Check out our updated Community
why you use kanji? just using hiragana and katakana is a way more easier than kanji .

I saw some sentences that made me feel kanji will fade away in a long time.

Feb 6, 2015 8:49 PM
Comments · 31

Kanji is used because those characters have meaning. Hiragana/Katakana are only sounds, like a phonetic system, so things are very ambiguous (unclear) without kanji unless you're really good at figuring out word meanings through context. With that said, it's not likely that kanji will ever disappear.

February 6, 2015

The Japanese languages fewer vowels and consonants than a lot of other languages, so there are a considerable amount of homophones. So, we need to use letters having meaning as well to make sentences crystal clear.

Here is a well-known sentence: すもももももももものうち

You can rewrite this sentence using kanji like this: 李も桃も桃のうち. Even if you don't know the meanings or pronunciation of 李 and 桃, you can guess the structure of this sentence.

Anyway, take it easy! You might think there are an enormous amount of kanji, and there reall are, but we use usually a quite limited amount of it. I think it is a bit hard to read sentences with too little kanji, but it is also hard to read sententences containing too much kanji. Some learners pick up some kanji that native speakers don't usually use, such as 此処 for ここ. I think you should try to pick up common kanji using a good textbook. To be honest, kanji homework at school is kind of torture for most native speakers, but there are some good materials, such as video games for learning kanji and interesing books with furigana (hiragana showing how to read kanji in sentences).

February 7, 2015

If you understood kanji, you would know exactly why it is used.

February 6, 2015

I studied linguistics at university, and I remember my professor was saying the same thing: "Japanese should get rid of kanji writing system since they already have hiragana (and katakana)."

I personally found it very logical and interesting, because Korean did give up on using kanji habitually. (Historically, they were using kanji as well, but now they only use hangul mostly, which describes the sounds more than meaning.) As a Japanese teacher, not teaching Kanji will relieve my headache (lol), but at the same time, I would feel nostalgic about it later on for sure.

Writing, toradtionally, has been associated more with authority and secrecy, and I remember one theory explains that being able to read "kanji" describes your educational status. And I believe that is true. We have "Kanji Kentei (Kanji Exams)" to see how many kanjis you can read and write. For what? Mostly to see your literacy and intelligence. In reality, Japanese will look down on you if you are a native of Japan and cannot read or write kanji, though you are perfectly literate in hiragana and/or katakana.

When we speak Japanese, we can understand homophones because of its tones, and more largely because of its context. The same thing can be exprimented to writing, though this may not happen for a while since there are still so many Japanese people resisting the move. 

If Japanese becomes more widespread and gains power to the extent of English, "simple Japanese (hiragana only)" texts might attract more attention and eventually a standard usage for non-native users. 


This is certainly an interesting topic! :)

March 15, 2015

You guys say it like disctinction between words in written Japanese is enough, whereas I keep thinking about spoken Japanese. If you cannot distinguish words without different kanji, how do you explain what you mean verbally? With context or more explainations? Or maybe draw out a notebook and write down the part that is misunderstood?


Anyhow, this is just a little overthinking, I suppose. I really do think that people want to know everything too precisely, too clearly, and too much, thus this shouldn't have ever concerned me in the first place.

February 20, 2015
Show More
Language Skills
Arabic, Azeri, English, Greek, Japanese, Persian (Farsi)
Learning Language