Kanji, Hiragana and Katakana


Português (Portugal)
Japanese has 3 systems. Kanji, Hiragana and Katakana. But since Kanji is much more difficult to learn than the other two systems, can Japanese be written with only those two? And form correct sentences also?
  • COF

    English - English
    Yes, Japanese can be written in only Hiragana and Katakana, and your writting would be perfectly understood, but without a knowledge of Kanji you'd have problems reading Japanese text.


    Senior Member
    Spain / Spanish
    Anything in Japanese can be written with just kanas. But in practice I think that only books intended for little children are written without kanjis.

    Cracker Jack

    Senior Member
    Japanese writing system of Hiragana and Katakana are syllable based. For each syllable, there is a corresponding character. Hiragana system is used for writing words that are indigenous to Japanese language or Nihingo. Examples are : oishi, ibe, tsugi, Nichiyoubi, etc.

    The Katakana system is the one used for writing borrowed or foreign words. Examples: cassette (ka-se-to), Christmas (ku-ri-su-ma-su), tape (te-po). But Katakana can also be used for writing indigenous or native Japanese words.

    The Kanji system is one that uses one character for a particular word. It is easier to write a word of at least 5 syllables with one character than 5.
    Life is made more convenient this way. I just don't know what other reasons are. Let's wait for native speakers.

    Just imagine a word like cyclopentanoperhydrophenanthrene written as one or two characters. The days of the week are the best examples. Nichiyoubi, Getsuyoubi, Kayoubi, etc.


    Senior Member
    Yes, and you can imagine the kanji work roughly if you think like this....
    Nouns and a part of verb can be written in kanji.
    for example,

    私 and 学校 (school) are nouns

    行く is verb/go
    行+く, this hiragana く can express tense/negation with its flection and addition.

    は and に are particles that work like a preposition


    Hey, frequency, so after your explanation, I still don't know what the phrase you wrote means. Could you translate it into English, please?
    And to all, do you know if average Japanese students study all three systems at school, when learning how to read and write? And, if everyone does, then how many kanjis does an average educated Japanese person know and/ or use?


    USA (English)
    私は学校に行く。 means "I go to school."

    Japanese students learn all 3 systems of writing. There are actually government-issued Kanji lists, designed for each grade level. Elementary School students learn 1006 Kyouiku kanji. Junior High and High School students learn an additional 939 kanji. All of those kanji combined are called the Jouyou (common-use) Kanji. So there are 1945 common-use kanji. There are many more, outside this, but they are not required. These are mostly only for names and obscure words, both of which usually appear in writing along with their reading in kana next to or above the kanji (this is called furigana).


    Senior Member
    instantREILLY said:
    So there are 1945 common-use kanji.

    Yes but most of us don't memorize and write every 1,945 jyou-you kanji. We actually omit extremely difficult kanji, use easier and common ones. So don't worry.
    Moreover we surely have chance to read kanji a lot but when it comes to writing, we have word-processing computers now..:D

    It's difficult to define how many kanji are used. Perhaps 1,000 to 1,500 kanji of 1,945....? this is my personal opinion, so please don't rely on!


    Senior Member
    France - French
    Xaphirezst said:
    I wonder whats the diffrence between hiragana and katakana?
    Look at this table.
    Hiragana are used to write particles, termination (is this the correct word?) of verbs and adjectives, and all the words when you don't know the kanji.
    Katakana are used to write foreign names.