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

漢字【かんじ】 is the Japanese name for Chinese characters as used in Japanese writing together with the hiragana and katakana syllabaries and letters from the Latin alphabet.

Kanji have several defining characteristics, including

  • at least one general meaning
  • 音読み【おんよみ】 readings derived from the character's Middle Chinese pronunciation
  • 訓読み【くんよみ】 readings that are native to Japanese.

Kanji are typically classified using the following characteristics

  • radicals
    Distinctive visual elements of the characters which are used to create logical groupings, often with related meanings.

  • stroke count
    The number of brush strokes needed to write the character. Stroke order for kanji is a rigidly defined concept, with a prescribed order that is considered "correct" for all characters.

  • on reading
    Where all other measures break even, kanji are usually then sorted by 音読み according to Japanese alphabetical order.

Related tags

See also

  • Kanji on English Wikipedia