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Introduction to Kanji 漢字

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Presentation Transcript
slide2

About 50,000 kanji characters exist, though only about 5,000 to 10,000 are commonly used in Japan. After World War II, the Japanese government designated 1,945 basic characters as Jouyou Kanji (commonly used kanji), which are used in textbooks, newspapers, and official documents.

School children learn about 996 basic characters in elementary school. Hopefully by high school, they can read the newspaper!

The Jouyou Kanji(web site)

Jouyou Kanji PDF file

slide3

It is very important that you follow the stroke order for kanji you write. The kanji in the example above is made up of 3 strokes, and the boxes show you which stroke to write first, second, and third.

stroke order
Stroke Order!

Stroke order is very important. With very few exceptions, each kanji can only be written one way. Sometimes it’s hard to tell what the stroke order should be, as in the character for “up” or “above.” It has 3 strokes, but which one comes first?

stroke order5
Stroke Order!

Stroke order is very important. With very few exceptions, each kanji can only be written one way. Sometimes it’s hard to tell what the stroke order should be, as in the character for “up” or “above.” It has 3 strokes, but which one comes first?

New version

Old version

slide6

On-reading (onyomi) is the Chinese reading of a kanji character. It is based on the sound of the kanji character as pronounced by the Chinese at the time the character was introduced, and also from the area it was imported. That is why the onyomi might be quite different from Standard Mandarin today. The Kun-reading (kunyomi) is the native Japanese reading associated with the meaning of a kanji.

slide7
  • 山田 (やまだ) Yamada
  • 富士山 (ふじさん) Mt. Fuji

Mr. Yamada

Mt. Fuji

slide8

When writing kanji in cursive pen or brush, you can see why stroke order is so important.

links
Links
  • http://www.uiowa.edu/~japanese/NAKAMA/pages/Nakama1Kanji.html
  • http://faculty.virginia.edu/nihongo/kanji/