First of all, is that even what this is, and is there a term for it? For example, in a certain application's settings menu there is an option for vibration sensitivity that looks like this:


強  中  弱

I have three thoughts for what 強 and 弱 might be:

  1. i-adjectives with the い removed.
  2. Full words (きょう and じゃく?)
  3. Not words at all, but Kanji used to convey meaning directly (are these pronounceable then?)

So what are these, and if the answer is option #1 or #3, are there any solid rules for when it is okay to write like this?


They are labels, primarily intended to be quickly understood by eye, and how to read is secondary matter. Since they aren't explicitly tied to single spoken words, they are closest to #3 in your options.

You can deliberately choose how to read as long as the meaning matches the kanji. In this case, I'd pronounce:

  • 強: きょう, つよい or つよ
  • 中: ちゅう (なか isn't valid as it only means "inside")
  • 弱: じゃく, よわい or よわ

There is an interesting post on a Japanese forum about how to read 入/切 ("on/off") on electrical switches, and everyone seems to have his/her own opinion:

  • 入: いる, いり, はいる, いれる, にゅう, オン
  • 切: きる, きり, きれる, せつ, オフ
  • I tend to pronounce them with their 音読み, particularly because with food portions of different sizes, 小・中・大 are usually pronounced 「しょう・ちゅう・だい」...at least from what I've heard. – istrasci May 24 '16 at 20:13
  • Yes, it seems that those frequently used as affixes are more preferred in on'yomi when read alone too. What surprised me most was that there were people who read 入/切 as にゅう/せつ. – broccoli forest May 24 '16 at 20:22
  • 2
    @istrasci maybe it's a regional thing, but here in Hokkaido I always here and say しょう 、 ちゅう、 おお (モリ) – virmaior May 24 '16 at 23:17
  • That's a wonderful information. Thanks. I always thought japanese read the kanji label such in remote control the same . So i assume it's correct if i say to someone to push the (Kanji spelling in my opinion) button. – Alice28 May 26 '16 at 18:28

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