A history of kanji!

Nativlang did an interesting video on the history of Kanji, including talking about the differences in kunyomi and onyomi. Here’s the link, enjoy!


That was a rollercoaster.

I kinda feel bad for everyone just getting started with kanji.

It is overwhelming.


Wow… I’m not sure where to go from that now.

Thank you for sharing!

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Back when I was in university I actually wrote an essay on the history of writing in Japan (The class was called “Research, Reasoning and Writing” and we could pick any topic we liked), this included stuff like on’yomi and kun’yomi as well as the development of kana and the like.

There are some interesting books that I used then that you can dig into if you really want to get deep into it:
“The history of the Japanese written language” by Yaeko Sato Habein
“The Japanese language” by Roy Andrew Miller
“An Historical Grammar of Japanese” by George Bailey Sansom
“Old Japanese A phonetic reconstruction” by Marc Hideo Miyake

Edit: On a slightly different note, I always feel a little annoyed by the whole “can you believe that you’re only supposed to write them in a single way” thing, because they fail to mention that if the order is not set there might be no way to recognize sloppily written characters.


If you liked the nativlang video you might like this video about kanji compostion too.

And it was made by forum member Leebo:


Reading up on a book I have in Dutch about this.

It’s pretty nice to have a broader background.

Not a linguist, but I’ve always loved learning about how languages develop! Thanks for the video(s)!

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