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When reading a japanese newspaper there's a lot of kanjis, but how do you know the correct reading if you come across a kanji you dont know? Is there some easy way to look it up, or do you just have to know the word beforehand?

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  1. The kanji used in newspapers are basically limited to those on the joyo kanji table, which includes only(?) 2,136 characters as of 2018 (there are a small number of exceptions). This means native adults are unlikely to encounter a totally new kanji while reading newspapers. Unsurprisingly, newspapers are meant to be read and understood by native speakers without dictionaries.
  2. Some proper nouns have rare difficult kanji, but they come with its readings in hiragana or katakana anyway.
  3. The majority of difficult kanji are keisei moji, which means you can often make a reasonable guess once you've understood the general pattern.
  4. If you do want to look up a kanji, there is a special type of Japanese dictionary for that, and there is software that allows you to find kanji from mouse strokes.

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