漢字. Chinese characters as used in Japanese writing as opposed to the two kana syllabaries and rōmaji (Latin letters).

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1answer
892 views

Change of kanji like 大坂 to 大阪

Wikipedia says that Osaka used to be spelt 大坂, and is now spelt 大阪. Is there a term for what happened, and does it happen often? Related question: On the replacing of kanji obsoleted in the 1946 ...
5
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3answers
708 views

Relation between kanji readings and meanings

I understand that a kanji can have several possible readings and several (typically related) meanings. Furthermore, I've noticed that a single reading typically corresponds to some subset of the ...
0
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4answers
929 views

How to know what Okurigana signify? [closed]

For example, the kanji for "one" has a kun reading of "hito(tsu)." I looked it up and found that it's the difference between "one" and "one thing," but how could you have known that without ...
6
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2answers
573 views

Does the kanji 妾 still get used by women to refer to themselves?

In this answer, the kanji 妾 was defined as "mistress". I'm not so familiar with this kanji, so I looked it up, and it seems to have about four readings and two definitions. Although I think some of ...
6
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2answers
205 views

不被下候: When was it common, and what were the rules?

In a shrine graffito written in 1559, two carpenters complain: 其時座主ハ大キナコスデオチヤリテ一度モ焼酎ヲ不被下候 'At that time, the high priest (stingy bugger!) gave us not even a drop of shochu to drink.' The form ...
7
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1answer
462 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
888 views

Why did the author use hiragana instead of kanji in the following examples? (長い,幼い)

Could someone please explain why someone would use hiragana instead of the regular kanji? For instance, we have a character for nagai - 長い, but examples using ながい can also be found in dictionaries ...
13
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4answers
652 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. ...
9
votes
1answer
761 views

Why is 「人口」 used to denote population?

I'm just curious at the appearance of 「口」 that makes this word mean "population". Why should it be 「口」 as opposed to any other body part or anything else? Is there a definitive reason or story ...
8
votes
1answer
358 views

Kanji use in these words, 今 vs 未

I'm learning vocabulary from 日本語総まとめN2. In one section they describe four words and group them together (I assume because they have slightly different meanings but somewhat similar). They group them ...
2
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2answers
230 views

Meaning of given character [closed]

I was just wondering the character shown in image is Japanese or not. If yes then can you please tell me the meaning of it.
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2answers
2k 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 ...
7
votes
2answers
5k views

How and when do Japanese children learn kanas and kanji?

I wonder how exactly Japanese children learn to write. It may help a foreigner to know what is important to memorize or not. The only thing I know is that first of all, hiragana are learnt, and then ...
6
votes
1answer
236 views

Which つける do I use?

So I looked up つける and saw it can be written as: 付ける 着ける 附ける And they all seem to have the exact same definition: to attach, to join, to add, to append, etc. So are these "spellings" ...
4
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1answer
109 views

Why does 音物【いんもつ】 contain 音?

When looking up the definition of 音物 (a present or a bribe), I thought it was very odd that it contained the kanji 音. I can't think of what 音 (sound) could have to do with presents or bribes. Is ...
9
votes
2answers
442 views

Kanji 何: why is it missing in 今なにしてる (facebook text in status editbox)?

I had the impression that 何 is pretty common kanji and that it is used in situations as above (after all, 今 is there, so it is not that it wanted to be hiragana-only). Do I understand it right that it ...
4
votes
1answer
657 views

Ruby text in Documents

Note: I know they might not strictly be interchangeable, but I might end up using "Furigana" and "Ruby text" in an interchangeable manner in this question. Hi all, I'm in the process of writing a ...
7
votes
1answer
827 views

Why do some kanji have furigana that are not valid readings?

In my text I read the sentence: あなたが体験したよりもっと[巨]{おお}きく、もっと深くさせてくれる力があるからだ。 (furigana is from the text) I understand 大きく, and I understand some words with 巨 like 巨大. However, when I looked up ...
12
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2answers
931 views

Difference between 丸い and 円い

Both come up with the same reading and definition in Jisho.org (round/circular), and both are listed as common words. Is there any preference between the two or should I simply learn both as ...
3
votes
1answer
354 views

kanji composition question — why these radicals for 出?

My explanatory Kanji dictionary lists 山 and 冂 as radicals used in 出. I see how the first one would be used, but cannot understand the reasoning for the second one. I see two alternatives: 冂 is ...
6
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3answers
383 views

What differences, if any, are there between 婦 and 女?

I came across 婦 from this English-language Wikipedia article. Jisho.org says that 婦 (which contains 女 in it) can mean married woman, but it can mean woman or lady, and it then lists words such as 婦警 ...
6
votes
1answer
699 views

Why does furigana occasionally appear as katakana?

