漢字: Chinese characters as used in Japanese writing as opposed to the two kana syllabaries and romaji Latin letters.

learn more… | top users | synonyms

17
votes
4answers
2k views

Distinguishing certain characters in handwriting and print (Similar-looking Kana and Kanji)

Japanese has some sets of characters which look very similar or even identical. Obviously, context is usually more than enough to distinguish which character is intended, but I'm wondering if there ...
24
votes
6answers
786 views

Why are some lyrics' words written in kanji whose usual reading is not how it is sung?

Some song lyrics in the official lyric book that accompanies the CD is sung as another word. Usually, the way it is sung is given as a furigana on the kanji: Written: 君が希望に変わってゆく          ...
16
votes
3answers
572 views

Kanji for native Japanese concepts: Kun'yomi spanning multiple morphemes

There are a few words, which are written with Kanji imported from China, but where the intended native Japanese meaning would prefer a different choice of Kanji. My favourite examples are 雷 vs. 神鳴り ...
12
votes
2answers
396 views

On the replacing of kanji made obsolete in the 1946 reforms with similar-looking kanji.

This is my understanding but please correct me if some of my details are wrong: In 1946 the Japanese language underwent a reform and standardization process A set of 1850 kanji were made official ...
11
votes
4answers
1k views

When Chinese personal names are written in Japanese in kanji is there always an obvious reading?

In their comment to an answer on the question "Are foreign personal names usually written in katakana rather than Romaji?", user sawa says: ... Chinese names should be written in kanji rather than ...
9
votes
3answers
2k views

When should I replace kanji with hiragana?

When should I write 海山 and when should I write うみやま?
16
votes
2answers
514 views

When writing for general public, is there a general guideline for selecting kanji?

After reading numerous publications, I've spotted a trend or custom on determining whether kanji is or is not used for certain words. The most obvious ones are: こと・事 …が実は犯人だったということがわかる。 ...
8
votes
2answers
395 views

Are there general rules on when to use kanji vs. kana?

This post is inspired by Tokyo Nagoya's comment in 出来できる vs ~えます form for “can”, “able to” asking why everyone was writing 出来る in kanji in their responses. As I mentioned in my reply to his comment, ...
12
votes
5answers
1k views

Why are there two versions of the kanji for "tsumetai'?

The screenshot below is from Kotoba for iPhone. It shows the character for "cool", as used in the word "tsumetai". However, the character in the stroke order diagram is slightly different to the ...
10
votes
3answers
903 views

Is it possible to tell whether a word is kanji or hiragana without reading it?

Is it possible to tell whether a word would be written in kanji or if it would be written in hiragana without actually reading it, like it is reasonably easy to tell if a word is likely to be written ...
10
votes
5answers
986 views

Is there an objective source of the origins of kanji?

Is there an authoritative source that explains where the different kanji come from and what the radicals mean? I think it's hard to tell from most of the textbooks/other sources whether a shown ...
17
votes
4answers
498 views

What are the origins of ヶ?

The ヶ in e.g. 一ヶ月 is a bit of an odd character - it looks a lot like a small version of the katakana ケ, but is it derived from that katakana originally? Or is it a normal kanji? Or is it something ...
12
votes
1answer
568 views

What is the role of 空書 (writing kanji in the air) in modern Japanese?

What is the role of 空書{くうしょ} in modern Japanese? 空書 is tracing characters in the air with your finger (or on a flat surface), a phenomenon which apparently develops only in users of Chinese ...
12
votes
4answers
247 views

History of 十干(じっかん)and modern uses

As I was studying vocabulary today, I happened to come across the titular 十干 which are as follows: 甲(こう)• 乙(おつ)• 丙(へい)• 丁(てい) •戊(ぼ)• 己(き)• 庚(こう)• 辛(しん)• 壬(じん)• 癸(き) There's a somewhat lengthy ...
7
votes
1answer
810 views

Etymology of 出来る dekiru

An entry of Tae Kim's blog suggested that 出来る came from Chinese word 出来 that does have the nuance of potentiality, but the most recent visitor's comment claimed that the usage of 出来 in Chinese to show ...
7
votes
7answers
1k views

What are the advantages/disadvantages of writing in romaji instead of kanji, hiragana, and so on?

Romaji is somewhat of a conversion from kanji, hiragana, and so on to the Roman alphabet. What are the disadvantages of learning only or mostly romaji aside from being unable to read/write in kanji? ...
12
votes
2answers
1k views

Which kanji to use for saying ありがとうございます in emails?

