Questions tagged [kanji]

漢字. Chinese characters as used in Japanese writing as opposed to the two kana syllabaries and rōmaji (Latin letters).

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48
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4answers
8k views

Is there any reason a lot of body parts use the Month/Moon radical?

腕、胸、お腹、肘、脇、肩 are all body parts, and their radical is 月. I wonder how that came to be?
39
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5answers
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If Kanji are necessary to disambiguate homophones, how come it's still used, being that Japanese people seem to know the difference when speaking?

I'm a beginner. People argue for Kanji being that it helps disambiguate homophones in written Japanese, but in spoken Japanese, kanji (or any other visual aid) are not available, yet people seem to ...
35
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5answers
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When do you use 下さい as opposed to ください

I've noticed that there seems to be different usage for 下さい and ください. Is this purely a personal preferences or is there an actual difference their usage? This was actually a question the Japanese ...
32
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4answers
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What are the origins of ヶ?

The ヶ in e.g. 一ヶ月 is a bit of an odd character - it looks a lot like a small version of the katakana ケ, but is it derived from that katakana originally? Or is it a normal kanji? Or is it something ...
31
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4answers
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What is 「々」 and how does it affect meaning and pronunciation?

I've seen this symbol in various places, such as 「日々」, 「色々」, and 「人々」. What is it, and how does it affect the meaning and pronunciation of the word?
31
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3answers
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Stroke order for left and right

Why are the stroke orders for 右 and 左 different? 右 starts with the vertical stroke, and 左 starts with the horizontal one.
30
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2answers
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How is the wind related to illness?

I've seen the kanji 風 appear in several different illnesses: [風邪]{«かぜ»} (a cold), [中風]{ちゅう・ふう} (paralysis), and [痛風]{つう・ふう} (gout). Conceivably there may be others, but I haven't seen them. What ...
29
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3answers
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Kanji for native Japanese concepts: Kun'yomi spanning multiple morphemes

There are a few words, which are written with Kanji imported from China, but where the intended native Japanese meaning would prefer a different choice of Kanji. My favourite examples are 雷 vs. 神鳴り (...
28
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4answers
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不 and 非 and 無 and 未 usage difference/rule

Is there any rules that govern when to use 不 and 非 and 無 and 未 in regards to the meaning of "not" or "un-" for instance 非表示, 不満
28
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6answers
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Why are some lyrics' words written in kanji whose usual reading is not how it is sung?

Some song lyrics in the official lyric book that accompanies the CD is sung as another word. Usually, the way it is sung is given as a furigana on the kanji: Written: 君が希望に変わってゆく          (...
28
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2answers
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What's the difference between the kanji forms for わかる?

The verb わかる can be written using either 分かる, 判る, or 解る - what's the semantic difference between these forms, if any?
28
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4answers
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Distinguishing certain characters in handwriting and print (Similar-looking Kana and Kanji)

Japanese has some sets of characters which look very similar or even identical. Obviously, context is usually more than enough to distinguish which character is intended, but I'm wondering if there ...
27
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6answers
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Why are there two versions of the kanji for 冷?

The screenshot below is from Kotoba for iPhone. It shows the character for "cool", 冷 as used in the word 冷たい. However, the character in the stroke order diagram is slightly different to the main one ...
27
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2answers
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Is there a list of kanji ordered by usage in novels?

I have found many lists of kanji ordered by their usage in newspapers, but are there any lists that order by their usage in novels and other fictional material? This might be useful to have because ...
26
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4answers
12k views

How can I tell if a Japanese person's given name is male or female?

I am hoping that there may be some particular kanji and/or sounds used in determining if a persons given name is male or female.
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5answers
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Are there any old loanwords from Korean, especially any not written in katakana?

Given the close proximity and long history of interaction of various kinds within East Asia, the great influence of Chinese in both Japanese and Korean, and the similar structures of Japanese and ...
25
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3answers
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What are the differences/characteristics between katakana, kanji and hiragana?

I know that romaji is the conversion from those to the roman alphabet, but what are the differences or characteristics between katakana, kanji, and hiragana? Are they used on a different context? Is ...
24
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2answers
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What does the highlighted portion of this handwritten Kanji say?

