Is there a name for kanji with the same on and kun reading? I mean kanji like 労.

  • 1
    ロウ is not a kun reading.
    – Earthliŋ
    Feb 19, 2016 at 10:50
  • ろう.する is in kun readings on jisho.org. Am I missing the point? Or is it wrong to say that ろう is a kun reading in this case? Should I say that ろうする is the kun reading instead?
    – Teiko Abe
    Feb 19, 2016 at 11:02
  • 2
    Dictionary says the kun reading of 労 is つかれる, いたわる, ねぎらう but there is a verb of 労(ろう)する. This ろう is on reading and there are some verbs which one on reading kanji + する like 乗(じょう)ずる. Feb 19, 2016 at 11:49

2 Answers 2


I'm not sure there are kanji that have the same on and kun reading and if there are, they would be extremely rare. For this to happen you would have to have a native Japanese word (at most two morae), which happens to be pronounced like a on reading (quite unlikely) and that word happens to be the on reading of the kanji that matches the meaning of the original Japanese word (extremely unlikely).

For example, か "mosquito" could be an on reading of a kanji. But it's not the on reading of the kanji that matches the meaning "mosquito", which would be 蚊【ブン】. So, we get 蚊 with kun reading か and on reading ブン.

It may happen that the on reading of a single kanji may be used as a word by itself (e.g. 駅). That doesn't make the reading a kun reading.

Also, sometimes the on reading of a kanji may be used in verbs (e.g. 愛す or 転じる). Even if the verb can be written in hiragana (as in あいす or てんじる), that doesn't make the reading (あい or てん) a kun reading. These verbs, that look like

[on reading] + す
[on reading] + じる
[on reading] + ずる

are fossilized versions of

[on reading] + する

as in 勉強する "to study" and you will agree that べんきょう isn't a kun reading of 勉強 just because it appears in べんきょうする.

  • Are you saying that in 労する kanji 労 is read by ON? And one should not say that in this case ON and one of the KUN readings are the same?
    – Teiko Abe
    Feb 19, 2016 at 11:32
  • 2
    Yes, the reading of 労 in 労する is the on reading and you can't say that on and kun readings are the same. (労 doesn't have a kun reading ろう.)
    – Earthliŋ
    Feb 19, 2016 at 11:39
  • Thank you for your clarifications. I guess I was misled by the way they give ON and KUN readings on jisho.org and imiwa.
    – Teiko Abe
    Feb 19, 2016 at 11:42
  • 4
    こんなのありました・・・全部あってるかどうかわかりませんけど。  www13.atpages.jp/shimapucchi/newpage17.html
    – chocolate
    Feb 19, 2016 at 12:42
  • @choco Thank you. This is what I was looking for! =)
    – Teiko Abe
    Feb 19, 2016 at 15:13

A few kanji do have the same on- and kun-readings. In the joyo-kanji list,

    • on: シ as in 死亡【シボウ】 (death), 死体【シタイ】 (corpse)
    • kun: 死【し】ぬ (to die)
    • on: カ as in 高架【コウカ】 (elevated/raised (road)), 担架【タンカ】 (stretcher)
    • kun: 架【か】ける (to build (a bridge))

I don't know the name for this type of kanji. These are probably mere coincidences and I wonder if this will help people learn Japanese.

  • Thanks a lot. I hoped there were more. Now I understand there are very few such kanji. Thank you for your help.
    – Teiko Abe
    Feb 19, 2016 at 15:10
  • 4
    Strictly speaking, 死ぬ's base is sin- and 架ける(架かる) kak-. Feb 19, 2016 at 16:47

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