After some research on my own (looking through the list of kun-readings for more obscure kanji), I can more or less surely claim:

に is 于 (which is simultaneously many things, including ここに and を);

まで is 迄;

の, of course, is 之.

But what for the others? Are there specific kanji for は, for が, for で etc.?

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    ながら is 乍, ばかり is 許, I think you might want to have a look at 万葉仮名 for mono-kana particle or have a look at 候文, Nov 1, 2018 at 10:46
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    助詞の「は」は「者」、「の」は「之」、「と(and)」は「与」、「より(from)」は「自り」、「ながら」は「乍ら」、「ばかり」は「許り」、「まで」は「迄」、「ほど」は「程」、「くらい」は「位」、「など」は「等」や「抔」、「だけ」は「丈」、「のみ」は「耳」や「已」、「なり(断定)」「や(感嘆)」は「也」、「かな(感嘆)」「や・か(感嘆・疑問)」は「哉」などと書けます(ほかにもあると思います)。(stolen from a lang-8 post) Nov 1, 2018 at 10:48
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    Maybe a functional variant on this question might be which kanji for particles are generally understood by your average high school graduate in Japan? (regardless of official status)
    – virmaior
    Nov 1, 2018 at 11:17

2 Answers 2


@kandyman's answer focuses on the official aspect of your question and conclude that you should use hiragana. That is indeed what you should do. However if you are instead interested by historic usage that is no longer in use except for some occurrences of 迄 on placards, and some obscure books might still use 乍らand 許り. You should remember that those are not official.

Here is a quick list of what I found:

  • 「之」(の)
  • 「于」(に)
  • 「自・由・従」(より)
  • 「与」(と)
  • 「者」(は)
  • 「乎・哉・邪・耶」(疑問の終助詞「や」・「か」)
  • 「耳」・「而已矣」・「已」(のみ)
  • 「乍ら」(ながら)
  • 「許り」(ばかり)
  • 「程」(ほど)
  • 「位」(くらい)
  • 「等・抔」(など)


  • 「不・弗」(打消の助動詞「ず」)
  • 「可」(推量の助動詞「べし」)
  • 「使・令」(使役の助動詞「しむ」)
  • 「見・被」(受身の助動詞「る」・「らる」)
  • 「如・若」(比況の助動詞「ごとし」)
  • 「也」(断定の助動詞「なり」)

The part about 助動詞 is what you would expect to find in a 漢文 text.

There are some more weird kanji in 漢文 like 雖[いえど]も but those are neither particles nor auxiliaries.

Refs: https://kou.benesse.co.jp/nigate/japanese/a13j0305.html

  • AFAIK, 位 is still in common usage.
    – Omegastick
    Nov 2, 2018 at 2:44

At one time, kanji used to be used to represent Japanese particles, but that is no longer the case for the most part (in Modern Japanese).

Particles existed in Japanese long before there was a writing system. Kanji were borrowed from Chinese but since there was no equivalent to post-positional particles in Chinese, there were no kanji which could be assigned to particles. In those days scholars attempted to represent particles by using kanji phonetically (ignoring the character's meaning). For example, the particle には was once written as 庭 because the word it represents in Japanese is pronounced 'niwa'. However, ultimately this method proved unsuccessful, probably because it was excessively complicated or confusing. It was only with the evolution of the kana syllabaries that a standardized model of representing particles in writing began to take root. Incidentally, Katakana was originally used as 'furigana' in old kanbun texts as pronunciation markers. The priests would do things like writing an ヲ above or between kanji words to indicate to the reader that a particle should be inserted there.

It is possible that these older methods of representing particles could theoretically still be used to write Japanese particles. As you mentioned you could say that に can be written as 于. So while I wouldn't call it 'incorrect', it wouldn't be natural to do so. These representations are quickly dying out and it is overwhelmingly the case that standard Modern Japanese favors Hiragana in writing particles.

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    I don't think this answer the question. Nov 1, 2018 at 10:52
  • I think that depends how you interpret the word "official" in the question. Does the fact that a particle was historically written with a particular kanji at one time mean that it is "officially" okay to write it that way?
    – Leebo
    Nov 1, 2018 at 10:56
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    @永劫回帰 I was addressing the question in the title, which I assumed was the OP's main query, i.e. the 'official' kanji question. But yes, it seems there are two possible answers, current official use vs historical use.
    – kandyman
    Nov 1, 2018 at 11:51
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    @永劫回帰 Bjarke Frellesvig discusses this phenomenon in detail in a section of his book. He lists examples of the multiple ways in which particles were written with kanji, one of which is the use of 庭. The book is called "A History of the Japanese Language" - Cambridge University Press (2010).
    – kandyman
    Nov 1, 2018 at 12:43
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    @永劫回帰 Also see Miller's "The Japanese Language" - University of Chicago Press (1967). On page 98 he specifically mentions 'niwa' as a rebus way of reading the particle には. That is part of a wider discussion in that chapter of phonetic equivalency (or the lack of it) when assigning kanji to Japanese particles.
    – kandyman
    Nov 1, 2018 at 12:51

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