In a Linguistics SE question on loanwords from Japanese into Chinese, it was said that the Chinese import the kanji and use their own reading thereof. So words in kun'yomi are unrecognizable in speech. It got me thinking about ateji: these must make messy loanwords. But since the on'yomi is close to the Chinese readings the Chinese and Japanese versions may sound alike so long as the on'yomi is used.

So, at long last, my question: are there kun'yomi ateji?

  • 2
    Do you mean, are there any loanwords from Japanese into Chinese which disregard the characters but only care about approximating the pronunciation? If so, there are quite a few in Taiwanese Mandarin.
    – dROOOze
    Commented Apr 17, 2019 at 18:36

1 Answer 1


Yes they exist. I'm assuming you don't mean things like 零{ゼロ} and things like 生憎{あいにく} or 可惜{あたら}, in which the Kanji means something relevant to the word, but the reading is unusual. Here are some examples I found on JMdict. I'm sure there are more.

  • 矢{や}っ張{ぱ}り
  • 目出度い {めでたい}
  • 藻掻く{もがく}
  • 1
    For 越幾斯, it's all on'yomi, albeit somewhat unusual: え from えつ, き, and す as the 唐音 version of the on'yomi. It's possible the earliest pronunciation in Japanese might have been えっきす, in reflection of the Dutch extract, where (I think) the stress is on the first syllable, which might have parsed as a geminate //k// sound to Japanese speakers. Commented Apr 17, 2019 at 22:21

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