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

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“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 ...
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350 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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Few hard to recognize handwritten characters in miniature umbrella

There are a few characters handwritten in a miniature umbrella acquired in Hakone mountain in the mid 60’s that I don't understand. Could you please help me with those characters? I’ve transliterated ...
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312 views

Are all “on'yomi” monosyllabic?

I think that the Wikipedia entry for "kanji" has an error. Please look at the last sentence in the third paragraph underneath the "kun'yomi" heading. quote: "...This contrasts with on'yomi, which ...
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160 views

Using 着 Classifier

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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210 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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Are the 4-byte UTF-8 Kanji rare enough that I can ignore them?

I'm writing a programming algorithm which converts code points of Kanji characters to their respective UTF-8 octets. My problem is, if I don't include 4-octet characters, and only deal with 3-octet ...
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139 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 ...
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192 views

Why are the common strokes of these two characters written in different order?

Consider the following characters, gyuu and sei. I know both are not exactly identical for sure. According to the textbook I am using, the stroke orders are given as follows. My question is why the ...
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139 views

Can an average Japanese person read 草書 style calligraphy?

Apart from learning Japanese language, I've also started learning Japanese calligraphy (書道). I have a question about 草書 style (cursive style in English?) calligraphy. Most 草書 style kanji seem ...
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373 views

Is “豪斯多拉利” an ateji way to write “Australia”?

Several years ago I invested some time and energy digging up more ways to write "Australia" in Japanese than I ever expected would exist: オーストラリア is the usual spelling these days 濠太剌利 is a rare old ...
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Reading 塞 and 省: When on and kun readings go together

I looked up 塞 in my 漢和辞典, and I found four readings: 音:サイ、ソク 訓:とりで、ふさ・ぐ What I noticed is that サイ is used when the kanji means とりで, and ソク is used when the kanji means ふさぐ: 「とりで」の意味: ...
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What is the difference between 寿司, 鮨, 鮓, 寿斗, 寿し, and 壽司?

It is likely that this is due to my poor understanding, but why are there so many names for「すし」? I think for the most part I have only seen the first three (寿司、鮨、鮓). For whatever reason in some ...
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144 views

What is the usage of 先 vs. 元?

I think that the both of them mean before, but I have seen that they are sometimes use in parent-child metaphors, but I always get confused with these. Some examples of ○○先、○○元 words would be ...
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194 views

Difference between 割合 vs 率

割合 and 率 both mean ratio, rate, and percentage. What is the difference?
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How do I know whether 毎月 should be まいげつ or まいつき

This is my first question here and I'd like to ask something that has been bothering me for a while. Some words written in kanji can be read using both onyomi and kunyomi of some of the kanji and the ...
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漢字 classification: 象形、指事、会意、形声

I'm looking at this table of classifying 漢字 into the types 象形文字、指事文字、会意文字、形声文字 (and 転注文字 and 仮借文字, but I'll focus on the first four for now). I like the idea of 見 "to see" being an "eye" on "legs", ...
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Reading of 退く meaning “Go away”

Here is a passage from my Japanese Bible 更に、悪魔はイエスを非常に高い山に連れて行き、世のすべての国々とその繁栄ぶりを見せて、「もし、ひれ伏してわたしを拝むなら、これをみんな与えよう」と言った。すると、イエスは言われた。「退け、サタン。『あなたの神である主を拝み、ただ主に仕えよ』と書いてある。」 - ...
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135 views

Kanji stroke type (not stroke order)

My former teacher made us really pay attention to kana stroke order AND stroke types yet when it came to kanji she only made us study the stroke order. I've noticed that other people also disregard ...
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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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Shinjitai kanji that existed prior to simplification?

I've been doing some researching on kanji characters, and was wondering if there were cases where already-existing characters were used as the final 新字体 form of a character. To clarify, I'm not ...
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Which readings are used for 漢文?