When sending emails, I've noticed that Japanese colleagues use all sorts of kanji/kana combinations for the simple phrases ありがとうございました and よろしくおねがいいたします. For example: ありがとうございました 有難うございました ...
11
votes
3answers
1k views

About writing numbers using Japanese numerals vs using Arabic numerals

I noticed that even though Japanese language has kanji characters for numbers (e.g. 十、百、千、万 etc), there are many places where Arabic numerals are used instead, for example, prices for shop items are ...
10
votes
2answers
577 views

do people actually respect the nuances of 探す vs 捜す?

Part 1 I understand 探す to be to search for something (general) and 捜す to be to search for something lost But do people actually care about the difference in nuance when they use it? I mean do ...
7
votes
2answers
478 views

Significance of the kanji 茶 in the set phrase 滅茶滅茶{めちゃめちゃ} / 目茶目茶{めちゃめちゃ}

While having fun looking up random words in my dictionary software, I found out that the phrase "めちゃめちゃ", which is often used in colloquial sentences like "めちゃめちゃかわいい" has two kanji variants: 滅茶滅茶 ...
6
votes
4answers
2k views

What's the best utility for identifying kanji? [closed]

I often run into kanji that I don't recognize and need some way to translate them into kana, so that I'm able to look up the meaning. What's the most useful utility (in any form, web-based, ...
0
votes
1answer
124 views

Intuitive or logical way to know when to use a kanji spelling vs hiragana spelling?

A recurring theme on this site is that foreign learners of Japanese use too much kanji. Often the reaction is puzzlement that we can't "just know the right way". Native speakers literally say they ...
12
votes
4answers
451 views

What determines whether a word gets a kanji compound or katakana?

I read electronics/computing articles, and I find an incredible amount of terms are written either in kanji (almost similar to Chinese) or katakana. There are times when it's confusing as to know why. ...
10
votes
2answers
301 views

About ご[馳走]{ちそう}: two “runs” would give you “a feast”?

ご[馳走様]{ちそうさま}でした is the greeting that people say after being treat a meal while ご馳走 by itself means “a feast”. I looked up this word in the dictionary to learn more about the kanji characters. It ...
6
votes
1answer
311 views

Katakana words with Kanji. How did that happen?

Some words are written with katakana, but also have kanji. For example: コーヒー 珈琲 ページ 頁 How did this happen? They are loanwords, but no doubt had Japanese equivalents before these variants were ...
3
votes
3answers
498 views

Is there a reliable translation of the kangxi radicals?

Inspired by the Wikipedia page on Kangxi radicals I decided to study the meaning and writing of radicals before I tackle the much more numerous kanji. But in working my way through the list, I started ...
1
vote
1answer
635 views

Why is the Japanese government considering adding kanji such as “cancer” to the jinmeiyō kanji?

The wikipedia article on jinmeiyō kanji states: Before September 27, 2004, there were 2232 government-designated jinmeiyō kanji used in personal and geographical names, with plans to increase ...
11
votes
1answer
1k views

Are all kanji compounds considered words?

A friend once commented to me that Japanese has a larger vocabulary than English. I said I didn't think it did, because it wasn't really accurate to call all kanji compounds "words". My friend said I ...
15
votes
2answers
652 views

What's the difference between the kanji forms for わかる?

The verb わかる can be written using either 分かる, 判る, or 解る - what's the semantic difference between these forms, if any?
8
votes
6answers
2k views

Why are there 3 ways of writing in Japanese?

Why are there kanji, hiragana and katakana? Is there a logical reason behind this or just tradition?
8
votes
1answer
379 views

How is 名 pronounced in computer terms?

For usernames, etc., you usually see like ユーザ名 or something similar. Or like on my Skype, it says Skype名. How is the 名 pronounced in these situations? I've never been able to conclusively find this ...
12
votes
2answers
925 views

How close was the Japanese writing system from becoming abolished after World War II?

I remember hearing that the Japanese government planned on abolishing the use of Chinese characters entirely after World War II. I also remember hearing that there was a movement by the American ...
11
votes
2answers
613 views

I can't stand 立つ【た・つ】: Do all its meanings derive from “stand”?

