漢【かん】字【じ】: Chinese characters as used in Japanese writing as opposed to the hiragana and katakana syllabaries and romaji Latin letters.
Kanji have several defining characteristics, including:
- a general meaning
- 音【おん】読【よ】み readings derived from the character's historic Chinese pronunciation
- 訓【くん】読【よ】み readings that are native to Japanese
Kanji are typically classified using the following characteristics:
- Radicals: distinctive visual elements of the characters which are used to create logical groupings, often with related meanings
- Stroke Count: The number of pen strokes needed to write the character. Stroke order for kanji is a rigidly defined concept, with a prescribed order that is considered "correct" for all characters.
- On-Yomi: Where all other measures break even, kanji are usually then sorted by 音【おん】読【よ】み according to Japanese alphabetical order.