What is Japanese Kanji?

【Characteristics of Japanese】

Japanese has three types of characters: "Hiragana", "Katakana", and "Kanji".

Hiragana and katakana each have 46 characters, but there are over 2,136 kanji characters just for common kanji used in day to day life.
Japanese people spend six years learning to read and write basic kanji.

Sentences are formed using a combination of hiragana, katakana, and kanji.

The use of multiple characters in this way is one of the characteristics of the Japanese language.

Japanese people learn hiragana first.

With some rare exceptions, hiragana usually consists of one syllable per character.

Hiragana is based on kanji so it’s unique and complex.




Katagana is used to express words of foreign origin. Katagana is also based on kanji like hiragana.
Katakana is a popular character.

Kanji is a very popular writing system.

However since a single kanji can have multiple ways of reading it depending on the context, it’s a very complex writing system to the point where even native Japanese people make mistakes sometimes.

Therefore, each individual kanji has a meaning. For example, 「夢」means 「Dream」.

Kanji can have a completely different meaning when combining characters together.

For example, 「日」can either mean 「ひ」(hi) or 「にち」(nichi).
In addition to that, 「明日」can either be read as 「あした」(ashita) or 「あす」(asu).
Like in this case, Japanese has a wide range of vocabulary and there are several different words with the same meaning.

It can be confusing at times with the vast amount of vocabulary.