知恵袋で***いてるし… I tried searching Google, hoping it's a phrase that might come up more often, but none of the Kanji that came up looked even remotely like the one written here. Thank you!
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3answers
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Which is the most popular non-Jōyō kanji?

Basically, a trivia question that someone could answer with a script. What is the statistically most popular kanji in Japanese texts not in the jōyō list? Was it ever considered for inclusion? Is it ...
24
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2answers
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Difference between 丸い and 円い

Both come up with the same reading and definition in Jisho.org (round/circular), and both are listed as common words. Is there any preference between the two or should I simply learn both as ...
24
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1answer
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Why is 私 a sixth grade kanji?

Can anybody explain why 私 is a sixth grade kanji? I find it funny that such a common word appears on the list so late.
23
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8answers
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Is there an objective source of the origins of kanji?

Is there an authoritative source that explains where the different kanji come from and what the radicals mean? I think it's hard to tell from most of the textbooks/other sources whether a shown kanji'...
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4answers
852 views

Words made from strokes of a kanji like 女 toくノ一

According to Wikipedia, one theory for the etymology of くノ一 (female ninja) is that it's made up of the strokes of the kanji 女 (woman). Other theories include that it means nine and one, talking about ...
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3answers
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Why censor this one kanji?

I was watching an old Saturday Night Live sketch from the 1970s, called Night of the Moonies, making fun of the Unification Church by putting them in the context of the movie Night of the Living Dead. ...
22
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1answer
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Why did Asahi Shinbun write “子{こ}ども” instead of “子供{こども}” in this headline?

I just happened across an Asahi Shinbun article with a headline that reads: 日本{にほん}の子{こ}どもの幸福度{こうふくど}は6位{い} 豊{ゆた}かさの一方{いっぽう}、深刻{しんこく}な貧困{ひんこん} (-) Compacting articles as much as possible is a ...
22
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2answers
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Words/characters for fast food meal sizes: 並, 大, 特

When dining at Yoshinoya I never know how to ask for the size meal I want. Their sizes are 並, 大, and 特. I only know that "大" means big, but it also has two readings so I have no idea whether to ask ...
21
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6answers
7k views

Is exact Kanji stroke length important?

Context: I am currently on a quest to learn how to hand write the 2000 most commonly used Kanji. This requires lots of memorization, so efficiency is important. I have come across Kanji that have ...
21
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3answers
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Why is 「昨夜」 pronounced as 「ゆうべ」 {yuube} and 「今日」 as 「きょう」 {kyou}?

「ゆう」 is neither the kun'yomi nor on'yomi of 「昨」 and 「べ」 is not a pronunciation of 「夜」 either. The same can be said about the pronunciation 「きょう」 for 「今日」. So how come the pronunciations of the two ...
21
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2answers
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Does every kanji come from a Chinese character? If so, where can I find the origins of a kanji?

I know that kanji are borrowed from Chinese characters but are all of them borrowed? As a Chinese native speaker, I am wondering the origins of modern kanjis. Most of them are exactly same as the ...
21
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2answers
2k views

When writing for general public, is there a general guideline for selecting kanji?

After reading numerous publications, I've spotted a trend or custom on determining whether kanji is or is not used for certain words. The most obvious ones are: こと・事 …が実は犯人だったということがわかる。 (...
21
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2answers
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Recent creation or adoption of hanzi characters into Japanese kanji

According to Wikipedia, kanji was introduced and imported from chinese hanzi long time ago before Japanese language even had a writing system. From there, Japanese kanji has transformed and evolved ...
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2answers
2k views

What is the role of 空書 (writing kanji in the air) in modern Japanese?

What is the role of 空書{くうしょ} in modern Japanese? 空書 is tracing characters in the air with your finger (or on a flat surface), a phenomenon which apparently develops only in users of Chinese ...
20
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3answers
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What is the 中 in ダウンロード中?

I was downloading an update for a phone game I set in Japanese and on the screen it said 「ダウンロード中」and I don’t understand the use of 中. Middle? In the middle of downloading?
20
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3answers
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Are all kanji compounds considered words?

