It’s a relief knowing the difference between ‘安心’ and ‘安全’

by Akemi Tanahashi and Hitomi Tashiro

Contributing Writers

Ja, anshin-shite shigoto-ga dekiru-ne. We l then, you can do your work with peace of mind.

Situation 1: Ms. Gray is chatting with Ms. Yamaguchi who has a cat. She shows Ms. Gray her smartphone, which displays a live video of her home.

山口:  私が家にいない間、見守りカメラで猫の様子を見ることができるの。

グレイ:  へえ、すごい! じゃあ、安心して仕事ができるね。

Yamaguchi: Watashi-ga ie-ni inai aida, mimamori-kamera-de neko-no yōsu-o miru koto-ga dekiru-no.

Gray: Hē, sugoi! Jā, anshin-shite shigoto-ga dekiru-ne.

Yamaguchi: While I’m away from home, I’m able to see what my cat is doing with this (online) home monitor.

Gray: Oh, wow! Well then, you can do your work with peace of mind.

Today, we will introduce you two similar words: 安心(あんしん) and 安全(あんぜん). 安心(あんしん) refers to a state of mind in which there is no concern or anxiety. It can mean peace of mind or relief. Examples: 彼(かれ)といっしょにいると、何(なん)だか安心する。 (When I’m with him, I somehow feel comfortable.) 田中(たなか)さんなら安心してこの仕事(しごと)を任(まか)せられます。 (We can trust Ms. Tanaka to do this task.) 精密検査(せいみつけんさ)の結果(けっか)、異常(いじょう)がないとわかって安心しました。 (Upon hearing the results of the complete physical, I was relieved to hear there were no abnormalities.) 安心 is sometimes used as na-adjective as in 取引先(とりひきさき)として、ZI社(しゃ)は安心です。 (We can depend on ZI Co. as a business partner.)

Situation 2: In the middle of a meeting, Mr. Tian and his client Ms. Nakamura notice an earthquake.

中村: あ、地震だ。けっこう大きいですね。

ティエン: 大丈夫です。このビルはしっかりしていますから、安全ですよ。

Nakamura: A, jishin-da. Kekkō ōkii-desu-ne.

Tian: Daijōbu-desu. Kono biru-wa shikkari-shite-imasu-kara, anzen-desu-yo.

Nakamura: Oh, it’s an earthquake. It’s pretty big.

Tian: No problem. This building is firmly built, so it’s safe.

安全 indicates a situation in which there is no danger of physical harm, damage, theft and so on. Examples: この海岸(かいがん)は、泳(およ)いでも安全です。 (It is safe to swim at this beach.) 原発(げんぱつ)の安全性(あんぜんせい)に不安(ふあん)があります。 (We have concerns about the safety of nuclear power plants.) 失敗(しっぱい)は許(ゆる)されないから、安全な方法(ほうほう)をとったほうがいい。 (Failure would be unforgiveable, so it is better to take the safest method.) 東京(とうきょう)は安全な都市(とし)だと言(い)われている。 (It is said that Tokyo is a safe city.)

Bonus Dialogue: Ms. Tamachi is chatting with her colleague Ms. Gray who moved to a new apartment.

グレイ:  荷物(にもつ)の整理(せいり)が終(お)わって、安心(あんしん)した。

田町:  お疲(つか)れさま。新(あたら)しいアパートはどう?

グレイ:   新築(しんちく)だから、とっても快適(かいてき)だし、地震(じしん)が来(き)ても安心なの。家賃(やちん)が高(たか)いけど。

田町:  ほんとう? 私(わたし)も引っ越(ひっこ)そうかな。今(いま)、住(す)んでいるところはあまり安全じゃないみたい。この前(まえ)、近所(きんじょ)の家(いえ)が泥棒(どろぼう)に入(はい)られたんだって。

グレイ:  それは心配(しんぱい)ね。女性(じょせい)の一人暮(ひとりぐ)らしは気(き)をつけないと。でも、安全なところに住もうとすると、家賃が上(あ)がるし。

田町:  そうねえ。でも、それより、何(なん)といっても、安心できる人(ひと)といっしょに住みたいなあ。

グレイ:  うん。そのためには、まず相手(あいて)を見(み)つけなくちゃ。

Gray: I finished organizing my things and at last I feel some relief.

Tamachi: Good work. How’s your new apartment?

Gray: It’s in a new building so it’s really comfortable and I don’t have to worry about earthquakes. The rent is a bit expensive, though.

Tamachi: Really? I think I may move. It seems like the place I live in now isn’t that safe. I heard a house in the neighborhood was robbed a few days ago.

Gray: That’s worrying, eh? A woman who lives by herself needs to be careful. But, if you live in a safe place then the rent goes up.

Tamachi: You’re right. That aside, after all is said and done, I’d like to live with a person that can give me peace of mind.

Gray: Yeah. In order to do that you have to find someone first.