous and very often interchangeable. It often happens that the word ‘daijina’ is explained by the word ‘taisetsuna’ and vice versa, for example, in dictionaries.

You should realize that the basic meaning of both words is ‘being important’.

Some Japanese people claim that ‘daijina’ is a more emotive word, and ‘taisetsuna’ more objective, but there is not really such a difference.

Here let us exchange the two words using the above examples, and see what happens in their meanings!

   ‘daijina takaramono’ ➔ ‘taisetsuna takaramono’(Both mean ‘a valuable treasure’!)

   ‘daijina yakume wo hatasu’ ➔ ‘taisetsuna yakume wo hatasu’
(Both mean to ‘fulfil one’s important duty’!)

   ‘daijina tokoro wo yoku benkyō suru’ ➔ ‘taisetsuna tokoro wo yoku benkyō suru’ (Both mean to ‘study important sections very carefully’!)


   ‘taisetsuna shigen’ ➔ ‘daijina shigen’(Both mean ‘very important resources’!)

   ‘O-karada wo taisetsu ni nasatte kudasai.’ ➔ ‘O-karada wo daiji ni nasatte kudasai.’ (Both mean ‘Take very good care of yourself.’)


As for ‘O-karada wo o-daiji ni’, ‘o-daiji ni’ is idiomatic, but ‘o-taisetsu ni’ is not. So you cannot say ‘O-karada wo o-taisetsu ni’! Instead, you should say, ‘O-karada wo taisetsu ni’, without the polite prefix ‘o-’, or ‘O-karada wo taisetsu ni nasatte kudasai.’


   I hope you have understood that the two words, ‘daijina’ and ‘taisetsuna’, are almost synonymous and very often interchangeable.


If you have any questions, do get in touch using the space for comments.

I shall also correct your sentences which incorporate these two words.

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