I feel this is really beneficial to have a list for in my studies. The reason is if I see an unknown word that I'm reasonably sure has onyomi readings, if the kanji in question have only one possible reading, I can automatically read the word. Score! But if there are multiple onyomi per character, I'm going to have to consider which reading applies. Single onyomi Kanji make for smooth reading and learning.

As for the multiple-onyomi Kanji, I'll be wanting more careful practice, so I'd like to know the list of them.

I could find all this out manually by looking up thousands of characters, but is this a known thing?

  • I don't know exactly how to go about this, but if I were in your shoes I'd reach out to someone that has an active Kanji database that you can query, and search for entries where onyomi is no more than 1. I suspect that as the user of said database you wouldn't be able to generate a query, but is it something you could probably request off the db admin somehow?
    – psosuna
    Commented May 22, 2019 at 0:04
  • It would also depend on how the database is organized -- at Wiktionary, for instance, if a kanji has the same kan'on and goon, that reading is often listed twice -- once for each category. Still query-able, but you'd need to structure the query differently. Commented May 23, 2019 at 17:51

1 Answer 1

  • The number of Joyo kanji with only one Joyo ON-YOMI is 1789 characters.

On this useful kanji database website, you can query Joyo kanji for various criteria. In the 'Select Kanji from Database' section (here), I performed a query where # of On = 1, together with what the ON-YOMI is and what the translation is.

The results of that query can be seen here: JOYO KANJI ONE JOYO ON-YOMI.

My answer does not address the issue of including Jinmeiyo kanji.

EDIT: This is a list of Joyo kanji that have only one Joyo ON-YOMI reading, but they may have non-Joyo ON-YOMI readings.

  • Just to clarify, this appears to be a query of jouyou kanji that only have one jouyou onyomi, right? They may have non-jouyou readings. For instance, 衣 is on the list, but it has both the jouyou reading of い and the non-jouyou reading of え (as seen in the word 浄衣). I'm not sure if that meets the criteria imagined by the OP or not.
    – Leebo
    Commented May 28, 2019 at 22:19
  • That's a good point and I omitted the non-Joyo readings since the OP seemed concerned with Joyo. But I will edit the answer to clarify.
    – kandyman
    Commented May 28, 2019 at 22:21
  • This is a very, very helpful answer. Thank you. I will look into this site and try to learn how to use it for future inquiries (though it seems a little technical). The good news is that there are far fewer multi-onyomi Kanji than I thought. That helps.
    – dozy_boy
    Commented May 29, 2019 at 22:41
  • @dozy_boy Indeed, most kanji have only one Joyo on-yomi. Personally, I always found the kun-yomi more troublesome because many of them have multiple readings which are important to know and are difficult to remember how to read.
    – kandyman
    Commented May 29, 2019 at 22:44
  • @dozy_boy how do you define "non-common use" ?
    – kandyman
    Commented May 29, 2019 at 23:18

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