I am trying to study Japanese Kanjis using my limited knowledge of Chinese language.
Usually I can find a similar character (e.g. 国 → 国) or a very close one (e.g. 传 → 伝).
But when there is no equivalent I translate from Chinese to Japanese and pretty much most of the time I can find an equivalent character in terms of meaning.

But this one 涵 is so abstract I can't find its close relation, What would it be?

(ps: Are there are lot of Chinese characters that have no pair in the Japanese language?)

Update: Deconstructing the character 涵, is 氵(water) + 函 (box). The character seems to mean "holding water" (geological term, as earth retains water) but in a broader sense it simply means "to hold".
For instance in Chinese language 内涵 means "connotation" ([meaning] hold within).
Could it be 含?

1 Answer 1


In Japanese, 涵 is still 涵, and this character is not simplified in neither Chinese nor Japanese.

There are a few point to note:

  • After WWII, both China and Japan simplified some of the characters, some are simplified in the same way, some are simplified similarly, and some are simplified differently. E.g.
    (Syntax: Traditional Chinese → Simplified Chinese/Kanji)

國 → 国/国 (Simplified the same in SC and JP)
鐵 → 铁/鉄 (Simplified similarly in SC and JP)
傳 → 传/伝 (Simplified differently in SC and JP)

  • Aside from simplification, Japan also introduced character replacements, meaning some harder characters are replaced with easier ones, but the harder characters are not technically "simplified". E.g.

智慧 → 智慧/知恵
掠奪 → 掠夺/略奪
繃帶 → 绷带/包帯
輪廓 → 轮廓/輪郭

But technically 智, 慧, 掠, 廓 and 繃 are never "simplified" in Japanese. They just aren't used anymore.

  • Then, there are just some characters that are never used in Japanese. Like 抻, 嘿, 啊, 忒, which are common to Chinese but Japanese never really adopted them into Japanese.

As for the case of 涵, it belongs to neither of these categories. It IS adapted into Japanese(so not category 3), it is neither simplified in China nor in Japan(so not category 1), and in Japan it is NOT replaced by 含(so not category 2). 涵 is used in words like 涵養{かんよう} and 涵{ひた}す.

Here a link to 涵 on KanjiPedia:


  • Thanks I understand it is a rarely (not to say never) used loan character, that there is not a simplified version of it. was just my call for what would be the closest character in term of ideology. Or maybe , .
    – vdegenne
    Commented Dec 26, 2022 at 19:32
  • By the way, I think 知恵 and 輪郭 falls into the category of simplification. Also 掠 is present in a word in jlpt1 category which retains the original meaning of 掠. And 繃 sure is not used anymore in Japanese but it has an equivalent which is 包. That is why I was asking about 涵 because the original meaning from TC makes it a character hard to equal in the Japanese domain.
    – vdegenne
    Commented Dec 26, 2022 at 19:43

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