https://www.duolingo.com/HelpfulDuo

Kanji Lesson

  • 10
  • 10
  • 8
  • 6
  • 4

The word Japan can be expressed in hiragana as にほん (nihon), or in kanji as 日本. It’s a combination of two kanji 日 and 本 which make up the word 日本. Each kanji has various meanings by itself or combined with other words.

日 + 本 = 日本

に + ほん = にほん

Most kanji also have various pronunciations as well. On yomi (音読み / おんよみ)is the adopted Chinese way of reading for the kanji, and Kun yomi (訓読み / くんよみ)is the native Japanese reading. Many kanji have the variation on pronunciations when kanji are combined. It’s easier to learn kanji and its pronunciations in specific word example, instead of individual kanji.

Kanji On yomi Kun yomi English
にち、に sun, day
ほん、ぼん、ぽん basis, book
日本 にほん Japan

Here are some samples of kanji with two readings. Some kanji have multiple meanings. The shaded columns are example words using kanji.

Kanji On yomi Kun yomi English
さん やま mountain
- ふじ山 ふじさん Mt. Fuji
せん かわ がわ river
- ナイル川 ないるがわ Nile River
でん rice field
- 田んぼ たんぼ rice field
じん、にん ひと person
- 日本人 にほんじん Japanese person/people
じょう うえ on, up,above
- いすの上 いすのうえ on the chair
ちゅう なか in, middle, center
- はこの中 はこのなか in the box
げ、か した under, down, below
- 木の下/ きのした under the tree
だい おお big, large
- 大きい おおきい big
しょう ちい small
- 小さい ちいさい small
めい name
- 名前 なまえ name
ぜん まえ front
- 午前 ごぜん afternoon
わたし I
- 私の名前 わたしのなまえ my name
こん いま now
- 今週 こんしゅう this week
せん さき ahead, point
- 先生 せんせい teacher
せい to live, birth
- 生きる いきる to live
えい English
- 英語 えいご English language
かた word, language
- スペイン語 すぺいんご Spanish language
こく くに country
- 中国 ちゅうごく China

・Not all readings are listed for On yomi and Kun yomi.

Post finder: Language guides to help with learning Japanese

11/15/2017, 8:13:35 PM

32 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/Cinnamon5230
  • 22
  • 22
  • 15
  • 14
  • 13
  • 7
  • 49

There is a mistake. 午前 is morning, not afternoon.

11/22/2017, 10:05:22 AM

https://www.duolingo.com/HelpfulDuo
  • 10
  • 10
  • 8
  • 6
  • 4

Thank you!

11/27/2017, 8:37:56 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/akirokku

...You didn't change it though...

1/23/2019, 2:22:05 AM

https://www.duolingo.com/poporetto

Thanks Duolingo! I made some mnemonic pictures to help people remembering kanji http://www.sonnakanji.com

11/20/2017, 1:22:26 AM

https://www.duolingo.com/Woof.
  • 15
  • 10
  • 9
  • 8
  • 7
  • 6
  • 6
  • 5
  • 5
  • 4
  • 4
  • 4
  • 3
  • 2
  • 2
  • 2
  • 2

Thanks HelpfulDuo! This list is awesome!

When do we use Kunyomi and when do we use Onyomi?

11/15/2017, 8:38:59 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/chocolat987

When you have several kanjis together in a row, you are likely to read all onyomi or all kunyomi. So if you read all onyomi and it didn't make sense, try reading it in all kunyomi.

There are exceptions called "juubako yomi" and "yutou yomi".

juubako = 重箱     重=juu (onyomi) + 箱 = hako (kunyomi)→"hako" will be "bako"

ex 軍手 = gunte  軍 = gun (onyomi) + 手 = te (kunyomi)

yutou = 湯桶  湯 = yu (kunyomi) + 桶 = tou (onyomi)

ex) 見本 = mihon  見 = mi (kunyomi) + 本 = hon (onyomi)

But in most words, it's either all onyomi or all kunyomi.

