I've been studying Japanese and I realized some kanji are pronounced exactly like hiragana like 日 is the read the same as ひ.

For example, the verb "write" is written like 書くinstead of かく, and the pronunciation of 書 is "sho" not "ka", is it wrong to write everything with hiragana? why do people write with kanji instead of all hiragana?

  • 1
    How could a kanji reading sound like something other than hiragana within Japanese?
    – Leebo
    Commented Oct 5, 2021 at 20:56
  • @Leebo Considering it's an alphabet, he might have expected some kanjis to have an exclusive reading outside of kanas.
    – Simon
    Commented Oct 5, 2021 at 21:10
  • @Simon it's a syllabary rather than an alphabet, which is basically what my point was.
    – Leebo
    Commented Oct 5, 2021 at 22:03
  • @Leebo Yes and for kanjis, it's a lolography. I misused alphabet here, but syllabary or not, logically kanjis could've had exclusive pronunciations of their own, which is basically what my point was trying to explain his point of view. Having multiple overlapping syllabary is uncommon.
    – Simon
    Commented Oct 5, 2021 at 22:36

1 Answer 1


If you're talking about why kanjis are in the language, this is the history of Japan with China, you might want to read some literature about the subject.

If you're asking about the utility of using kanji, there is a couple. It's separating words and grammar in a broad sense (because words don't consist exclusively of kanjis). Also, the same word can have different kanjis giving different variations of nuances. Finally, each symbol holds a certain meaning so, in some sense, you can understand the text without knowing how to pronounce it. There is also inconvenients, mostly that you need to learn them all. This is generally known as Logograms, if you want to study this in more details.

Sadly the different readings for the same kanji are an extra layer of complexity that we just cannot avoid, it's part of the language and how it evolved. Writing in hiragana is not "wrong" because you'll be understood, but it doesn't look serious so it will depend on the context. It would be suited for a casual things like mangas, chatting, learning, etc. But even then, you'll rarely see text completely in hiragana. For journals, documents, business and literature, kanjis are mandatory.

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    Also, it helps differentiate between homophonic, like how 書く is read as かく, but so are 掻く, 欠く, 描く and 舁く.
    – Mauro
    Commented Oct 5, 2021 at 20:50

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