What Are Kanji Radicals? What are radicals, exactly? More often than not, you will not be able to figure out the meaning of a kanji by knowing its radical. Bummer, I know! But a radical can help you to remember different kanji and to tell them apart.

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I think their motives are well founded. What they are doing is tinkering around the edges to make the best of a difficult situation. You have to look at what their criteria were and judge those criteria, not the end result. That there were surely political aspects and committee decisions involved is part of life. So what if there are a small number of imperfections if the bulk of the work is sound?

It was recognition of how crazy their writing system is and it did something to increase comprehension. The list does serve a useful purpose for foreigners learning the language too. Christopher on August 18, at am said: Trying to limit the language tools of a population has never brought any good.

Every word that is forced into obscurity just because it includes a kanji that is not on the jouyou list is a loss for the Japanese language. If I understand correctly, only newspapers and government publications were told to try to avoid using words that use non-jouyou kanji.

No one ever set any limits on novels and magazines and other publications if I recall correctly except maybe encouraging them to use furigana for hard kanji. Raichu The literacy argument is no longer valid.

In the age of universal education, kanji using countries have the same levels of literacy as alphabet using countries. They learn it based on what their textbooks and learning materials decide is relevant. August 18, at am said: What I think would be much more useful is an analysis of a large collection of works and solid statistical data on the frequency of each kanji. I think you do make some valid points.

Susie on August 20, at pm said: I learned kanji well, at least of them so far through the book by Henshall, which, yes, is based on the jouyou list. I do stand in agreement with you that this is a practically useless way to learn kanji, and that many of them that I have learned through the book I have never seen in writing. The main thing that it did benefit me in was in learning new vocabulary.

Since I already knew all the readings for the kanji, memorizing was a snap. It also was a way to keep my memorizing skills sharp by memorizing random things I would never need to know. Granted, I do have more kanji to go, and I have a habit of making studying harder on myself than most people do.



Japanese Language Expert B. She has been a freelance writer for nearly 20 years. Namiko Abe Updated May 07, With three different ways of writing, the Japanese language may seem intimidating to new students. There are three writing systems in Japanese, two phonetic and one symbolic, and all three are used in tandem. Kanji Symbols Kanji is symbolic, or logographic.


The Jouyou Kanji

N1 is the hardest level, considered near-fluent. N5 is the easiest level, covering the basic level of Japanese. To pass the JLPT N5 test, you have to be able to read Japanese at a basic level and understand simple conversations from daily life and school. You should know around vocabulary words. I recommend starting with the Core Japanese words , and about 50 basic grammar patterns. These kanji can change slightly between tests, but you can generally expect to see the most common kanji for verbs, numbers, time, places, people, basic adjectives, and directions.


The Jōyō Kanji (常用漢字)



Links to other Kanji databases


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