This would be probably more common when writing personal names, but can happen in a regular writing as well. Is there a Japanese word or expression for a kanji “typo” – a situation, when you use a wrong kanji character? Not necessarily from a technical reason such as misspelling, but because of a mistaken recall or bad guessing as well.

2 Answers 2


You can simply use [誤字]{ご・じ} to mean the wrong letter. I believe it's applicable to both kanji and kana.

If you ever take the [漢検]{かん・けん}, starting in level 4 there is a section called [誤字訂正]{ご・じ・てい・せい} where you have to read a sentence with a purposefully misspelled word. You have to identify the word, which kanji is wrong, and then figure out (and write) the correct kanji based on the sentence context. Here's an example:


The answer is

沈目 contains the mistake. It should be 沈黙. The sentence would translate as "The criminal is remaining silent (沈黙), but denial is useless in the face of definite scientific proof".

  • 1
    Agreed, regardless of whether it's kana or kanji, mistaken spelling is 誤字. Mar 1, 2017 at 1:01

If it's text on a computer, the most common term is 変換{へんかん}ミス, literally "conversion mistake", in reference to the not-uncommon situation where someone is typing in Japanese and doesn't notice that the input method editor (IME) has offered up the wrong kanji for the context.

For handwriting or simply using the wrong kanji, I am less certain of any fixed phrase. One might just say 間違{まちが}った漢字{かんじ}, "mistaken kanji".

  • 2
    Agree with the top half on 変換ミス. Having just finished 入学試験採点, I can say that the bottom one is definitely 誤字 as a fixed phrase.
    – virmaior
    Feb 28, 2017 at 23:53

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .