the importance of kanji

For Japanese learning students, you know kanji can be really hard in many aspects. However, for me, the one that was the hardest was the reading. “How could possibly a character has more than one reading? How I’m going to learn it? Why is it like this?!?” I used to say. I think some of you may relate to this as well. Today I’m going to teach you one thing that I wish I had known before I started learning the language.

As some of you know, Japanese has three different separate writing systems. Hiragana for Japan-made words, Katakana for foreign words, and kanji for ideas or concept of something. Nevertheless, in my opinion, Japanese teachers introduce them like if they were three totally unrelated things. Yes, each one has a distinct function, but they are more connected than you can imagine. In fact, hiragana and katakana are basically the “babies” of kanji. They were born thanks to kanji. People reading this may be wondering, “okay, I get it, they seem like they developed from kanji, but what do I do with this information? How will this improve my Japanese?” Here is how language learning and etymology will answer your question

Have you noticed by any chance that, by just pure coincidence, when reading certain kanji you notice the kanji and it’s reading in hiragana are similar? Let’s take the example when I first noticed this weird “coincidence”: the last name 加藤 read as かとう(katou). When I saw that I was like 

“mmm… that’s interesting. The first kanji read as か is actually similar to the left radical… which is also similar to its katakana equivalent カ.” 

At that moment, I did not know that this wasn’t a coincidence at all.  And this “phenomenon” happened with other kanji as well. The kanji 江 read as “e” where the katakana reading was エ and so on.

Well, as I stated above, it wasn’t a coincidence. There is a historical reason for that.

If you look up old Japanese books like the Kojiki, you may think it’s Chinese. Neither hiragana nor katakana could be seen. Just kanji here and kanji there. Look it up on google and you’ll know what I’m talking about. For some centuries, Japanese was only written in kanji. Here the kanji was both used to write sounds or conveying a meaning. Believe me, it’s HARD to read. So how did Japanese people knew the difference? Simple, a writing system was made which only use was the phonetic one, called man’yogana. This became so much easier for Japanese people compared to how the writing system was before (it’s not pretty at all).

There was still one problem, this system was changed as the author wished. The author could use the character 可 instead of 加 to use the sound “ka”. This was later unified as time went by, so everyone could read and understand it. This “unification” led the rise of hiragana and katakana. Both systems got its easy style of writing after using a writing style called “grass-style” (think of it as a cursive style). Hence, 安 led to あ and so on. You can see the chart to see them all.

The main reason why I wrote this article is to encourage you to see the connection of the three writing system and use this information to make it easier for you to learn the reading of kanji. Once you know kana and its origins, you already know the reading of many of the kanji which, by the way, are used often in the Japanese writing. I hope this article helps you for your understanding of this fascinating language.

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Bummer anybody?

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anonymous asked:

How important is learning Japanese to practice Shinto?

It’s only a necessity if you want to become a Jinja Shinto priest (to take the examinations and studies). Or work in Japan as a priest or miko, to interact with everyone

But as far as practicing Shinto way of life goes, you dont necessarily need to learn Japanese. The only subject it’s good to learn is hiragana and it’s proper pronounciation, so you can read the norito prayers properly. Norito is a mix of kanji and hiragana, but it always has furigana to identify the proper kanji pronounciation to chant.

It’s important to pray them with the proper pronounciation and flow due to kotodama, or the spiritual power of spoken words. Every sound and word has a power attached to it, so it’s important to recite the norito chanting prayers the best we can.

But for the language in it’s entirely, you dont have to worry as a lay practitioner of Shinto

Important note about Japanese colors:

There are only 6 colors which have [I-adjective] version aside from the [noun] version. All other colors beside these 6 only have NOUN version. They are:
RED 赤い [Akai] - BLUE 青い  [Aoi]
BLACK 黒い  [Kuroi] - WHITE 白い  [Shiroi]
BROWN 茶色い  [Chairoi] and YELLOW 黄色い [Kiiroi]

MIDORI 緑 (green)

緑 [Midori] means green and it’s a noun. There is no [I-adjective] version for this so 緑い is wrong. For beginners, it’s alright if you don’t remember the kanji yet. For now, you just need to know that MIDORI is green. But we hope the mnemonic image is able to help you learn the kanji easier.

When you want to say that something is green. Since it’s a noun, if you want to say “Green Book” for example, you will need to say: 緑の本 [Midori no Hon].

