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

learn more… | top users | synonyms

10
votes
2answers
2k views

Japanese don't learn kanji meaning only readings? Does it make sense for a kanji to have a key meaning to identify it?

As I understand it works like this. By the time Japanese kids enter first grade they have more or less decent vocabulary of words they know. So when kanjis are taught I can't even imagine how to tell ...
10
votes
1answer
477 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 ...
9
votes
1answer
928 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
579 views

Is there an “official” font or other writing standard that should be used when teaching kanji?

I'm working on an Android app that will help people learn Japanese kanji using a flash-card style study system. As part of this app, I need to show kanji on the screen both in plain-text form, and ...
13
votes
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 ...
11
votes
2answers
969 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 ...
8
votes
3answers
850 views

The role of hiragana when there is a relevant kanji?

If I don't know the kanji of a thing but I know the hiragana of it, can I just write the hiragana if I have to write it down? Is it a free choice? Or some rules or social formalities?
5
votes
1answer
419 views

Can kanji compounds be formed arbitrarily?

I will take 客 as an example: Can 客 form a compound with 席, 娟, and all the other thousands of Japanese 漢字? If I put 席客, but not 客席, will the meaning be different? Or will it just have no meaning? Or ...
21
votes
3answers
1k views

Stroke order for left and right

Why are the stroke orders for 右 and 左 different? 右 starts with the vertical stroke, and 左 starts with the horizontal one.
14
votes
2answers
1k 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
12
votes
2answers
287 views

Apparently unrelated 音読み?

For most 漢字 with multiple 音読み, there appears to be a fairly reasonable link between the sounds, and fairly minor drift, such as with 聞 being モン or ブン. Some 漢字, however, appear to have completely ...
11
votes
6answers
440 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
8
votes
1answer
632 views

Where does the な in 大人 (otona) come from?

As far as I understand, the word 大人 (otona) uses the kanji 大 to represent お and the kanji 人 to represent と. According to this site the readings for 人 do not include な. Where does the な come from then? ...
8
votes
2answers
737 views

名 versus 名前: Why is this seemingly redundant Jukugo used?

For example I came across a Jukugo like this: 名 (name) + 前 (before) = 名前 (name) What is the point in having this Jukugo when you apparently can just use 名. Can someone explain this to me?
7
votes
3answers
240 views

What's the difference among [停]{と}める、[止]{と}める、and [留]{と}める?

How are they different in meaning and usage? I also would like to see samples of how each can be used in a sentence.
7
votes
1answer
422 views

why did Asahi Shinbun write “子{こ}ども”、instead of “子供{こども}” in this headline?

I just happened across an Asahi Shinbun article with a headline that reads: 日本{にほん}の子{こ}どもの幸福度{こうふくど}は6位{い} 豊{ゆた}かさの一方{いっぽう}、深刻{しんこく}な貧困{ひんこん} (-) Compacting articles as much as possible is a ...
6
votes
4answers
2k 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?
6
votes
1answer
294 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
486 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 ...
4
votes
3answers
191 views

Difference between onyomi words and kunyomi words

I think the more I read up on complicated topics the more I encounter onyomi words that have kunyomi synonyms. For example: 新しいvs新規 最新 終わりvs終了 危ないvs危険 Is the rule generally that onyomi words are ...
4
votes
1answer
411 views

Multiple common kanji for a word: which to use?

I have been using jisho.org and aedict (android) to look at the definition, kanji and reading of words. Sometimes though, they list words that have multiple kanji in use and they are all indicated as ...
20
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?
13
votes
1answer
597 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 ...
12
votes
2answers
309 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」 ...
9
votes
3answers
860 views

My name is Midori, but I have never known the Kanji

My parents are not Japanese but they named my sister and me with Japanese names for the meanings they had: Mariko - Child of Truth Midori - Youthful Immortal. With these definitions as guidance, can ...
8
votes
1answer
391 views

How to read single stand-alone language-name kanji?

So we all know that most (all?) countries' names can be written in kanji as well as kana. And occasionally kanji from these names are used to represent the language of those countries. For example, we ...
7
votes
1answer
986 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 ...
6
votes
1answer
308 views

Kanji for におい - when do you use 匂い and when do you use 臭い?

Could someone help me understand when which kanji is used? For example I have seen 臭い on a packet of cat sand. I can't remember where I've seen the other but I found the following example sentence on ...
6
votes
3answers
742 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
201 views

「春じゃもの」の「じゃもの」はどういう意味?

What does the じゃもの in 春じゃもの mean? The phrase is a koto song title, so I can't give much context. I think my teacher said it meant something like "clearly", or "the essence of". But I can't remember, ...
4
votes
1answer
230 views

When is “事” used instead of こと for past experiences?

