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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?

Kanji aren't necessary to write Japanese Your rationale is correct; Japanese is a living, spoken language; people are able to understand each other by sound only, therefore a writing system based on ...
melissa_boiko's user avatar
24 votes

If Kanji are necessary to disambiguate homophones, how come it's still used, being that Japanese people seem to know the difference when speaking?

This is definitely a bit harder for native English speakers to pick up on at first, but sometimes homophones in Japanese are distinguishable by the pitch accent. So some of them aren't an issue at all....
Kurausukun's user avatar
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16 votes
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How to read 死神界?

That kind of furigana is not for telling the reader the reading of the kanji, but what the character actually said. The kanji tell the reader what they meant. It would be incorrect to read it ここ every ...
By137's user avatar
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14 votes
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At what time did furigana start being used?

Short answer: In the words of Ariga, they're "as old as writing itself".¹ Long answer: You might be surprised to learn that furigana is older than hiragana! To understand what I mean by that, we'll ...
melissa_boiko's user avatar
12 votes

Why Chinese "h" often corresponds to Sino-Japanese "k"?

h in romanization of Mandarin language is [x] (and e.g. in Cantonese it is [h]). [h] is recently developed consonant in Japanese language itself: Old Japanese (8th century) and some earlier part of ...
Arfrever's user avatar
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11 votes

Why would a light novel have furigana for common kanji?

It seems they add furigana to kanji that are not taught in elementary school (小学校). 緒、吐、丈、違 are not taught in elementary school. (参考: 学年別漢字配当表) [笑]{わら}う is taught in 4年生, but the readings [笑]{え}む、[笑]...
chocolate's user avatar
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10 votes
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Difference between furigana and rubi

ルビ (rubi) is jargon which mainly refers to the characters' appearance (small annotative characters placed on top of or to the right of main text), and is preferred in the publishing industry. Even ...
naruto's user avatar
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9 votes
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Small Words on the side of Big Words. Is it a manga thing or a japanese thing?

The small writing is called furigana in Japanese, and is also known as ruby text in English. These are provided as phonetic guides to show the pronunciations of the bigger characters. Furigana are ...
Eiríkr Útlendi's user avatar
9 votes
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Should the furigana go above the whole word or individual kanji?

In DTP jargon, per-word rubies (A) are called グループルビ (group-ruby), and per-kanji rubies (B) are called モノルビ (mono-ruby). There's also an intermediate convention called 熟語ルビ (jukugo-ruby). Are there ...
naruto's user avatar
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8 votes
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Questions on an 1840's text: Battle at Yamaki Palace 治承四年八月中句右兵衞佐頼朝公

Questions and Answers I'll answer your questions in order. Line 1: 句 looks like it is read as ば (ba), despite 句 having readings of く (ku), こう (kō) or すく (suku). Any thoughts? The kanji are used here ...
Eiríkr Útlendi's user avatar
8 votes
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Why would a light novel have furigana for common kanji?

In general, furigana rules tends to be determined on a per-magazine or per-bunko-label basis, and the theme of each title is not always relevant. Titles published in 少年向け ("for early-teens") labels/...
naruto's user avatar
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7 votes
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Why is 悪夢 read as ゆめ?

That's a technique Japanese authors use every so often: playing with furigana (rubi) glosses. You can put a different word in the gloss and in the kanji, and in this way insert two words ...
melissa_boiko's user avatar
7 votes
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Why does the name of ハチ公 【こう】 include Katakana instead of Hiragana?

The nickname ハチ公 consists of the name ハチ followed by the suffix 〜公. Katakana is a common choice for writing names, even if the actual name is written with kanji. The suffix 〜公 is described in 大辞林 as ...
Earthliŋ's user avatar
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6 votes

If Kanji are necessary to disambiguate homophones, how come it's still used, being that Japanese people seem to know the difference when speaking?

Thinking briefly, I think that there is no problem even if we have no kanji in Japanese to disambiguate homophones or homonyms as OP thinks , but in fact we need kanji. In conversation, not in ...
user20624's user avatar
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6 votes

If Kanji are necessary to disambiguate homophones, how come it's still used, being that Japanese people seem to know the difference when speaking?

