Posted by: felishkulitz | November 22, 2009

Yomi no Kata


Obsolete Kanji for ki like in aikidō
Image via Wikipedia

Learning a language is a little exciting but somewhat stressful too. In Japanese language, one cannot say that he mastered that without going through the writing. Kanji alone will make us overwhelmed with its around two thousand characters or so. When one start learning this part of the language, to one’s surprise most of the characters have several if not few readings.

Let us start with the three different readings per characters. Two of these are native to Japan, the kun yomi and nanori. Kun yomi is the common way of reading kanji which have equivalent meaning in Japanese. As for nanori, this type of reading is usually for Japanese names. It could be a persons name or that of a location especially the variances from province to province across the country. It is said that nanori is somewhat related to kun yomi. Anyway, both are native from Japan. The third one, on yomi (‘on’ means sound) was imported from China. Readings from this group imitate Chinese sounds and incorporate it to Nihongo. Typically, those kanji without native Japanese equivalents uses this kind of reading. As for the other kanji with Japanese meaning, they also have on yomi.

Let us now turn our eyes to the readings of groups of kanji. There are groups of kanji in which all the characters are read with on yomi. I believe that scientific terms are the best example of this. There are groups in which all the characters are read with kun yomi. According to this page, most of the family names are read that way. The third way is called juubako (on yomi + kun yomi) and yutou (kun yomi + on yomi). The next is called gikun or jukujikun. This one is neither read the way as mentioned above. Instead, it is a morph of sounds which is related to each of the kanji.

With my level, it is hard to give a list of examples but as I progress on my study, I will try to compile any good examples that I encounter.

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