Importance of Kanji in Japanese

What is Kanji?

This blog is designed for anyone who is struggling to learn Kanji or who is simply interested in learning more about the Japanese language. 

 

Kanji is one of the three writing systems in Japanese. All three writing systems are collectively called kana.
Kanji are Japanese symbols that represent whole words.

 

Kanji symbols can represent full words on their own, or they can combine with other Kanji or Kana words to create different meanings. Depending on what they are connected with, they can be pronounced differently, that it why it can be super challenging to learn Kanji.

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Where to Start?

Many of you have definitely struggled with learning KANJI if you have ever practiced Japanese…

 

If you have ever thought something like: “Why does Japanese use kanji even though they have Hiragana?” Then this blog is for you.

 

… Anyways, Kanji is still essential for you to learn Japanese, so here I tried describing the importance of kanji.

Hope these motivate you learn KANJI!

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Kanji is like Emojis - Easier to understand at a glance

Here are some examples:

 

・私は犬が好きです。
(watáshí wá inú ga sukí desu)
: I like dogs.

For Japanese, it looks like:
👩🏻 は 🐶 が ❤️ きです。

 

・日本へは飛行機で2時間です。
(nihón e wa h(i)kóuki de nijíkan desu)

: To Japan, it takes 2 hours by airplane.
For Japanese, it looks like:
🇯🇵 へは ✈️ で2 ⏰ です。

 

… Kanji gives us specific images which make us read faster and easier to understand the main points.

kanji1

It requires very few spaces when written! 

Here are some examples:

 

心理学 (shiń rí gaku) >> 3 letters

: psychology >> 10 letters

 

留学経験(ryuú gák(ú) kéiken)>> 4 letters
: Study abroad experience >> 21 letters!

 

… Looking neater and tidier is always favourable in Japan!!

Kanji 2

Less work to memorize vocabularies - By capturing kanji as an image

Here are some examples:

 

Word: 有袋類 (yuú tái rui)
Kanji 1: 有 – having, existing
Kanji 2: 袋 – bag
Kanji 3: 類 – type

 

Actual meaning: marsupial – a “type” of mammal with a baby raised in a “pouch” of a mother’s belly. 🦘

 

Word: 腹膜炎 (h(u)kú mákú éń)
Kanji 1: 腹 – stomach
Kanji 2: 膜 – thin layer/ skin
Kanji 3: 炎 – fire, health trouble


Actual meaning: Peritonitis – having “sore” sheet/ “layer” of cells in “stomach”

 

… As long as you know the symbol/ image of each kanji, you can at least understand what a word means, even such academic terms.

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Joy of Word Play - with combinations of synonyms!

Here are some examples:

 

親友 (SHIŃ yúú): best friend
>> 心友(SHIŃ yúú): best friend from the heart
… Changing 親(shin): “close, parents” to another same-sounding kanji 心(shin): heart

 

家族葬(ka zók(ú) SOU): family funeral
>> 家族想(ka zók(ú) SOU): family “thinking”
… changing 葬(sou): “funeral” to 想(sou): “thinking of someone”

 

From an ad about farming:
「 農food 農life 」
( “nou” food “nou” life )
… There’s a pun between the kanji 農(nou): farm, and “No” in English, therefore:
“No food No life” that’s why let’s have “Farm food Farm life”

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The Importance of Kanji

The importance of kanji – is to live in Japan, as well as to understand the cultural beauty in literature.  Actually, I can say that kanji is “unnecessary” if you only want to learn speaking. Historically, those people apart from Samurai and aristocrats were not able to write letters because there were a lot of differences between speaking and written languages.  However, there are kanji all around Japan since all the people are equally educated.  Although you can speak Japanese fluently, you won’t be able to make a living in Japan without being able to read and understand kanji.   コツコツと頑張(がんば)りましょう! Try our best step by step!
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About the Author:

Julia became a Japanese teacher because she really enjoys learning about the beauty of the Japanese language and there are a lot of people all around the world who love Japan. She loves educating others about her culture, history and language. Julia shares all of her knowledge on her popular Instagram account and has reached people globally.