In the "ことがあります" construction about past experiences, when is "事" used, and when is "こと" used? The textbook used in class uses "こと": 六本木の おんせんに 行った ことがあります。 If it wanted to use "事" instead of ...
3
votes
1answer
166 views

The component 曷 and the kanjis 褐, 喝, 謁, 渇

Note the right component of the kanjis 褐, 喝, 謁 and 渇. It doesn't exist as a separate Chinese character, at least I couldn't find it. Those who have used Heisig will know that he refers to this ...
3
votes
1answer
181 views

音{おん}訓{くん} for 肉{にく} and 皿{さら}

As per a "中学{ちゅうがく}漢字{かんじ}ドリル" textbook used by native speaker students in Japan, this is the 音訓 readings specified for "肉" and "皿": 肉 音: ニク 訓: none given 皿 音: none given 訓: さら Yet, at ...
1
vote
1answer
250 views

Radicals : How to remember suffix-es, readings and positions?

There are 214 radicals, and their positions can be either Hen, Tsukuri, Ashi/ Ashi Variant, Kanmuri, Nyō, Tare or Kamae/ Kamae Variant. One example 衝(oposition), so this kanji is made of the kanji ...
12
votes
2answers
367 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"
10
votes
1answer
268 views

How can one stop “去年【きょねん】教職【きょうしょく】” from looking like a weird 4 kanji compound?

In writing, sometimes you get the illusion of a 4-character compound: Xさんは去年教職を退【しりぞ】いた。 This bothers some non-natives. To correct the "problem", can I always just place a comma between the ...
9
votes
3answers
1k views

How did 服 come to have meanings related to both “clothing” and “submission”?

服 by itself means "clothing" (e.g. 服を着る), and there are also some related derivative terms like 私服, 制服, 和服, 洋服, etc. On the other hand, you have words like 征服 "conquest", 克服 "overcoming", 承服 ...
9
votes
1answer
206 views

What is the difference between 恰好 and 格好?

Is there any difference between the words 格好 and 恰好? Can I actually call them different words, or is it that they are just the same word written differently? I've been told that they have exactly the ...
8
votes
2answers
453 views

why do some kanji have multiple stroke counts?

A few years ago, I came across the issue of one kanji having multiple stroke counts. Now, I need to review this: 牙 = (4 or 5 strokes) 瓜 = (5 or 6 strokes) 邑 = (6 or 7 strokes) .... If native ...
8
votes
2answers
541 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). ...
6
votes
2answers
198 views

Seeing the invisible の in old names and words

In many place and people names, there is an "invisible の", e.g., 三宮 is read さんのみや and 中大兄皇子 is なかのおおえのおうじ. This can also happen in words: 班田収授法 is read はんでんしゅうじゅのほう, which I am less comfortable with ...
6
votes
1answer
437 views

Is there a kanji for しか?

Is there kanji for しか as in 商品がひとつしかありません。
6
votes
1answer
673 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?
6
votes
3answers
4k views

Which kanji has the greatest number of strokes?

I was just curious what the most complex kanji—in terms of number of strokes—is, whether or not it's actually used often.
5
votes
3answers
232 views

Where does 見 come from in 見捨てる or 見殺し?

I wonder if there is a certain meaning of 見 that isn't immediately obvious or straight-forward. 見捨てる and 見殺し both carry this idea that, through inaction, something bad is allowed to happen. There may ...
5
votes
1answer
283 views

Question on mnemonic device for characters such as 恋, 変, and 湾

I am currently studying kanji by using a number of sites, some of which provide mnemonics to aid in learning. While not a specific radical per se (I think), the top portions of the following ...
4
votes
1answer
227 views

Why is hiragana used in the middle of this compound word?

I saw this article on Gizmodo Japan: だれもがスマホの便利さを享受できる第一歩。視覚障がい者がiPhone操作を学べるアプリ Obviously, this is 視覚障害者 (or possibly, 視覚障碍者). It is in the title of the article, as well as several places ...
4
votes
1answer
712 views

Usage of simplified chinese in place of some kanji in handwriting

Of course I'm talking about casual writing as opposed to formal or polite writing. There are many 新字体 that were kind of "half" simplified in to the equivalent simplified Chinese forms such as 関 and 広 ...
4
votes
1answer
475 views

Does Japanese have morphemes that span two kanji?

I read once (in this comment by Victor Mair on Language Log) that Chinese has single morphemes that span two hanzi. The example given was the Chinese word pútáo 葡萄. At the time, I assumed it applied ...
4
votes
2answers
639 views

Reading 捻る: when is it ねじる or ひねる?

How can I tell whether 捻る is read as ひねる (P. ・ N.C.) or ねじる (P. ・ N.C.)? I assume the answer is "based on which verb is appropriate", so I've been trying to learn the difference between them. Based ...