本は緑です [Hon wa Midori desu] is also okay :)

Fun Trivia:
Do you know Midori’s day / Midori no Hibi Anime?
Midori is the main character of the story, a girl with green hair which suddenly becomes the right hand of a man she loves. Midori’s name is written as 美鳥, which means “美 [Beautiful] 鳥 Bird”. It’s interesting right? A name in Japanese have meanings based on the kanji, and it can also have more than one meaning based on the pronounciation! °˖✧◝(⁰▿⁰)◜✧˖°

Happy learning

“The Imperial Palace is located in the capital of Japan”


Meaning:  capital

Reading:  キョウ(kyou)

How to remember this kanji: For me, the kanji have the shape of a palace. Important palaces are located in places like the capital Tokyo or the old capital Kyoto. Therefore, the word capital comes to my mind. 

Words using this kanji:

京都 :Kyoto

東京 :Tokyo

北京 :Beijing

南京:Nanjing (former Chinese capital)

Example sentence:


nihon no toukyou kara kimashita

I’m from Tokyo, Japan

rushpirateforever  asked:

Okay! I've learned and memorized hiragana and katakana, what do you think I should do next?

Step #02. Start learning the other 3 components of the Japanese language: kanji, grammar, vocabulary

Alongside Hiragana and Katakana, just about every single sentence in Japanese is going to use Kanji as well. You might be going, “Wait, what the hell, why do I have to know 3 different system of characters to speak 1 language? You bullshittin’ me, Mr. Oh-I’m-Just-Trying-To-Help-People-Immerse-Themselves-In-A-Language-And-Am-Definitely-Not-A-Con-Artist? If that is your real name..!” Well, it’s actually pretty darn important that you understand why Hiragana, Katakana, and Kanji are all utilized together so before you actually delve into learning any actual Kanji characters, it’d do you good to know the context behind them. Ohhh shittttt, sonnn!! And we got you covered in that department with this here video!

(Not embedded here is the other two after it, so check that out for even more context.)

Okay, so now you know why Kanji even exists, hopefully. Now you can jump into actually learning some Kanji characters and start judging those people with “speak dragon love” and “sesame chicken fried rice” tattoo’d on their bodies. What you’re going to want to do is start simple, you know, learning the Kanji for basic things first. The numbers for one. The days of the week. Family titles. Etc. Try not to go too intense, you want this process to be fun, as you’re immersing yourself in a whole new language here-and the culture that it reflects. You’ll be introduced to the entire process that comes with learning a single new kanji, which includes: stroke order, stroke count, on’yomi reading, kun’yomi reading, definition(s), common words it appears in (That’s right! Kanji isn’t like vocabulary in that you learn a new word and can use it by itself when you want! Kanji is like a mutant freak-child between vocabulary and letters of an alphabet in that sometimes they can appear by themselves as a standalone word and sometimes they can’t appear unless with hiragana characters or other Kanji characters! What the literal fuck!!!!!!!!!!!) So as you can see, the introduction by default includes a lot of information to absorb and a lot of methods that differ from English. And your experience may vary; some people find some or all of these things rather frustrating (I personally don’t give a heckle about stroke order and probably wouldn’t even be able to tell you the correct one for the kanji for the number 3) and some find them absolutely enticing, so try to take it relatively easy at this point and focus on being able to have fun with a brand new world!

So…… this whole point so far is going to extend beyond Kanji and to grammar and vocabulary too. Luckily, these two components aren’t unique to the Japanese language and we have some perspective from knowing English (or any other language). But just to re-iterate: try not to go too crazy with this from the start. In the department of grammar, there are some pretty essentialessential grammar guidelines/outlines/patterns that you want to know first and foremost. For example, learning about the は particle and です copula to understand the utmost basic sentence structure. From then, you can branch out towards other basic topics like Verbs, Adjectives, other Particles, etc while occasionally making a detour to learn some arbitrary thing that piques your interest (e.g. “Hmm, I want to express my love for the person typing this post out. I wonder how to say “I love X” in Japanese” or “Man, my favorite character in this anime keeps saying this catchphrase of his! This nasty-ass 4Kids translation of it is probably way off. I wonder what it means in Japanese! To Google!”) My recommendation here is to do a single session that lasts a couple of hours where you just get the essentials (like the ones aforementioned) down because since they’re so basic, they’ll really give you good context afterwards when you inadvertently encounter Japanese in your everyday life (which hopefully you are if you’re pursuing the language, but I’ll stress that more later).