I've seen some kanji whose furigana is actually katakana. For example, see the following manga cover for 桜蘭高校ホスト部. When would a kanji character ever be pronounced as a loan word?
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votes
6answers
1k views

What Does 火信 Mean? [closed]

I saw 火信 tattooed on a gentleman's neck. I looked up the words, but couldn't make sense of their combination... What does it mean?
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2answers
2k 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 ...
8
votes
2answers
289 views

What's the difference between differences? 差 and 違い

What's the difference between 差 and 違い? When would I use each? Which (if either) would I use for describing the difference between something like sample data and the best fitting equation?
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2answers
938 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。 (...
6
votes
1answer
158 views

Are the two kanjis 箇所 and 個所 interchange?

Our customer uses 箇所 but my manager uses 個所 when emailing project status. Are both kanji interchangeable? The context of usage in a sentence is: 一箇所変更しました。 A portion (of the code/software) ...
2
votes
1answer
298 views

What is the difference with 引充 and 引当

I do usually encounter the kanji 引当 but I suddenly encountered the 引充 kanji. My colleague said they mean the same and their reading is the same. when do you use the one over the other? The word that ...
13
votes
4answers
313 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 ...
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2answers
676 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 ...
8
votes
2answers
553 views

Were women unable to learn kanji during the Heian era?

I've read that The Tale of Genji, and similar Heian-era novels such as The Pillow Book, and The Gossamer Years were predominantly or exclusively hiragana, which is also called "women's writing" (女手). ...
7
votes
2answers
1k views

How to write “eastern Tokyo” (or “northern Hokkaido”)

While chatting with a friend about meeting up in eastern Tokyo, I typed in ひがしとうきょう and my Mac dutifully sent 東東京 out the wire. I quickly clarified with ひがし東京 just so she wouldn't think I had made a ...
17
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2answers
534 views

Why does 語 contain 五?

I'm aware the two kanji are often pronounced the same, but why does one contain the other in it?
4
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1answer
256 views

The gender of 子

Is 子 ever used to refer to a boy, or is it always used for girls? Is 悪い子 used only for girls?
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1answer
379 views

What does 台 mean when proceeded by a number (of yen)

I came across this phrase in a news article about a budget reduction: ....6千億円台になる.... I was wondering what this use of 台 means. I did a Google search of 円台 and the amount of yen doesn't seem to ...
4
votes
2answers
153 views

What is the nuance of 解{げ}す?

Today in my JLPT text book, I came across the word 解{げ}す. I know that the kanji 解 means "unravel", and it can be read 解{わか}る, and with that reading it's synonymous with 分{わ}かる, "to understand". When ...
11
votes
1answer
424 views

What does さようなら (左様なら) have to do with “left”?

What is the relationship between 左様なら and 左? I assume there's some idiomatic meaning for "left" but how does it fit?
12
votes
3answers
706 views

Nuance, usage and etymology of お[出]{い}で

I observed in drama and anime (being outside Japan, those are my only ways of keeping in touch with spoken 日本語) that elder people sometimes say お出で to younger people when they want to say something ...
6
votes
1answer
303 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 ...
0
votes
2answers
543 views

Which kana/kanji are used to write Yoshitoshi's death poem?

Browsing for art late at night, I came across this beautiful poem by Yoshitoshi, said to be his death poem: yo o tsumete terimasarishi wa natsu no tsuki translated as: holding back ...
6
votes
1answer
134 views

Are 勅 and 詔 simply synonyms?

I cannot find a clear difference between these two kanji: 勅 : Imperial decree (みことのり、ショウ) 詔 : Imperial edict (みことのり、チョク) The English definitions for "decree" and "edict" are so similar, I ...
7
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3answers
843 views

うるさい written as 五月蝿い

This is a follow-up question to Does うるさい have a "negative" connotation. I've seen うるさい written as 五月蝿い. 現代では、is this form used often / at all? What does this have to do with flies (蝿【はえ】) in May? ...
10
votes
1answer
480 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 ...
17
votes
2answers
826 views

Use of 厨 on the Internet

If you visit ニコニコ動画 or any Japanese message boards often you are bound to see comments like ニコ厨 or 東方厨. Does anyone have good idea how did this originate and what do they mean?
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votes
4answers
10k 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?
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8answers
2k views

The many ways to write {かっこいい}

Apparently there are so many ways to write {かっこいい}. Hiragana/katakana only: かっこいい カッコいい カッコイイ EDICT: 格好いい かっこ好い Other possible variants: 格好良い かっこ良い カッコ良い 格好好い 恰好いい (...
11
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3answers
2k 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 ...
16
votes
4answers
4k views

Can a Japanese person understand something written in traditional Chinese

If I didn't know any japanese, could I potentially communicate with Japanese people just by writing in traditional Chinese? I've heard and seen this in movies, how true is this?
14
votes
2answers
757 views

Splitting Kanji and okurigana at the end of the line

A question was asked on the Linguistics Stack Exchange about the oriental languages. The title was the following: How are line breaks handled in ideographic scripts? The answer made me think, and I ...
5
votes
2answers
164 views

How does one know how to read 堪える? Is it 「こたえる」、「こらえる」 or 「たえる」?

The verb 堪える has three different readings: こたえる, こらえる, and たえる, and as far as I can tell they all mean "to bear, to endure, to put up with", with slight variations. Is there a way to tell which ...