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

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Origin of the word 烏有

I saw the phrase 烏有{うゆう}に帰{き}す, which means to "become nothing" as if turning to ashes. The word "烏有" means nothing, but its parts are 烏 (crow) and 有 (to be). How did 烏有 come to mean nothing? When I ...
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1k 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 ...
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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 ...
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251 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.
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323 views

Are both spellings for ふけ (fuke) “dandruff” ateji? If not what's actually going on?

The other day after washing my hair I decided to add the Japanese word for "dandruff" to my vocabulary. It turns out to be an interesting word. It has only one pronunciatation, ふけ (fuke), but two ...
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452 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。
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13k views

How many Kanji characters are there?

I have been searching around, but all the sources give completely different answers ranging from 2,000 to 50,000. So my question is how many Kanji characters that have ever existed since the dawn of ...
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634 views

Are non-base-10 numbers ever written in kanji?

This morning I was thinking about the joke "There are only 10 types of people in the world: those who understand binary, and those who don't". Considering if this would translate well to Japanese, I ...
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296 views

Kanji 行 with なみ, なめ, みち and アン pronunciations

I have only found 行 being pronounced as いく, ゆく and おこなう for kun'yomi and as コウ and ギョウ for on'yomi, but my dictionary software also lists down なみ, なめ, みち and アン as the other pronunciations of this ...
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3k 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, ...
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517 views

How do you read 麻色?

Don't know if it should be read as まいろ, まあいろ, あさいろ or in some other way. Couldn't find it in any dictionary. Context:
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277 views

How are 買 and 売 related?

It has always struck me as strange that 買 "buy" and 売 "sell", which are antonyms, have the same on-reading バイ. A few questions: Is there some logic (possibly stemming from the Chinese use of these ...
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743 views

How often do single dots stick to the top of kanji?

In Chinese, characters with a single dot on top stay separated from the rest of the character. (Eg. Chinese 宝) In kanji, this is frequently not the case - virtually all 宀 characters I see have dots ...
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404 views

How to read this kanji?

Please tell me how to read this kanji. What does it mean?
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203 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 ...
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774 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 ...
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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?
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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.
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602 views

Alternate spelling for ありがたい, or typo?

I looked up ありがたい in my dictionaries within OSX (looking at this question), and one of the 国語 dictionaries (can't tell which) has the entry listed like this: ありがた・い 【有り難い・難有い】 You'll notice that ...
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370 views

If 'little girl' is 「少女」, then why is 'little boy' 「少年」?

Question 少女 means little girl because 少 means little/small and 女 means lady/female. It makes sense here. However it does not make sense when I read 少年 because 年 means year. Is there any reason why 年 ...
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237 views

What is this kanji ? Looks like 七 three times

Tonight I went to a sushi restaurant. It's called かね喜{き} as is visible on their inkan and in the company name. However, on their website it seems calligraphied differently but maybe I am just bad at ...
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471 views

What does おめでとう煜ございます mean?

At first I thought it was a typo, but inserting the character 煜 into birthday wishes or the like seems to be common, e.g. おめでとう煜ございます おめでとうございます煜 おめでとう煜ございます煜 I have several problems: What ...
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934 views

What is the difference between 楊 and 柳 which both mean “Willow”

I've come across two kanji, which are both read やなぎ and both mean "willow". From what I've found out so far, 柳 has an On'yomi of リュウ and it seems to mean more "things with the qualities of a willow"; ...
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688 views

Why is the kanji of idiot written with the kanji for “horse” and “deer” together?

I'm learning Japanese, but I'm a beginner, and I need to understand why this kanji is a compound of the kanji for "horse" and "deer": 馬鹿 = idiot 馬 = horse 鹿 = deer Why?
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643 views

Kanji in the Fox Engine logo

What do the kanji in the Fox Engine logo mean? Is it a single kanji meaning "fox", or is the logo made by two (or more) kanji? What is their meaning?
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236 views

Origin of the kanji for 叶う

One thing that has always confused me is how the word 叶【かな】う took on the meaning of for a (wish) to come true. I find this perplexing because in Chinese, the word has never had this meaning. 叶's ...
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277 views

In which terms, if any, is へつ used as an On-reading of the character 閉?

Just now in the chat room we came across a reading of the kanji 閉 that seems to be either rare or erroneous. In the English Wiktionary's entry for 閉 there is the following "Readings section": On: ...
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371 views

Which readings were changed in the 2010 Jouyou kanji reform?