11/21/2017, 3:12:13 AM

https://www.duolingo.com/FelipeKail.an

It's completely random, it's like the gender of the word in other languages, you need to memorize. Here's a tip: memorize the kanji in the word, not his single meaning/pronnounce.

11/18/2017, 5:07:10 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/Hiba-al-Sayf
  • 14
  • 13
  • 12
  • 12
  • 9
  • 6
  • 6
  • 5
  • 3
  • 2

Totally agree with the genders comparison. I never understood (as a native Urdu/Hindi speaker) why truck is masculine and gaaRii (car) is feminine.

2/10/2019, 11:49:06 AM

https://www.duolingo.com/anyom
  • 19
  • 16
  • 13
  • 12
  • 12
  • 11
  • 11
  • 10
  • 9
  • 9
  • 9
  • 8
  • 8
  • 7
  • 6
  • 6
  • 6
  • 6
  • 6
  • 4
  • 4
  • 4
  • 3
  • 2

is there a way i can make the course use more kanji? i give all my answers using kanji, but i still find the kanji used in the course is very limited

11/17/2017, 8:16:45 AM

[deactivated user]

    Significant error here: " 午前 ごぜん afternoon " You wrote 'afternoon,' when the opposite is true; it should say, "before noon," as you're using the kanji 午 (noon) and 前 (before, in front).

    1/4/2018, 9:09:09 AM

    https://www.duolingo.com/Quoria
    • 13
    • 11
    • 8
    • 7

    This is super helpful, its s lot to memorize.

    11/16/2017, 7:54:19 PM

    https://www.duolingo.com/apriandi3

    My head...... all this symbols, i hope i could just add circle and use Alchemy using some this symbols

    JK. Do we have to memorize this kanji letters? or there's some kind of relations between it's shape and sound?

    11/21/2017, 4:23:00 AM

    https://www.duolingo.com/arienrhod1

    Sometimes there is a relation between shape and sound, but in a rather convoluted way... For example, some kanji consist of a radical and a phonetic element. This phonetic element usually gives the given kanji one of its ON readings. Knowing this can be useful, as you can sometimes approximate the reading if you know that the given phonetic element tends to do that.

    For example, see how 優 to excel, kind and 憂 to grieve, to be distressed, to worry can both be read ユウ. Or notice how many of the kanji containing 寺 Buddhist temple element have ON reading ジ

    • 持 to hold, to have

    • 時 time, occasion

    • 侍 samurai

    • 峙 to tower, to soar

    But it's not a golden rule, those kanji 詩等特待 all have 寺 Buddhist temple in them but aren't read ジ.

    You can find more details on relations between kanji and their readings here

    11/22/2017, 10:52:12 AM

    https://www.duolingo.com/JohnsonTess

    This is very helpful! ありがとうございました。

    12/9/2018, 3:38:30 PM

    https://www.duolingo.com/nguynthydn171244

    thank you very much, Duolingo

    11/21/2017, 1:27:50 PM

    https://www.duolingo.com/PuPPy1611
    • 11
    • 9
    • 4
    • 52

    Very Helpful. Thanks.

    12/17/2018, 8:59:40 PM

    https://www.duolingo.com/Mr.rM
    • 25
    • 16
    • 15
    • 14
    • 14
    • 12
    • 3
    • 1471

    How do you add colors to the text?

    11/15/2017, 9:56:32 PM

    https://www.duolingo.com/FelipeKail.an

    Colors? We still do not know....

    11/18/2017, 5:07:25 PM

    https://www.duolingo.com/LeonardoN.M
    • 25
    • 25
    • 25
    • 25
    • 25
    • 25
    • 25
    • 22
    • 21
    • 19
    • 16
    • 15
    • 13
    • 13
    • 12
    • 9
    • 8
    • 7
    • 7
    • 7
    • 7
    • 7
    • 6
    • 6
    • 6
    • 6
    • 6
    • 6
    • 4
    • 2

    Show!

