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Japanese Lesson: Introduction to Kanji (Chinese characters)

Many people don't like learning kanji (which is reasonable, because it can be very difficult), but it's essential if you would like to be able to read and write Japanese. there are thousands of kanji that are used daily in Japan, but it is not always necessary to learn them all. With kanji, there is almost always more than one reading, the 音読み and the 訓読み, or onyomi and kunyomi. The onyomi is the sound that is based on the Chinese version of the kanji, and the kunyomi is the Japanese version. The onyomi is used when there is no hiragana attached to the kanji.

The way many foreigners learn kanji is by using the JLPT, starting with JLPT 5 and then going down to JLPT 1. Here, you learn kanji more like based on their simplicity, while children in Japan usually learn them in regards to how commonly they use them.

An example of a kanji with both an onyomi and kunyomi reading:

間- time, time span

Onyomi: カン、ケン

Kunyomi: あいだ

The onyomi is spelled with katakana because technically, it is coming from a foreign word (the Chinese version of the kanji).

Soon I will be posting a lesson that has the first 15 JLPT 5 kanji, including the on and kun readings as well. これから、頑張ってください。

List of Other Lessons


November 15, 2016



たなは、 葉エキス 感じです


I find this is a good site for kanji by JLPT New Levels with stroke order & direction animation, on and kun readings and meanings. http://yosida.com/en/kanji.php?level=5&page=1

Also, some excellent mnemonic flashcards for GCSE (UK exam taken usually at 16) kanji which can help to associate the shape with the meaning at http://www.jpf.org.uk/language/kanjifiles/kanjicard.html


Great job. Keep it up! =D

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