I'm looking for pointers on which readings (on/kun) were changed in the 2010 reform. By that I mean which kanji has additional readings and which kanji has had one or more readings removed? Is there a ...
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334 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 ...
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For the word じき meaning “soon”, what is the difference between the kanjis 直 and 時期?

As discussed in this question, one meaning for じき is "soon, momentarily". Looking it up in my (English/Japanese) dictionary, I found both the kanjis 時期 and 直 for it. I looked them up further (online),...
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392 views

Where does “gold day” originate from?

Recently I learned what the days of the week are and noticed "kinyobi" 金曜日. I'd like to know where the term "gold" relates to. Were people in ancient Japan paid at Friday each week?
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334 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 ...
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424 views

Is 子年 read as ねずみどし or ねどし? What about 卯年 and 亥年?

My dictionary says that 子年 can be read as both ねずみどし and ねどし, but when typing it in my computer, my IME only seems to convert ねずみどし to kanji. The same goes for 卯年 (うどし and うさぎどし) and 亥年 (いどし and ...
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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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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 ...
6
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1answer
440 views

What's the deal with/origin of the character 曰?

I'm talking about the 曰 from 曰【いわ】く, not the common 日【ひ】 we all know and love. Why would they "make" two characters that look (for all intents and purposes) exactly the same? How do you really ...
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132 views

several difficulties reading an extract about Kobayashi Issa's works

I'm still reading "小林{こばやし}一茶{いっさ}" (a book written by 宗左近/Sō Sakon about the famous poet). I'm facing several difficulties with the following extract : 愛{あい}の歌{うた} 怒{いか}りの歌{うた} 作品{さくひん}の特色{...
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179 views

Is a kanji list read in 訓読み or 音読み?

I have been wondering this for a while now, but hesitated to ask. I have been studying jouyou kanji for several years, yet I do not know if there is a general way of how to read a list of kanji out ...
6
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1answer
207 views

Are the meanings of 煙 and 烟 identical?

I noticed that 煙 in the phrase 茶煙永日香{ちゃえんえいじつかんばし} sometimes appears as 烟. For example, here is a teapot with 茶煙永日香 and a scroll with 茶烟永日香. Is there a difference in meaning between 煙 and 烟? 煙 and 烟 ...
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261 views

What are the Japanese terms for “character dictionary”? “漢辞海”? “漢字典”?

I'm looking for a cheap secondhand character dictionary in Japan but: I don't know if there is one or more kind of these, and I don't know what they are called. Two I saw had these on their spines, ...
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142 views

Are there some cases where みたす could be spelled as 充たす? 「充{み}たす」という書き方はどんな場合で使えるか?

Since 充 can be used to spell 充{あ}てる it can have the meaning of "to match". Therefore, the only place where I think 充たす fits is to say something like ある条件を充たす. Nevertheless, according to the 漢字漢和辞典 I ...
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235 views

What does 着 mean in 「六時着」 and in 「六着」?

One of the kanji we recently learned in class was 着. We learned it could be used for to wear [着]{き}る, to arrive [着]{つ}く, and as either a "classifier for arrival" or a "counter for jacket". In our ...
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2k 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}, [...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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578 views

Kanji stroke type (not stroke order)

My former teacher made us really pay attention to kana stroke order and stroke types (とめる、はねる、and はらう). Yet when it came to kanji she only made us study the stroke order. I've noticed that other ...
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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 ...
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305 views

regarding the kanjis 嗚呼; 於乎; 於戯; 嗟乎; 嗟夫; 吁; 嗟; 噫; 鳴呼

This question has 2 parts. Why is it that ああ has so many different kanji 嗚呼; 於乎; 於戯; 嗟乎; 嗟夫; 吁; 嗟; 噫; 鳴呼 (source) and is the average japanese (16 yr old and above) able to recognize them all?
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154 views

Uses of [◯]{まる} symbol in Japanese typography

What is [◯]{まる} symbol is typically used for? The only usage I know of is the "correct" mark. But the dictionary says it is also used as a placeholder and for censorship, see ◯ and ◯◯. Here are more ...
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194 views

Is the kanji in this scene a mistake or some kind of joke?

My friend was watching the anime みつどもえ 増量中!, and in the first episode there is a scene where basically there is a protest happening against the kind of "power rangers" in this show. It's the one on ...