A friend once commented to me that Japanese has a larger vocabulary than English. I said I didn't think it did, because it wasn't really accurate to call all kanji compounds "words". My friend said I ...
20
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2answers
779 views

What's the difference between 悪 and 惡 ?

I'd like to know what the difference between 悪 and 惡 is. And also what usage you should do between both. I heard that they both mean "bad"
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2answers
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Use of 厨 on the Internet

If you visit ニコニコ動画 or any Japanese message boards often you are bound to see comments like ニコ厨 or 東方厨. Does anyone have good idea how did this originate and what do they mean?
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2answers
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When should I replace kanji with hiragana?

When should I write 海山 and when should I write うみやま?
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7answers
10k views

Japanese kanji with different meanings in Chinese

湯 in Japanese refers to "hot water." In Chinese, it means "soup." How common are kanji with different meanings in Chinese? Also, why do differences occur in the first place? Were the meanings in both ...
19
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3answers
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Why are there many kanji that are read and mean the same?

My question comes from this case: 会う 逢う 遭う 遇う I see they all are read あう, and mean "to meet". So, why are there these many cases? And more important, which one should I use? I knew 会う, and when I ...
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2answers
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Are there general rules on when to use kanji vs. kana?

This post is inspired by Tokyo Nagoya's comment in できる vs ~えます form for “can”, “able to” asking why everyone was writing 出来る in kanji in their responses. As I mentioned in my reply to his comment, I ...
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4answers
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The significance of 前 {まえ} in Japanese language and culture

I noticed that the 前 is a handy kanji character in Japanese language. It is used in many words including but not limited to: 名前 {なまえ} : Given name 手前, お前 : You [当]{あ}たり[前]{まえ} : Natural,...
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2answers
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Japanese don't learn kanji meaning only readings? Does it make sense for a kanji to have a key meaning to identify it?

As I understand it works like this. By the time Japanese kids enter first grade they have more or less decent vocabulary of words they know. So when kanjis are taught I can't even imagine how to tell ...
18
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5answers
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Can I use my Chinese name as my Japanese name?

Im Chinese and my name is 陈依仁 (Chén Yī Rén). Can I use this as my Japanese name, and if so how do I read it in Japanese? Or would it be better to use the Katakana version of my English name which is ...
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3answers
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Is there a difference in drawing between the “mouth” and “enclosure” kanji radicals?

The two kanji radicals from the image are supposed to be 2 different kanji radicals, one meaning "mouth", and the other meaning "enclosure". I'm not sure if they are supposed to look different or not. ...
18
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2answers
705 views

Why does 語 contain 五?

I'm aware the two kanji are often pronounced the same, but why does one contain the other in it?
18
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3answers
956 views

What is the difference between 蔵, 倉, and 庫?

The word 【くら】 can be written with any of the kanji 蔵, 倉, or 庫. However, WWWJDIC lists them all under one entry, defined as: (n) warehouse; cellar; magazine; granary; godown; depository; treasury; ...
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1answer
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How did 革 “leather” come to mean newness?

How did the character for "leather" - [革]{かわ / カク} - come to also convey the meaning for "newness"? 広辞苑 lists one of the definitions (under かく) as あらたまること, あらためること, and we can see this in some of its ...
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2answers
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Etymology of 出来る dekiru

An entry of Tae Kim's blog suggested that 出来る came from Chinese word 出来 that does have the nuance of potentiality, but the most recent visitor's comment claimed that the usage of 出来 in Chinese to show ...
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2answers
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Which is the “official” kanji for さい, 歳 or 才?

Well if I'm not wrong, usually when a word has multiple kanjis one of them is selected as the "main" or more commonly used one. But is it true that 才 and 歳 are both the "main" kanji for さい?
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2answers
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When and how did USA and UK come to be written as [米]{べい}[国]{こく} and [英]{えい}[国]{こく}?

I know of four countries with a specific kanji besides Japan: China, the Netherlands, the USA and UK. The last two must be quite recent (I presume 19th century) but I wonder on the details and context ...