Chapter 2

Exploring the Nature of Japanese Kanji

IN THIS CHAPTER

check Taking a first look at four types of kanji

check Getting familiar with the concept of on’yomi (Chinese readings) and kun’yomi (Japanese readings)

check Understanding radicals

check Appreciating strokes and stroke order

In this chapter, we explore the essentials of kanji, and also go over the mechanism of kanji to facilitate your kanji learning. This chapter provides information to help you recognize the parts of kanji, to understand how each kanji should be constructed, and to write a beautifully balanced kanji!

Getting to Know the Four Types of Kanji

When you look at kanji, they might appear to be just a bunch of lines creating a shape. But there is a useful way to categorize kanji into roughly four types, based on the way they’re formed:

  • Pictographs
  • Simple ideographs
  • Compound ideographs
  • Phonetic-ideographic characters

Remember How many kanji do you have to know to read a Japanese newspaper or magazine? The Japanese government designates ...

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