The onyomi of 江 is コウ. Can someone give me a real-life example of when this is read this way? It seems that most of the time its pronounced え... I should also clarify, yes, I can look this up in a dictionary, but sometimes dictionaries give you words that are obscure/rarely used by most people-- true in any language, right?

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    [長江]{ちょうこう}: ja.wikipedia.org/wiki/%E9%95%B7%E6%B1%9F
    – Earthliŋ
    Jan 29, 2014 at 23:05
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    @Earthling: Do 地名 really count?
    – istrasci
    Jan 29, 2014 at 23:06
  • There's more here.
    – Earthliŋ
    Jan 29, 2014 at 23:11
  • Did you guys read the OP carefully?
    – user4032
    Jan 29, 2014 at 23:47
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    Apart from place names which mainly seem to be in China and Korea (so possibly the Japanese use follows the local use of 江?) it does not seen very common does it? My J->E dictionary, which would be less likely to have obscure words has none. My old 電子辞書 which I still use to find words/readings that use a particular 2nd kanji has only 10 uses of the 江, of which only one 遡江 (そこう)fits. It seems to refer to a river going over/up slope and even that seems to be somewhat specific to the Yangtze River (長江).
    – Tim
    Jan 30, 2014 at 0:30

1 Answer 1


In Japanese, 江 is read こう mostly in proper nouns --- in particular, Chinese river names such as [長江]{ちょうこう}(Yangtze River) and [黒龍江]{こくりゅうこう}(Amur River) and Chinese restaurant names.

In non-proper nouns, however, 江 is rarely read こう. 「[江湖]{こうこ} (meaning "rivers and lakes" literally and "this (real) world" metaphorically)」 might be the only exception but even that is not such a commonly-used word.

江 is a special kanji for me personally because that is one of the only four kanji in the world that are used in my name (it is read え in my name, needless to say) but even I do not know of any common or "everyday" kind of word in which it is read こう.

  • "江 in my name">> Let me guess... [幸江]{ゆきえ}さん!
    – user1016
    Jan 31, 2014 at 8:48
  • @Chocolate 幸江です、よろしゅうに・・て、誰が場末のホステスやねん!
    – user4032
    Jan 31, 2014 at 9:02
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    – user1016
    Jan 31, 2014 at 13:56
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    This thread is now really old, but I'll ask anyway-- how does one use the word 江湖? "This (real) world." Is this part of an expression, or... ? Thanks! May 30, 2014 at 16:43

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