benbittle
How simlar are hanzi and kanji (漢子)?

As I am learning chinese I know that hanzi has two forms simplified and traditional, but what about Kanji?

Could a native japanese or native chinese understand the meaning of the written characters that matches with the actual meaning?

*edit : title should be How similar are hanzi and kanji (漢子)?

Apr 21, 2017 4:23 AM
Comments · 5
Not only do sometimes three versions of one character exist (traditional 發 simplified 发, Japanese 発), like Nagi pointed out, but there are also characters invented by the Japanese and non-existing in Chinese, for example 畑(hatake). This kind of Japanese characters is called Kokuji. Also, often the characters are used with different meanings in Chinese and Japanese. The characters of hand and paper combined mean "letter" 手紙 in Japanese and "toilet paper"手纸 in Chinese.
April 21, 2017
But 漢字 has been developed in other ways in China and Japan. As you know, People's Republic of China adopted simplified characters after Chinese revolution. 漢字 is drawn as 汉字 in this way. Most Japanese people cannot read these simplified characters. But it's not so difficult to imagine what they mean. Because they were invented from same characters.

People in Hong Kong, Taiwan, and many other Chinese people who had lived other countries since before Chinese revolution are keep using traditional characters. But Japanese 漢字s are also different from these characters a little. For example, the traditional character of "people" is 民眾. And it's simplified as 民众 in mainland China. But it's simplified as 民衆 in Japan.

Nevertheless, Chinese people and Japanese people can imagine same things looking at same 漢字s. 木 reminds us trees no matter we are Japanese or Chinese. We can also understand that 北京 means "northern capital" and 東京 means "eastern capital" by only looking the 漢字s. But don't know how to pronounce them each other.
April 21, 2017

If written with alphabet, Kanji and hanzi look different. But for ourselves (Japanese and Chinese), 漢字 is 漢字. It makes no difference although pronunciations are different.


Historically, Japanese people didn't have their own characters for the first time. So they borrow the characters from China and express themselves with it. Korean people and Vietnamese people also did so. So that these four countries had used same characters "漢字"(Chinese pronunciation: hanzi. Japanese pronunciation: kanji. Korean pronunciation: hancha. Vietnamese pronunciation : hantu).


Korean people invented their own character "hangul(한글)" in 15th century and 漢字 is abolished now. Vietnamese people also made their own characters though, now they use alphabets in consequence of French invasion. Only Chinese and Japanese keep using 漢字 until now.

April 21, 2017

I'm not sure the  character "漢子" is correct. Maybe you mean "漢字" ?

Anyway, Kanji (In Japanese) as the pronciation, is similar with Hanzi (in Chinese). Cuz their culture is close if you trace back to the old days. It is like English and German, they share a lot of similar words with same meaning and they also have their own words.

It is all about the liguistics.  

April 21, 2017
Sometimes Hanzi and Kanji look quite similar or the same, but the pronounciation and meaning could be totoally different.
April 21, 2017