I have an issue with the word 立{た}つ, which is that I get it's basic meaning is "to stand", but I see it used in all sorts of ways that don't make sense to me. Here are some examples, from various ...
4
votes
3answers
562 views

Usage of kanji for words usually written in kana

From a small discussion on chat, I currently can think of three categories where the word is usually written in: Hiragana but have kanji (成る, 有る, [炬燵]{こたつ}, etc) Katakana but have kanji ([頁]{ページ}, ...
11
votes
6answers
407 views

Computer: 計算機 or 計算器?

What is the difference between the two kanji variants for 「けいさんき」, the other word for 「コンピューター」? 計算器 計算機
6
votes
1answer
547 views

What’s an authoritative source for a complete list of official shinjitai kanji?

I found quite a few website tables and software conversors, but none that was both complete and authoritative. Is there any place I can find such a list in digital format? 拡張新字体 would be a nice ...
5
votes
1answer
228 views

“Full” names of metals

When written as a standalone kanji, the following metals have longer, "full" names (based on their colour): [金]{こがね} → こがね [銀]{しろがね} → しろがね [銅]{あかがね} → あかがね [鉄]{くろがね} → くろがね In my ...
19
votes
4answers
5k views

What is 「々」 and how does it affect meaning and pronunciation?

I've seen this symbol in various places, such as 「日々」, 「色々」, and 「人々」. What is it, and how does it affect the meaning and pronunciation of the word?
13
votes
1answer
412 views

Do native speakers consciously use phonetic elements in 形声文字?

Do native speakers of Japanese use phonetic elements when reading less common kanji? For example, does the compound 咆哮 look like ほうこう because of the elements 包 and 孝, even if you haven't learned to ...
13
votes
2answers
570 views

What is the difference in nuance and usage of the two kanji forms for なおす (naosu), 直す and 治す?

Stolen directly from Grigory M's question in the definition phase: http://area51.stackexchange.com/proposals/7526?phase=definition
11
votes
5answers
2k views

What's with this “On reading”/“Kun reading” thing? Is it important to learn both as a beginner?

I was reading this article on Japanese numerals and I first encountered the whole On reading/Kun reading thing, with an additional column on "Preferred reading," which was almost always the On ...
11
votes
2answers
272 views

What exactly is 「だらし」?

WWWJDIC states that 「だらしない」 can be written with kanji as 「だらし無い」, which suggests that the phrase is a negative construction that uses 「無い」, unlike words like 「すくない」 and 「あぶない」. Furthermore, 「だらしが無い」 ...
8
votes
3answers
3k views

Can I write Japanese name “Midori” this way - 緑?

There is female Japanese name "Midori," and I want to know the ways I can write it. I know it means "green," but maybe the name and "green" are different words sometimes. I used google-translator to ...
7
votes
1answer
544 views

Are there no rounded or circular strokes in any 漢字?

Forgive me if this question seems foolish, but perhaps curiosity has gotten the best of me 'cause I am asking away. Every time I sit down to practice some good ol' kanji writing, I can't help but ...
5
votes
3answers
416 views

Japanese language “compression ratio”

Somewhat cryptic title, but a simple question. I start with the (logical?) assumption that kanji makes writing Japanese shorter than using romaji. How shorter is it compared to English written in ...
5
votes
2answers
212 views

Origin of 信じる, 感じる, etc?

Wikipedia claims that Japanese verbs are a closed class and that loanwords from Chinese always use する. 信じる, 感じる seems to be an exception. Why aren't they 信をする and 感をする? Maybe because one kanji is too ...
4
votes
1answer
176 views

“Dive” = “fly into”?

The words 飛ぶ and 跳ぶ are both read as とぶ, the former meaning "to fly" and the latter meaning "to jump" (generally; don't know if they are interchangeable at all). The compound-verb suffix 〜込【こ】む means ...
3
votes
4answers
908 views

Is it acceptable in Japanese to write kanji characters in the Chinese style?

In Japanese, is it acceptable to write kanji letters in the Chinese style? For example, is it acceptable to write 田 with the 3rd and 4th strokes swapped, or 着 with the 6th and 7th strokes combined?
12
votes
2answers
846 views

Which is the “official” kanji for さい, 歳 or 才?

Well if I'm not wrong, usually when a word has multiple kanjis one of them is selected as the "main" or more commonly used one. But is it true that 才 and 歳 are both the "main" kanji for さい?
10
votes
2answers
278 views

What's the difference between 悪 and 惡 ?

I'd like to know what the difference between 悪 and 惡 is. And also what usage you should do between both. I heard that they both mean "bad"