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

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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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968 views

森 vs 林 for forest

According to A Guide to Remembering Japanese Characters, 森 (38) is woods and 林 (75) is forest. But some material I've found online related to Japan seems to indicate 森 is the more correct Japanese ...
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139 views

ムダ足だった == useless leg?

When I look up the phrase 無駄足だった, I see it translated as "It was a Wild goose chase." I found this bizarre, since it seems like it would mean "It was a useless foot/leg." is this some sort of figure ...
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225 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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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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519 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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142 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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367 views

What is the correct syntax for large numbers in kanji?

Say I was trying to write the number 3,476,521,893,421 in kanji. How would I go about this? My guess was 三万四千七百六十五億二千百八十九万三千四百二十一 but it looks really wrong to me because it feels too Western to be ...
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292 views

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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375 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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「慎重すぎる」 and 「慎重に過ぎる」 - is there a difference?

In the short story I'm reading now (「ドライブ・マイ・カー」 by Haruki Murakami) there are two very similar phrases to express what I would translate as "too cautious": 「慎重すぎる」 and 「慎重に過ぎる」: ...
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210 views

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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115 views

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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716 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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224 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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186 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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147 views

Why does 甲斐 use these particular kanji?

Inspired by a recent question about the proper way to write 生きがい, I wanted to ask a long-standing question. According to Kotobank, 甲斐 has the following definitions (my poor translations follow): かい ...
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114 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 ...
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107 views

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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120 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 ...
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237 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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715 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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318 views

What is this kanji?眞+頁

So I came across a kanji I can't seem to find in any online dictionary. It's basically the following two characters stuck together 眞頁 (I'm reading a physical book, so can't copy paste it), and is ...
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312 views

Why is the kanji for luck the same as to carry?

Why is the kanji for うん(運) the same as the kanji for 運ぶ? Did the kanji just somehow end up being the same, or were the two meanings related somehow? All I can think of is some kind of "carrying luck", ...
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145 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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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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156 views

虚; 空; 洞 【うろ】and differences

虚; 空; 洞 【うろ】: hollow; cavity; hole pronunciation is only one but why are there three kanji words??what are they differences??
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129 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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191 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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121 views

The usages of 厚い and 篤い

From what I read, 厚い is used when something is thick or abundant and 篤い is used when describing a serious illness. But what confuses me is that in a dictionary (Tagaini Jisho) both of these are in the ...
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130 views

「のれん代」(Goodwill) and 「のれん」 of 居酒屋

Is there any relation between 「のれん代」(Goodwill) and 「のれん」 of 居酒屋? And how about those kanji, are they using same kanji for both? If there are the same kanji, I would like to know their etymology, ...
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104 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 ...
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168 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, ...
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299 views

The surname 粂 【くめ】

The kokuji 粂 【くめ】 exists, defined only as a name. The character is clearly an amalgam of 久 and 米 used in a man'yogana-like manner, but: Why did this particular surname get a designated character? ...
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304 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 ...
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287 views

Is there a difference between 'hanasu' written 離す versus 放す?

I was looking for the pronunciation of 離す by searching 'let go' on Jdic. I came across 放す, but not 離す. Is there a difference between the 2? The example I was looking at was: ...
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same reading, similar meaning, different Kanji [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: do people actually respect the nuances of 探す vs 捜す? There are many kanji that I have come across with similar meanings, and (seemly coincidentally) identical readings. ...
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What is the radical of 全? 人 or 入?

I don't have any kanji reference books so I have to rely on kanji sites for kanji information. A lot of websites list 入 (いる) as the radical for 全: Jisho beta (as well as other sites which use the ...
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360 views

what is the logic for assigning Kanji characters to certain radicals?

Why is 富 character under 宀 40th radical? why isn't it under 102nd radical 田 ? Why is 仏 character under 人 9th radical? why isn't it under 28nd radical 厶 ? etc. what is the logic for assigning Kanji ...
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Random meaning of 結ぶ

結ぶ means to connect, tie, or bind things together, either physically or metaphorically. And then it has the seemingly random phrase [実]{み}を結ぶ meaning "to bear fruit". How does this meaning derive ...
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Was the Japanese reading “raito” for moon, ever been used before Death Note came to existence?

The only time I have ever seen this reading for moon was with the Japanese pronunciation of the Death Note character, Light, who's first name is written with the word moon. I want to know if the ...
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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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金 pronunciation

I read that the kanji 金 ("gold") can be pronounced both as kon and as kin. When should it be pronounced kon and when kin? Is there any rule about picking one or the other? Thanks.
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Are there a kanji for マル and バツ (O and X, right and wrong)

AFAIK words マル and バツ are commonly used as short answers (right and wrong, 正しい・正しくない). Are there any kanji for these words?
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234 views

What's with all the possible kanji for とる?

Skimming through the options my IME presents for とる, I'm seeing a whole lot of choices, including the following: 取る 撮る 録る 執る 摂る 捕る 獲る 穫る 採る 盗る While I've seen 取る ("to take") and 撮る ("to record") ...
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290 views

The 阝-radical (or 部首?) in 部 and 陪

In 部, the right side radical is called the large village radical. For 陪, the left side radical is called the small village radical. Why are their names different on different sides even though both ...
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How many kanji do Japanese people know? [closed]

I am curious how many kanji a normal Japanese person is able to read. Since the Joyo kanji are learned by middle school, I assume that as a person goes through high school and university many more ...