The reading of a kanji character or a word written in kanji characters refers to how it is “read” in terms of kana characters.

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Most egregious examples of the reading of a kanji changing due to (textually) distant characters

I've been thinking about how Japanese people can read a text (out loud, say) when the readings of the kanji can be so variable depending on okurigana, suffixes, or prefixes that change the meaning ...
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Difference between 怒り{いかり} and 怒り{おこり}

Both 怒り{いかり} and 怒り{おこり} are nouns and mean "anger". Even the kanji are the same! How can we distinguish these two?
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Pronunciation of 九

The dictionary I'm using lists two common pronunciations of 「九」: 「きゅう」 and 「く」. I've usually heard it as 「きゅう」 before, but when saying 「9時」, it always seems to be 「くじ」. Is there a rule to this?
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When is the onyomi of 田 used?

My Kanji textbook mentions 田 to have the kunyomi た and the onyomi デン. デン is not mentioned in brackets so I conclude it is a very common reading. But I hardly find any words that use デン. In an example ...
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188 views

Reading 九十九 as “tsukumo”

Why can 九十九 be read as "tsukumo"? I don't understand how those kanji could be read that way.
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71 views

How to tell the difference between 先{せん} and 先{さき}?

Someone on a Japanese learners' forum I frequent posted a question asking someone to help him translate the following: どうしても先に進むつもりなのね・・・ だったら・・・ I translated the bit 「先に」 as 「せんに」, but another ...
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Difficulty of Meiji literature [closed]

I'm currently self-teaching myself Japanese with the aim of becoming a proficient reader so I can read Japanese liteature without the aid of a translation. I've heard mention a few times of the ...
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Exceptions in pronouncing the counter for minutes (分)

I'm learning the counter for minutes, which is 分. I know, there are several exceptions in reading this counter. 1 min = いっぷん 2 min = にふん 3 min = さんぷん 4 min = よんぷん 5 min = ごふん 6 min = ろっぷん 7 min = ...
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115 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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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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Why is 左必之佐 read as サビシサ in 万葉集 entry 3734?

Entry 3734 of the 万葉集 reads as follows1: 等【ト】保【ホ】伎【キ】山【やま】 世【セ】伎【キ】毛【モ】故【コ】要【エ】伎【キ】奴【ヌ】 伊【イ】麻【マ】左【サ】良【ラ】尓【ニ】 安【ア】布【フ】倍【ベ】伎【キ】与【ヨ】之【シ】能【ノ】 奈【ナ】伎【キ】我【ガ】佐【サ】夫【ブ】之【シ】佐 【サ】 Transcribed in more modern ...
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Some Japanese dictionaries (e.g. 大辞林, 大辞泉, and 明鏡国語辞典) use this inverted triangle outline symbol (▽) for some kanji compounds. What does it mean?

It doesn't apply to all the words, just some. Here are examples of words from that are marked with that symbol 悪い (with reading にくい): 大辞泉; 大辞林 面倒くさい (with reading めんどくさい): 大辞泉; 大辞林 皆 (with reading ...
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How are the different pronunciations of kanji used, such as onyomi and kunyomi?

Even when I think I've memorized how to read a particular kanji, 人 (ひと) for example, and try to read other words I find that it's also pronounced じん...and I'm sure it probably has many other readings. ...
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How to read 連体形 + 上

Taking an example from a page naruto linked in another thread: 外国人が日本語を習得する上で難しい点がたくさんあります。 My inclination is to read this as うえ since it's followed by で, however I've got a nagging feeling it ...
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Difference between 間【あいだ】 and 間【ま】

What is the difference between the words 間【あいだ】 and 間【ま】 ? Both seem to have the basic meaning space or time interval.
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How do native speakers “read” single-kanji signs when those kanji are not also standalone words?

In my time in Japan I've noticed a few kanji that can be used on their own commonly in various kinds of signs, yet I don't think they are also words in their own right: 押 引 危 開 閉 Since all kanji ...
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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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-ei/-you alternation in some kanji: what's going on?

There's a reasonable number of kanji that have on-readings like めい・みょう, へい・ひょう (possibly modulo voicing), etc. For example: 平: 平均【へいきん】 vs. 平等【びょうどう】 兵: 兵士【へいし】 vs. 兵庫県【ひょうごけん】 明: 不明【ふめい】 vs. ...
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「かみなりもん」 vs. 「らいもん」

So I was watching something last year that involved a visit to 浅草神社. Along the way there were conversations over where was the preferred way to read the name for the temple—either using the kun ...
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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 ...
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穿る vs ほじる vs ほじくる

In wondering how to expressing the act of picking one's nose in Japanese I came across the following term or terms: 穿る / ほじる / ほじくる I got the feeling from WWWJDIC that the two hiragana are ...
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What is the difference in usage between 夜【よ】 and 夜【よる】?

