A fine line between Kanji mastery and arrogance

Weirdly enough… I’ve seen some Japanese people here use the full kanji for 有難う御座います a handful of times (I work at in a Japanese company).
My guesses as to why would be:

  • Their IME switched it to the kanji and they didn’t realize before pressing send.
  • It was a specifically formal moment and they wanted to add an extra layer of formality.

Same goes for stuff like ラーメン → 拉麺、コーヒー → 珈琲, etc. (which are actually used in kanji more often than ありがとう I’ve seen).

The point being, use whatever kanji you like!!! Just like some people have different speaking styles, there are definitely different kanji-use styles. Go with whatever makes you happiest ~


Probably their poor kanji game, holding them back. Never going to level up with kanji like that.

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Ok, lets try to see if I can translate this.

Whatever is in Latin appears deep (profound?).

My favorite latin phrase is fama et sententia volant.

In my experience, when Japanese people say things like, “Wow! Even Japanese people don’t know that/don’t do it like that”
a) they are implicitly telling you that is strange and you shouldn’t do it like that
b) they are genuinely amazed at your knowledge

I personally want to speak and write the way native Japanese do, so I don’t write words in kanji if they generally are written in kana.

As far as sounding condescending, I don’t think you have to worry. You would sound condescending if you told the native speaker that they were wrong, or that you’re way is better, etc. Just using kanji abnormally isn’t condescending. If anything, it’s just strange.


I was going to compare it to being that kid who find-replaces their essay with big words to try to sounds smarter. Kana vs kanji may not be exactly that, but I could easily imagine someone looking up archaic kanji in the same way. It just makes you seem weirdly pompous and abnormal.


Why use a big word where a diminutive substitute would suffice?


The academic answer is to avoid repetition. Have you ever written an essay where every sentence uses I? Like this, “I want to go to the store. At the store, I bought a dog. I thought the dog is cute. SO, I gave it a cute name.”

If you have to read dozens of pages like that or whatever the choice phrases are, it can cause the reader to have a reading fog where they can’t remember what was read as everything starts to sound the same.

A wider vocabulary allows for you to say more complicated things with more naunce. Do you mean good or nice? Do you mean very good or great. Do you mean directional or towards or at.


Humor aside, Precision. There’s no such thing as an exact synonym, and sometimes the precision matters. it’s a balance; sometimes the precision doesn’t matter and simplicity would be better.

That’s not the same thing, though, as pretentiously using big words (often incorrectly) just because you think you know them. Best to use the principle of “least surprise”. If your word is unusual enough for someone to take note of it, there had better be a good reason you chose it specifically.

I think that applies to using kanji when nobody else would. Why are you doing that? It’s distracting from your message.