    11/15/2017, 10:28:05 PM

    https://www.duolingo.com/SalmaFawal
    • 20
    • 14
    • 12
    • 12
    • 9
    • 6
    • 5
    • 4
    • 4
    • 3
    • 3
    • 3
    • 3
    • 45

    すごいです。 本当にすごい。 どうもありがとう。 私漢字を好きです。^_^

    11/18/2017, 1:56:42 PM

    [deactivated user]

      Kanji GA suki desu.

      3/29/2018, 5:25:08 AM

      https://www.duolingo.com/PuPPy1611
      • 11
      • 9
      • 4
      • 52

      你错了。你得说“私は漢字が好きです”。

      12/17/2018, 9:02:58 PM

      https://www.duolingo.com/Impa_chanHW

      how do you say your welcome in Japanese ? I always get different answers

      11/21/2017, 9:24:36 PM

      https://www.duolingo.com/HelpfulDuo
      • 10
      • 10
      • 8
      • 6
      • 4

      Thank you. - You're welcome. (ありがとう。- どういたしまして。) dou itashi mashite

      You are welcome to come to my house. (どうぞ、うちに きてください。) douzo uchini kitekudasai

      Visitors are not welcome. (ほうもんしゃ きんし) more like no visitors. houmonsha kinshi

      11/27/2017, 8:47:15 PM

      https://www.duolingo.com/Ikedam

      どういたしまして is I believe the most common translation.

      11/22/2017, 5:34:07 PM

      https://www.duolingo.com/No--One
      • 21
      • 13
      • 12
      • 12
      • 4

      "どういたしまして" is the phrase that the the Japanese-English course tells me to use, it that helps.

      11/23/2017, 11:42:33 PM

      https://www.duolingo.com/AlfredoSul4

      Hay un error, ふじ山 está mal dicho, debería ser 富士山

      7/28/2018, 2:55:09 AM

      https://www.duolingo.com/Stella699606

      Thank you for the post, it really helped!

      10/1/2018, 2:30:29 PM

      https://www.duolingo.com/HeyItsValeria

      Is Kanji in the Japanese course? I am still in the first intro...

      10/22/2018, 11:20:16 PM

      https://www.duolingo.com/GrantReznor
      • 16
      • 11
      • 10
      • 9
      • 7

      yes, in japanese course. But What do u mean exactly?

      10/23/2018, 12:05:18 AM

      https://www.duolingo.com/JohnsonTess

      Most of the lessons are written in hiragana but I read somewhere that if you make your default language as Japanese and learn English, you will see a lot kanji in the lessons. I haven't tried it yet but the guy who posted did it and finished the course in 9th level! かっこいいですよね。

      12/9/2018, 3:44:18 PM

      https://www.duolingo.com/jfelya
      • 13
      • 13
      • 7
      • 5
      • 5
      • 2

      Duolingo should use more Kanji, I've already finished all the courses here.

      For every foreign or japanese person it is extremely difficult to read and understand japanese without kanjis, I've realized that in this course I didn't learn to much because of this, you find long and very complex sentences with all hiragana or just the kanji of water, I mean, come on, there's a huge lack of kanji in the Duolingo's Japanese course.

      I really love learning languages with duolingo, like, chinese, korean, german and italian. And I feel very sad that Japanese course is the worst of all of them in average teaching experience.

      You can't go everywhere writing like this: こんにちは、わたしはフェリといいます、なかよくしましょうね。 わたしはかいしゃにつとめたいですよ、にほんにもりょこうしたいんです、ほっかいどうとかきょうととか、にほんはひろいですよね、ですからぜんこくりょこうしたらいいとおもいます。 Not just writing, the average process of reading and understanding japanese gets difficult for every learner.

      The learning method of grammar and particles in Duolingo is pretty well done, it gives you good basis in the language, but you can't advance in the learning process if you don't have any kanjis in there, because kanjis are everywhere in the language, whether you live in japan or not.

      2/9/2019, 8:35:09 PM
      Learn Japanese in just 5 minutes a day. For free.