If I am reading a Chinese text to a Japanese audience, how can I know which reading to use for each character? Of the 音読み, there can be 呉音, 漢音, and 唐音 to choose from. Also for pronunciation, would ...
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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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Rust: 錆 vs 銹 vs 鏽 vs 鏥

In doing some looking around today I found four characters that all mean rust and are all read さび. Is there any distinction that can be made between these characters? 錆 銹 鏽 鏥
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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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Are kanji typically used in times and dates?

Are kanji typically for numbers used in times and dates? For example, would "七" and "十五" in the first sentence, and "九" and "三" in the second sentence be normal Japanese? (I'm aware that the ...
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ふるさと (home town, birthplace) uses which kanji - 古里 or 故郷?

I've noticed that there are 2 ways (at least, maybe more) of writing ふるさと (home town, birthplace): 古里 故郷 Am I correct? Are they interchangeable? Is one used more often than another?
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Difference between 颜 and 顔

I have seen both used like 笑颜 and 笑顔 to mean smile (noun). afaik both are pronouced as えがお (somebody correct me if I'm wrong, ビギナーだ). So what exactly is the difference?
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Is 門 read as かど or もん?

Is it more common to read 門 as かど or もん? e.g. how would we pronounce the 門 in 彼らは門が開くのを待っていた。
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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 ...
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Is 胡 missplaced in the Kodansha Kanji Learner's Dictionary? [closed]

I recently tried to look up the kanji 胡 in the Kodansha Kanji Learner's Dictionary, which uses the SKIP method to look up each kanji, and I couldn't find it. It seemed to me a relatively ...
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190 views

How to classify the non-standard reading of “お土産{みやげ}”?

Is お土産{みやげ} an 当{あ}て字{じ}、 熟字訓{じゅくじくん}、 or something else? For 「お土産」 to be 当て字, the「み」reading must be part of the 音{おん}、訓{くん} readings or a 名乗り{なのり} reading for the「土」kanji. This is not the case. For ...
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If 校 is the kanji for school, why do I need 学 to actually say school?

Perhaps a dumb question, but something that I was wondering and couldn't find a clear answer via search. Since 校 is the kanji for school, why do we also need the kanji for learning 学 to say "school" ...
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274 views

What does 目 mean in 勝ち目?

The word 勝ち目 means "odds / chance of success". It is made up of two nouns 勝ち and 目. 勝ち obviously means "winning / victory". But what does the kanji 目 mean? Does 勝ち目 mean something along the lines of ...
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443 views

壱, 弐, 参 vs 一, 二, 三

Can you tell me the difference between 壱 and 一, 弐 and 二, 参 and 三? Do these pairs have the same meaning? If yes, why do we use different Kanji? If no, what is the difference in their meanings? Can ...
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五年ぶり、ぶり返す、。。。What does ぶり mean?

Where does the ぶり in 五年ぶり (Five years ago?) and ぶり返す come from, does it have a kanji, and what does it mean?
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Kanji identification

What's the 2nd kanji in the image below? I know that the first one is for oni, the second is 'mushi'. Can't seem to figure out what comes before 'mushi' though !
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The difference between 幸 and 運 as “luck” or “fortune”

I've come across these two kanji in a few cases for "good/bad fortune" and even in combination with eachother. I'd really like to understand if there's a subtle difference that I'm missing so that I ...
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560 views

Should I use On reading or Kun reading for numbers?

I've just started to learn Japanese, and I've been looking at the Joyo Kanji. Most of the words have On reading and Kun reading. I was wondering, which one is most popular and when should I use one ...
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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 ...
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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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173 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 ...
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Proper Grass Radical Stroke Order

I was told today that the grass radical, e.g. the top of 花 has a gap in the middle of it, and googling it suggests that it is sometime written like this. Is that strictly in Chinese, is it sloppy, or ...
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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 ...
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211 views

Are many hiragana and katakana found in kanji?

I've noticed a few kanji that appear identical to a kana. 二 is the only example I can remember, where it represents both the kanji ni and the katakana ni, although I'm sure I've seen others. Are there ...
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544 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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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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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 ...
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454 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 ...
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102 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 ...