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What's the difference between Japanese and Chinese Kanji?


Why Japanese Kanji look like the Chinese Symbols?

Historically, the Kanji Writing System was imported from China, but as time the time went by, kanji writing has evolved into a part of the Japanese Writing System by using the borrowed ideograms to indicate pronunciation.

Although we use Kanji characters as much as Chinese people use, Japanese people use less Kanji characters comparing to Chinese people.

Even if you look at some of the Japanese culture, there are some adoption of cultural and religious materials from China too.
For instance, Chinese herbal medicine is quite popular in Japan.


So, are they DIFFERENT?Kanji - Japanese

Many Western people may be thinking that Japanese Kanji and Chinese Kanji are exactly the same. They look very similar.
However, they are very different to Japanese kanji in structure.

Japanese Kanji is not the same as Chinese Kanji

Although the Japanese adapted Chinese characters into their langauge, they disregard the original meaning in Chinese.


Kanji ReadingKanji - Japanese

Wtih Kanji, there are 2 ways of reading.

Kanji reading - Onyomi and Kunyomi

  1. Onyomi Reading - It is Chinese Reading, and developed from the original Chinese pronunciation but as the time went by, the Japanese writing system has adaopted and became a part of the Japanese language.
    It is often used with the kanji compounds, and naming English names in Kanji.

  2. Kunyomi Reading - It is Japanese Reading, and usually used with a single kanji character. For instance, if the following kanji is read, it is pronounced: "Ki" with Kunyomi Reading.

    Tree Kanji

    But, if it is combined with another Kanji character, it can be read differently with Onyomi reading.


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