As I understand, both よ and よる mean 'night'. I guess that the difference might be purely idiomatic. In this sense: What are idioms where only one of them is correct? What are idioms where you can ...
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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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284 views

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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雨 pronunciations

I have a question about this character: 雨 I know each kanji has so many pronunciations, this is pronounced "ame" but it has other pronunciations, could you please tell me when to pronounce it ...
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Does 一二三 mean “1 2 3” or “123”?

Is it possible, without any context, to tell whether 一二三 means "one, two, three" or "one hundred twenty-three"? In English, this kind of ambiguity would be removed by adding spaces between each ...
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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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訓読み for 歳: とせ vs. とし

There are two 訓読み readings of 歳: とし and とせ. Looking at はたち (二十歳), a reasonable hypothesis would be "ち is a contraction of とし". I know very little about sound shifting in Japanese. Is とせ more recent ...
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Multiple readings for singular 魚

In what situations is 魚 pronounced as 「うお」 vs. 「さかな」? I personally like 「うお」 better, but I don't know why. Is it reserved for only certain scenarios?
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How do i read 翼 in “one-winged”

I've encountered a song with romaji title Katatsubasa no tenshi, which I would understand, but the other day someone handed me an album with romaji-ed names, where the same song was written as ...
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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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文言 もんごん ぶんげん why are the differences between these two readings and why is もんごん more common?

As stated in the title the reading for 文言 can be もんごん or ぶんげん. I know that もんごん is almost always used in speech, but why do two readings exist and why is もんごん so much more common? Also, are their any ...
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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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“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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178 views

Reading comprehension questions

I have trouble understanding the second and the last paragraphs from this short text. I just couldn't parse the second paragraph at all. And the only thing I can glean from the fourth paragraph is ...
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Reading of 組 as a Counter Word With Numbers

I'm confused about how to pronounce a word such as 一組. Are Japanese or Chinese numbers used when using 組 as a counter, and if the former how does it change phonetically? For example, jisho.org lists ...
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What's the meaning and the reading of 通行人?

I have the following translation I need to do for my introductory Japanese class. 最近、交通事故が多いので、左に曲がる時は、自転車や、通行人に気をつけなければなりませんよ。 So far I have the following. Recently there have been a lot of ...
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In this example, should the number 4 be read し or よん?

Recently, on another question, I left a comment where I said I thought 1・2・3・4 might be pronounced イチニーサンヨン. I was quickly corrected by another user, who said the following: AFAIK, 1,2,3,4 is ...
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need help understanding a coin

I read Chinese decently, so my friend asked me if I knew what their coin was for. From Chinese, I could read the kanji 金品 (Gold Commodity) and 交换 (Exchange), but not the Japanese. Can someone help me ...
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Is 窘める ever read なだめる?

I found the following in a book I'm reading: As far as I'm aware, 窘める is read たしなめる and means "to scold, rebuke, admonish". 宥める, on the other hand, is read なだめる and means "to soothe, placate". ...
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Is there any relationship between the verb 死{し}ぬ and the 音読み 死{し}?

I noticed that both 死ぬ and the 音読み of 死 share a し sound. Is this a huge coincidence between Japanese and Chinese, or is there some sort of relation? I guess the former, because I don't know any ...
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Why does the 文語 version of the Bible have so many nonstandard readings?

For example in Genesis 1: 元始{はじめ}に神{かみ} 天地{てんち}を創造{つくり}たまへり Why are the kanji 元始 and 創造 given the interesting readings? Moreover, they seem to be given the readings of the less specific words 始め ...
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How do you read simple arithmetic equations in Japanese?

My dictionary (EN->JP) suggests to translate "Three multiplied by four is twelve" as 3 × 4 = 12 without giving a hint as to how to read this in Japanese. How do you read simple arithmetic ...
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What is the yomikata of 値 in 破格値?

My kanji textbook contains this example text excerpt from a leaflet [1]: 各種家具を破格値で! I would assume that it would be 「チ」 because 「ハカク」 is an Onyomi-Reading, but I believe I have heard 「はかくね」before. ...
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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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Why is 一歩 pronouced 'ippo'?

I am very new to Japanese, but I noticed this today. In Wiktionary article on 一歩 we see that the pronounciation is いっぽ. In article for 一 we see that there is a nanori reading いっ. On the other hand ...
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Understanding the abbreviated labels on a Japanese driving license

I'm attempting to write a guide to understanding what is written on a Japanese Driving License for Wikipedia, but I've reached the limit of my reading comprehension abilities. Here's a labelled image ...
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111 views

Reading of 味 as a suffix in “X-flavour” / as a counter in “X flavours”

This question brought to you by the existence of カレー味のラムネ In my head, the reading here is あじ。 But I know 七味唐辛子{しちみとうがらし}, so it seems like as a counter it's み。 I'm almost 100% sure that カレーの味 would ...
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241 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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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 ...