Most everyone's answers are correct, but I wanted to bring up one useful aspect of kanji which I don't think has been brought up. It may be limited to learners like me, but many times when I encounter ...
AberrantWolf's user avatar
6 votes
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several difficulties reading an extract about Kobayashi Issa's works

I think the meaning of あげる here is "bring up", as in "bring up a topic". So he is probably talking about some things he brought up earlier. その愛をもたない存在ー>その愛を持たない存在。「愛を持たない」 modifies 「存在」. This is ...
strawberry jam's user avatar
6 votes

Why are some loanwords written in kanji in certain manga?

Some writers like to do it because it adds meaning to what may otherwise be incoherent sounds. This works even for me, a native English speaker: I've never read any One Piece, so I have no idea what "...
Kurausukun's user avatar
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6 votes
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Is it rude to always attach furigana to every Kanji used in letters directed to superiors?

If I did so, yes, it would be very rude, because I am a native Japanese speaker who is supposed to be able to use fluent business Japanese. They might think I did so because I wanted to treat them as ...
naruto's user avatar
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5 votes

Should I write 此方 or こちら?

Writing something with kanji doesn't necessarily make the document more "college worthy". I'll just say that in all the years I have been here, I probably never saw 此方 written as such. But I have seen ...
stack reader's user avatar
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5 votes
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How to interpret this mismatched furigana?

メイン means "main dish" in this context. From the Wikipedia entry on main course: The main dish is usually the heaviest, heartiest, and most complex or substantial dish in a meal. So it goes ...
By137's user avatar
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4 votes
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How useful is furigana for most adults and teenagers?

Furigana is basically not necessary because backpackers are not elementary school kids. Adding furigana to easy words can even be disturbing. Ordinary news articles written in Japanese have almost ...
naruto's user avatar
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4 votes
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Meaning of 首ひねり in the following sentence

首ひねり is obviously used to explain スリッピングアウェー, so it shouldn't be another difficult technical term. You can forget the sumo move. 首をひねる (literally "twist a neck") is a common set phrase (not specific ...
naruto's user avatar
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4 votes

How do I ask about books that include furigana for the kanji?

For "books with furigana" you can use 「ふりがな付きの本」. Of course books come on a spectrum and all books directed at native speakers of a particular age group contain kanji and furigana appropriate for ...
Earthliŋ's user avatar
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4 votes
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Why does furigana often appear in the most unnecessary places in Japanese books?

I think the reasons are all various. According to the Association of Japanese Newspapers, 椅子 is “a word with complex kanji or an existing tradition of writing in hiragana,” that should prescriptively ...
Alexander Z.'s user avatar
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4 votes
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Why is this reading like this?

The word that is used in this panel is 退く in the imperative form. In this case, the imperative form is made by changing 退く into 退け by taking the last う (the one in く) and changing it into a え, which ...
Tylersanzura's user avatar
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3 votes
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Why are some loanwords written in kanji in certain manga?

One Piece is set in a fictional world, but the setting is clearly not Japan. Actually, apart from Zoro's swords I can't remember anything that is related to Japan. In this world 記録指針{きろくししん} sounds ...
Earthliŋ's user avatar
  • 48.2k
3 votes

Why is 悪夢 read as ゆめ?

悪夢 should be read as あくむ, and it means a nightmare. "夢" ipse reads ゆめ, and it means a dream. 夢 (dream / hope) and 悪夢 (nightmare) are different words. "ゆめ" added to 悪夢 as a ふりがな (vocal notation) is ...
Yoichi Oishi's user avatar
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3 votes
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How do I ask about books that include furigana for the kanji?

The most common way to specify that the printed material must contain furigana would be: ふりがな付きの(本・小説・まんが・etc.)ありますか。 or ふりがなの付いている(本・小説・まんが・etc.)ありますか。 If you were to use the translation you ...
BJCUAI's user avatar
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3 votes
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Are these furigana wrong?

Yes, the furigana do not show the normal readings of the kanji. No, the furigana are not wrong. Kanji and furigana combinations are sometimes used to provide a multi-layered reading experience, ...
Eiríkr Útlendi's user avatar
3 votes
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Why Kanji "Ichi tsu" pronounced hito?

If I understand your question correctly, you are asking why "一つ" (for 'one thing') is read as "hito", and not "ichi tsu"? The answer is, neither of those is correct. &...
istrasci's user avatar
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