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Also can you explain what each kanji character means?

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  • on http://nlb.ninjal.ac.jp 元気 and 元氣 are the same thing I just wondered of the difference.
    – Sam
    Feb 14, 2016 at 20:47

2 Answers 2

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The kanji 氣 is an old alternative form of 気. You may see this kanji in calligraphy arts, historical documents and such, but in modern usage this word is always 元気.

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  • Thank you very much, I had no idea I was looking at such an old character.
    – Sam
    Feb 14, 2016 at 20:59
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    @Sam It's not -that- old, it was official until 1946.
    – Sjiveru
    Feb 15, 2016 at 0:10
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Modern Chinese differentiates between Traditional (Taiwan, Hong Kong, etc) and Simplified characters (mainland). One might assume that Japanese Kanji and Traditional Chinese are the same thing; not so. The Japanese have made a number of their own simplifications. Here are a few examples of Kanji that are considered "archaic" by Japanese standards, but are the everyday form used in Traditional:

[氣]{hei3}→[気]{き}

[學]{hok6}→[学]{がく}

[貓]{maau1}→[猫]{びょう} (previously みょう, previously めう)

[國]{gwok3}→[国]{こく}

For instance, the word for weather in Cantonese is [天氣]{tin1 hei3}. Look familiar? :)

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    Citation needed: "Many Japanese speakers think that Japanese Kanji and Traditional Chinese are the same thing; " I think you'd be hard pressed to find a native speaker or advanced learner suffering under the belief that contemporary Japanese characters are the same as traditional Chinese characters.
    – virmaior
    Feb 14, 2016 at 22:20
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    Many non-Japanese/Chinese speakers think that Japanese Kanji and Traditional Chinese are the same thing の間違いじゃないのw
    – Chocolate
    Feb 15, 2016 at 7:42
  • Redacted. I didn't like the line of first writing either. Feb 15, 2016 at 14:43

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