I was reading the internet today and noticed someone said that the kanji does not exist.

This character is very commonly used in Chinese and can be found in the Unicode CJK Unified Ideographs (Han) block at code point U+83B7.

The statement that the kanji didn't exist got me wondering, in Japanese, how would one refer to a Chinese Character that isn't used in the Japanese language? Would it not still be referred to as kanji?

  • Is your question about what we call those rare-in-Japan characters? Or whether we call them "kanji"? – broccoli facemask - cloth Apr 7 '17 at 10:03
  • @broccoliforest I was initially just wondering if they would still be called kanji, but if not, I'd be curious about what they are called. – martin Apr 7 '17 at 10:07

They're still kanji, for kanji is the Japanese reading of 漢字 "Chinese character". The same reason we call comics from everywhere manga, unlike in English.

how would one refer to a Chinese Character that isn't used in the Japanese language?

There are two scenarios:

  • the kanji is theoretically usable, or historically attested in Japan, but rarely used in Japanese due to linguistic differences or whatever reason

    We can call them:


  • Japan and other countries have different standards for the kanji, so that (the specific form of) it never occurred in Japanese writing

    We can call them:

    外国の漢字 or [country name]の漢字

In your case, 获 is the Simplified form in PRC corresponding to 穫 and 獲 in Japanese orthography.

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  • How rare are words like 簡体字 or 表外字 in spoken or casually written Japanese? Anyway, your point that they are still called kanji answers the actual question better, as 表外字 aren't necessarily uncommon – siikamiika Apr 7 '17 at 10:46
  • @siikamiika Both 簡体字 and 表外字 are technical terms for specific sets of characters, not representing the general idea of "uncommon characters". In fact, they're orthogonal to the notion. Some 簡体字 share the shape with Japanese 新字体, and when it comes to 表外字... well, how many sushi restaurants can get on without them? :D – broccoli facemask - cloth Apr 7 '17 at 11:32
  • The complexities introduced by that fork strike again... But yeah, you can often see 表外字 or 旧字体漢字 used for stylistic reasons – siikamiika Apr 7 '17 at 11:54
  • @siikamiika Actually, 常用漢字 + 人名用漢字 add up to at most 2998 glyphs, greatly insufficient to describe many encyclopedic words as animal, plant, tool or other cultural entity names (frequency ranking has a pitfall; the number you refer to cats yearly must be way higher than to leopards unless you're a zoo keeper, but it doesn't mean you don't need a character for leopard). Not until JIS第二水準 do I call practical. – broccoli facemask - cloth Apr 8 '17 at 2:34
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    So in summary, a word can be relatively common (~top 5k-10k), but if it uses a specific kanji instead of type+concept, the kanji will be extremely rare in comparison to kanji used for broader concepts – siikamiika Apr 8 '17 at 14:33

获 is the simplified form of 獲 and thus only used in simplified Chinese. The Japanese word for simplified Chinese characters is 簡体字{かんたいじ}.

獲 on the other hand is a commonly used character in Japanese that is taught in schools.

Generally, characters not in 常用漢字 (regular-use kanji) or 人名用漢字 (name kanji) are referred to as 表外字 ("characters outside the table"). That doesn't mean they can't be used, though. 糞{くそ} for one is a character that is a 表外字 but is still commonly used and most Japanese people know it.

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