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25 votes

Why were hiragana and katakana never merged into one system?

“What’s up with upper case and lower case? We have two different forms for each letter, sometimes similar, sometimes completely different. Why weren’t these merged to make it easier to learn to write?”...
Eiríkr Útlendi's user avatar
19 votes
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Are 变 and 変 the same?

They are both slightly different simplifications of the traditional Chinese character which is 變. 变 is the simplified Chinese and 変 the shinjitai, i.e. the Japanese simplification. Often the ...
Earthliŋ's user avatar
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15 votes
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How often do single dots stick to the top of kanji?

Japanese elementary school children are generally taught to write kanji like this (教科書体): I don't know how these are different from how Chinese kids are taught to write these characters. However, ...
naruto's user avatar
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14 votes
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What do these symbols in manga mean?

This seems to be an encoding/typesetting issue and the "symbols" are indeed Greek letters Ψ, Π, π that seem to be displayed instead of !, ?, 〜. There is another typographical oddity that suggests ...
Earthliŋ's user avatar
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14 votes
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In what unit is the length of Japanese texts measured?

The length of a text written in Japanese is usually measured in characters (e.g. 400文字). One often writes handwritten assignments at school/university on 原稿用紙 genkō yōshi (lit. "manuscript paper&...
Earthliŋ's user avatar
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13 votes
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Is it acceptable to use kanji and hiragana in the same word if a kanji character is unknown?

There's a few different things going on in your question: A general question about whether you can write words in mixed kanji kana orthography An implicit question about when you can / cannot do so. ...
virmaior's user avatar
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12 votes
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Why using です in katakana?

The final part of a Japanese sentence is sometimes rendered in katakana for various reasons. Examples include: ごめんネ ひどいヨー 分かってマス! 美味しいデス 大丈夫かナ? In fiction, this typically happens ...
naruto's user avatar
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12 votes

Can 々 stand for a duplicated kanji with a different reading?

I wouldn't necessarily say 々 is used to avoid having to write the same kanji again, but rather to make it clear that the word is obtained by duplication of a character — moreover the reading should be ...
Earthliŋ's user avatar
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12 votes
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Is "入っ" still pronounced "はい" when reading it? (Okurigana question)

You seem to have a fundamental misunderstanding about okurigana. The reading of 入る is はいる. 入る is not an okurigana, but it contains an okurigana which is る. kanji👇 okurigana👇 入 る "Okuri&...
naruto's user avatar
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11 votes
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Tally Marks in Japanese?

The conventional Japanese tally follows the stroke order for 正. So if the total were 8, it'd look like [正下], and if it were 20, it'd be [正正正正] This link shows an animation for the stroke order: http:/...
Seralt's user avatar
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11 votes
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What are these Okinawan kana-like characters?

In this webpage 沖縄の言葉で書かれた注意書きがわからなすぎる, there is the following picture: Comparing this one with the one in your post makes me think that maybe it is just your picture is missing some paint.
fefe's user avatar
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11 votes
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Is top-to-bottom, left-to-right writing order common in Japanese calligraphy?

This text is written left-to-right because the person in the picture is facing to the left. There was a rule that when you put some text (chinese poem, haiku, etc.) in a portrait, the first line must ...
naruto's user avatar
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11 votes
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Strange usage of を-Particle inside a 俳句 (haiku)

What does をり in the last line mean? I have a feeling that it is intentionally written in this way and not as おり (which comes from 居る) There are two parts to this question, though it seems you ...
Eiríkr Útlendi's user avatar
10 votes
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What are the most obscure kanji?

We call them: No reliable information on how they are to be pronounced → 音【おん】(未詳【みしょう】/不明【ふめい】)字【じ】 No reliable information on what they mean → 義【ぎ】(未詳/不明)字 All of the above → 音義(未詳/不明)字 幽霊文字 in @...
broccoli forest's user avatar
10 votes
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Why are "loanwords" written in katakana?

Because that's the original purpose of katakana. Katakana was invented to denote the readings of unfamiliar foreign words (although, in those days, "foreign words" mainly referred to words in Asian ...
naruto's user avatar
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9 votes

What are the most obscure kanji?

Yes. 幽霊文字 https://ja.wikipedia.org/wiki/%E5%B9%BD%E9%9C%8A%E6%96%87%E5%AD%97 幽霊文字(ゆうれいもじ)とは、JIS基本漢字に含まれる、典拠不明の文字の総称。 JIS基本漢字 (aka JIS第1・第2水準漢字) is a set of Japanese characters (including approx. ...
naruto's user avatar
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9 votes
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有り難う vs 有難う — Is this the same word?

Both are different spellings of ありがとう, neither is more formal, although all three spellings may be differentiated by frequency (see below). ありがとう "thank you" may be derived from ありがたい through sound ...
Earthliŋ's user avatar
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9 votes
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Can Japanese words with kanji and hiragana in them start with hiragana characters? If so how common are they?

This occurs with prefixes that have no kana or are normally written in kana: ど真ん中 ひん曲がる ぶん回す お握り And in compound words of kana (mainly onomatopoeias) and kanji words: きら星 つるっ禿げ どんでん返し When the ...
naruto's user avatar
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9 votes

What does the へさうな mean in "逢へさうな"

This is not particle-へ. Rather it is old kana orthography and さう sound-shifted to そう. In modern orthography it is 逢えそうな【あえそうな】 (Many monolingual dictionaries list old kana orthography of the ...
Earthliŋ's user avatar
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9 votes
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How much space is considered standard between consecutive "「" and "『"s?

When there is no additional constraints imposed by kinsoku or full-justification, this is how 「『捨てる』技術」 is typically typeset (produced by Adobe InDesign 2020, font: 小塚明朝 Pr6N, all characters are ...
naruto's user avatar
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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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9 votes
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Different writing of the kanji 誤?

The cause is most likely that your font setting (of a program or OS) have gone wrong. As far as I can see the said character in the input box looks rendered with a Chinese font. The glyph you see and ...
broccoli forest's user avatar
9 votes

Why is ゴミ箱 written in katakana usually?

According to the web (e.g. this), using katakana is a way of clarifying word borders. That is, ゴミ was used for ease of reading. The linked column and some other web pages mention that ゴミ looks more ...
sundowner's user avatar
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8 votes
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Why was つ originally used to mark consonant gemination? When was that?

Short summary: Heian-period Japanese acquired new sounds, including a syllable-final -t, a geminated tt, and other geminated consonants. The つ kana, originally tu, was a natural match to write the new ...
melissa_boiko's user avatar
8 votes

Why are Japanese personal names pronounced the same but written differently?

The reason is that parents choose the kanji for their meaning. Depending on the kanji chosen, the suggested meaning is different, for example 美智子 — "beautiful wise child" 美千子 — "child of a thousand ...
Earthliŋ's user avatar
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8 votes
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Why are some country names written in kanji and yet others are written in katakana?

About 150 years ago or so, Japanese people mainly used kanji names for foreign countries. This is mainly because it was common to do so also in Chinese, by which the Japanese culture was heavily ...
naruto's user avatar
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7 votes
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Why does some manga have dots above some of the words?

This is the Japanese version of [underlining]{LLLLLLLLLLL}. It's a way of marking a word for emphasis. Update The Japanese name for this is variously 圏点{けんてん} (literally "enclosing mark"), 傍点{ぼうてん} ...
Eiríkr Útlendi's user avatar

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