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

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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 ...
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246 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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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?
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372 views

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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256 views

What does 回 mean in 回答?

What does 回, the kanji for "turn", mean in 回答 "answer"?
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320 views

Pre-Kana Kanji readings

How did Japanese know how to read kanji before invention of kana? (having only kanji to write a language) Without kana and romaji, if they heard a new word - how could they look it up in a ...
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207 views

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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300 views

When is よう written in kanji as 様?

We have been taught a lot of uses of よう pattern like ように, Vます ように, sentence ending with ように, ようだ for comparison, etc. But everywhere in textbooks, the よう is written in hiragana. I recently found out ...
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1k views

What is the difference between 上{あ}げる and 挙{あ}げる?

I searched examples for the verb "ageru - raise" and I found it written with two different kanji: 挙げる 上げる Mostly their meaning is "raise". I found them with the following examples: 棚に箱を上げる。Put a ...
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789 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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1answer
210 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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237 views

What's the reading of 二人 in this sentence?

The sentence is 二人間がしっくり行かない i'm confused when to use ににん and when to use ふたり
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290 views

Can I insert hiragana in words I only know partially how to write?

This is a problem I encountered today and I had no idea how to decide what was the best course of action, and I only got the advice of a classmate (You're doing it WRONG) to confirm. As I am still ...
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1answer
382 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 ...
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671 views

Kana causing translation difficulty: 「きれている」

Ok, so I've been having trouble with a passage. It's mostly written in kana, and I can get most of it, but because of the kana, I have no idea what a certain word is. At the beginning of the music ...
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1answer
255 views

無茶 - “bad tea” = absurd; unreasonable

I have the following in a Zelda guide book I am translating. It is talking about being faced with a problem and trying various ways to solve it (you know the Zelda games). I am interested in "むちゃな". ...
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447 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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780 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 ...
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1answer
475 views

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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113 views

The Kanji for ありがとうございます

有難う御座います is one Kanji spelling. However, I thought, 'is ございます here an auxilliary verb, and thus are the Kanji incorrect?' Should the proper spelling be 有難うございます?
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332 views

What really is 人身事故?

What really is 人身事故【じんしんじこ】 (jinshin-jiko) we often hear at train stations? Some say that it always means that somebody just threw him/herself onto a train track and got killed. Others say that it's ...
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531 views

Difference between Japanese words for illusion with 幻

I was reading about the kanji 幻, which I take to mean illusion or vision(not 見 vision), and looked at words with it. I saw the words: [幻滅]{げんめつ}-disilusion 幻想{げんそう}-illusion 幻覚{げんかく}-hallucination ...
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310 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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481 views

Decomposition of kanji

I noticed that Unicode has slots for the decomposition type of kanji. I have been wondering why it has only 12 slots (and doesn't even include a slot for "indecomposable", an empty box for a character ...
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182 views

How to read 前 on its own?

For example, when you're on a homepage, and on the bottom, you can go to the previous page with the 前 button and the next page with the 次 button.
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316 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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1k views

What is “kanji illiteracy” (kanji yomenai) in the context of native Japanese speakers?

In the context of native Japanese speakers (not non-natives), is there a concept that roughly translates as "kanji illiteracy"? If so, what are the Japanese terms for it? Also, what does it mean? Does ...
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446 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 ...
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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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273 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 ...
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1answer
135 views

What is this strange kanji that looks a bit like 侍, but isn't?

Staying at a ryokan recently, I received some postcards with the following little poem: What are the characters that I have highlighted in red? They look a bit like [侍]{さむらい}, but based on the ...
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1answer
303 views

How is 家 in [name]家 pronounced?

How would [name]家, for example 田中家, be pronounced when referring to somebody's home in an informal or casual way? I think I've heard it pronounced ち but it could have been うち too. Perhaps both are ...
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231 views

Significance of 「温」 in 「温故知新」

This question came to my mind while playing 漢字読めるカナ for Android to pass time. 温故知新 is a 4-character idiom from the 論語, Confucian Analects, meaning to learn from the past. It is a Chinese phrase* and ...
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1answer
957 views

Is using 笑 to mean “lol” feminine or gender-neutral?

On Facebook, you see 笑 getting used a decent amount to mean "lol". To my American eyes, using something that literally means "smile" - and even looks semi-subconsciously kind of like an advanced ...
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565 views

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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384 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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668 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 ...
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193 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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204 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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158 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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891 views

If 鳥肉 is chicken meat, what is duck meat?

鳥 means bird or poultry. It's understandable that 鳥肉 would be chicken meat since chicken is the most popular "bird meat". But in this case where chicken has monopolized the meaning of bird, how would ...
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247 views

Why “greengrocer” kanjis are 八百屋 (やおや)?

I've seen the last one (屋) many times before meaning something along the lines of "establishment where you can buy things or services". However, the rest of the word confuses me. Doesn't the word 八百 ...
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1answer
286 views

Difference Between 僕たち and 僕ら?

Both 僕たち and 僕ら mean we. But is there any difference between them? I.e. one of them is more formal than the other, or any grammatical nuances? Edit: How is this a duplicate? The question linked by ...
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342 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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200 views

Why are there two readings of 留める

It seems like 留める can be read as either とめる or とどめる. JED, my Android dictionary app, cites とどめる, and so does wiktionary. But wiktionary's kanji entry for 留, it lists とめる, とどまる, and とまる as kun ...
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224 views

Is it correct to write その方がいい, or do you have to write そのほうがいい?

I know 方 can be used for constructions with verbs' ta forms, but can it also be use with things like nouns, adjectives, etc.? My understanding previously was that it was all the same word, but should ...
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535 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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805 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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1answer
163 views

The reading of 砂利

砂利 I am fairly sure is normally read as じゃり but I saw that an alternate reading of ざり exists. Is the ざり reading at all used in the modern language? Why じゃ・ざ and not しゃ・さ?
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489 views

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 ...