*For our resource on this, check out the Learning Japanese video series playlist on YouTube. If you want them in the order that they were published, you’ll be on an easy-difficulty –> intermediate difficulty. Well, for the most part. You should be fine for the first like ~50-100 grammar videos, after that a video on the most arbitrary grammar pattern will pop up every so often because I was too lazy at the time to tackle an essential topic ;).

Okay, the description for this step is starting to get overbearing, so I’m going to trust you know what to do with vocabulary. Learn the words that you need to start forming basic sentences and the words that-well, you want to say. Not that hard!

Chibi Gruvia Incoming?!

I have some possible good news for Gruvians who are reading Gray’s spin-off “Ice Trail.” And for those Gruvians who are not reading “Ice Trail,” you might want to get on that for the next chapter. ^_~

I found some info on 2ch and twitter, and Sarapyon very kindly translated and clarified the info for me once again (thank you, Sarah! <3). According to the blurb about the new Ice Trail chapter, which can be found on the cover of Juvia’s upcoming FT Magazine, chibi Juvia might make an appearance!

Here is what Sarah translated of the blurb (most of it was too small to read, but this is certainly the important bit lol):

‘Gray-sama … that person (the kanji was unreadable because it’s small) near-miss’

Obviously, this does not 100% confirm that Juvia will definitely be in in the next Ice Trail Chapter, since they don’t mention her by name. However, I think there are a couple of reasons why this means Juvia. 

First of all, Gray is still just a kid in Ice Trail, so there’s no reason to refer to him as “Gray-sama” in this blurb, and we know for a fact that the only person who does that, is JUVIA. Then they tease “that person” after the “Gray-sama” title. Add to that, that this chapter will be featured in JUVIA’S mag, and I think it’s safe to say that chibi Gray and chibi Juvia will indeed be having a near-miss meeting in the upcoming chapter of Ice Trail. ^__^

And Japanese fans seem to think so, too. Here’s a post that Sarah translated from 2ch:

'In FT’s new magazine about the childhood of Gray & JUVIA is a near-miss' 

That’s the post that first alerted me to this business lol. And I’ve since seen a post on twitter where another fan is speculating a chibi Gruvia meeting in Ice Trail because of the blurb (or maybe even because of some advertising in the recent weekly shounen mag that releases FT).

So, yeah, considering this, I think Juvia’s upcoming mag (which by the way, Amazon Japan is now saying is being released ON Valentines Day, but I’m still not sure if that’s 100% true, since everywhere else still has the release date listed as the 17th) will be chock full of Juvia and Gruvia in many ways lol. ^-^

We’ll know for sure in a week or so if she really does appear, but I’m excited! Even if the series is not drawn by Mashima, and even if Juvia just nearly misses actually meeting Gray, I still think it’s great that a story about Gray’s childhood still managed to find a way to fit in Juvia, when technically they wont really meet until many years later. Where there is Gray, there is Juvia haha. ^^

Above pic from "Ice Trail" author Yusuke-san’s twitter from back in August. ^-^

Edit: reiriebee pointed out that Juvia’s appearance was even teased at the end of the last Ice Trail chapter!

I forgot it said that, because I didn’t know who they were referring to back when I read the chap when it first came out. ^^; So, yes indeed, that person. ^_~


AAA in 2014

Did you know that Hiragana and Katakana were originally kanjis? After Kanji was imported to Japan, kanjis were only used to write any word (the same way China does). However, since Japanese words sometimes were too long, it took a long time to write any word. Therefore, Japanese people started making new characters from the fast handwriting style.   

The table above shows the evolution of each kanji into a kana character. I thought that would be interesting for the kanji learners! 

Be careful, we are approaching a T-road in the next block

Kanji: 丁

Meaning: street, ward, town, counter for guns, etc

Reading: ひのと、テイ、チョウ  (hinoto, tei, cho) 

About the kanji:  This kanji has many meanings and there are two important things to remember. First, you’ll see this kanji often when walking or driving around the streets in Japan. Mostly it’s related to sections of the city. For that reason I made this kanji related to a T-road. Second, something funny about this kanji is that one of its readings it’s “TEI” which coincides almost with the sound of the letter “T” in English. For the lucky Spanish speakers, it sounds the same as you would say the letter “T”. Be aware the reading is not always TEI, you’ll hear CHOU as well. 

Words using this kanji:

丁寧 : courteous (in this case, the kanji is read as “TEI”) 

丁目 : district of a town

丁字路 : T junction

丁字 : letter “T”

丁度 : exactly

横丁 : by-street

Example sentence:


yonjuu choumei de kuruma wo orita

I got out of the car at 40th Street.