Biggest Realizations / Mind Blows You've Experienced Learning Japanese


Thanks I’m going to give it a go… I will have to ration my snacks lol


One of my students told me that 四国 has the kanji for country in it because it used to be considered its own country separate from Japan. Because of this, the islands still kind of have kind of a rebellious nature about them.


What are you talking about. Are we talking about modern Japanese or not.

Yes, が is a modification of か, which is modified from the kanji 加, but you cannot use 加 in a sentence and have it be understood as the subject marking particle が.

And は comes from 波, but anyone who reads it in a sentence will interpret it as “wave” and not “topic marking particle”


That’s the whole thing. I’m learning Japanese straight from a relatively new textbook and its contents involve strictly kanji.

As far as interpretations go, you have to use kanji to make sense of kanji/kana, and once one defines simple terms (such as, for example, 哭, which means howl or bark, but in 哭笑不得, it changed to “cry.”) As far as I know, and based on some threads I’ve seen on here, too, it seems even Kana can produce some interesting variants.


Can you drop an Amazon link or something for the textbook? I’m sure everyone is really curious to see the Japanese textbook that doesn’t use kana.


Still have no idea what you are talking about. 哭笑不得 is not any kind of valid Japanese clause or sentence. It looks like a yojijukugo the way you’ve presented it, but I see no evidence that’s what it is either.


Yeah totally. Here it is:

@Leebo, if you’re referencing colloquials then you’re not going to find anything 一 you could have put it in a translator, at least 一 but either way, it’s part of the point I am making.

“Modern Japanese” is, I feel, a blanket term for the derivation of kanji into a phonetic, cursive counterpart, made into writing; hence, kana. So, given my understanding of the origins of kanji and the ancient history of Japan being written within, I think it would suffice to use such in everyday speech.

Though, I would agree with you if you told me a Japanese person would have no idea what I said.


A translator for Japanese? Why? It’s not Japanese, even if it uses Kanji.

It’s a beginner’s kanji dictionary, it looks like. What part of that book says you can write Japanese without kana characters?


You can say it’s not Japanese - now - due to the contemporary widespread compounded use of kanji/kana in speech and writing, but walk the streets of Japan and I assure you you’ll notice the more archaic signs are purely Kanji.

It appears so, indeed, however the introductory pages indicate the intended lesson plan is designed (very much like this site, and other learning apparatus) to assimilate the reader with the preliminary radicals and move on to kanji, both words and phrases.


You implied it was a general Japanese textbook, from which you were being taught these long strings of kanji characters with no kana used in between.

I’ll stop now, just wanted to clarify what you were talking about originally, not pick a fight.


I meant not to imply such, one can only master the language from pure practice, as I’m sure you know. Its point is to provide you with the resources to build your own sentences, and subsequent conversations.

I suppose I must admit my concurrent study of Chinese aids my performance in some way, however I rarely incorporate their characters into my Japanese writing because those from China tend to be considered ancient Japanese which are deemed, quoting from the book, “efficient, but not in modern use.”

The lack of kana within this textbook, as one would imagine, reinforces this notion.

But you must know, I’m not offended. I appreciate your insight. :blush:


@koyuujin The book you are using is not a general purpose Japanese textbook, which might be causing some confusion. As a kanji learning book, it (like WaniKani) will have more words that use only kanji. Though just scrolling through the sample pages on Amazon, I saw some words with kana, as one would expect.

Regardless, that book is just teaching you words. You can’t arbitrarily string them together to form sentences. I recommend you also get a grammar textbook (Genki, Japanese from Zero, etc.) so that you can see the importance that kana has in grammatical structures and forming proper sentences in Japanese.


Thanks for your suggestion. Quite honestly, I don’t get stopped by my Japanese friends who I try to converse with. They usually tell me people who only use kanji tend to be disregarded, come off as prude because of comprehension difficulty, or are intellectuals in academia, which I can believe. Au contrare, I think that is silly. Hence, my efforts at this forum.

Maybe I’ll take a whack at those books.


Is there some miscommunication? Again, you can’t “only use kanji.” You can, however, use more words of Sino-Japanese origin than words of Japanese origin. You still have to put the sentences together with kana. Words of Sino-Japanese origin come across like words of Latin or Greek origin in English.

You can say either “defecate” or “crap” and be understood. But the feeling is quite different. Arguing to always use Sino-Japanese is like saying you should say “defecate” exclusively when talking to your friends about fecal/poop matter.


@koyuujin Right, as Leebo said people can use different types of vocabulary to different effect. But you still need kana-based grammatical structures to form sentences. Reading even a few chapters of a grammar book would really help clear this up.

If you want some quick information before buying a textbook you could check out Tae Kim’s online textbook.


week end
end of the week
I was amazed as a native English speaker I never pieced together the weekend is the end of the week


I hear you, Leebo, but allow me to ask: is your defense that the use of simplified versions of words is exclusively to convey feeling?

I believe the earliest rendition of Japanese text is found within a Chinese document containing classical Japanese poetry, the Man’yōshū. Within it, very seldom used were character forms of what today is called “Kana” in conjunction with Kanji characters. When such were used, they were together, mostly if not completely separate from the Kanji.

They were also indicated to have been derived from cursive versions of established Chinese characters, not phonemes as defined in modern Japanese lessons.

I use this as guide, understanding the kind of implications it may bring. My understanding from this, and other ancient Japanese writing texts is if the individuals reading it know every Kanji within (as they must have, evidently) then it virtually doesn’t matter. Which tells you two things: They clearly had intended use of the mainland’s language, and the derivation is very far into a communication paradox (amongst kanji and kanji/kana users)


Seems that way. I’m not sure but I found myself wondering if spoken language and written language were being conflated at times.

When I read the phrase below I thought maybe that makes sense if you are referencing a choice to use kanji to write something that is typically written in kana since the kanji only version is sometimes/often considered obsolete.


I’m aware of the origin of the kana characters, being derived from elements of the kanji themselves. And I understand that when kanji were first imported, more than a 1000 years ago, texts were written exclusively in kanji, because, well, they hadn’t adapted kanji into kana yet anyway.

I still don’t see what that has to do with your complaint about why Japanese people use kana. Japanese people live in 2018, and while they are aware of the history of their language’s written form, they do not use it anymore so than British people would write like the text of Beowulf.

My defense? I’m just telling you how the words will be heard upon you using them, if you decide to go exclusively Sino-Japanese.

If you insist on saying 知人 instead of 知り合い or 隣人 instead of おとなりさん, people will think you are pompous at best, and more likely they’ll just think your Japanese is unnatural if you are a beginner.


Ah yes, I accept that fate, my comrade. In my honest, albeit persistent opinion, the original language is far too beautiful and precious to let die, and I’m willing to stay completely silent if my desired method of conveyance indeed gets me into social trouble. :smile: That’s my Chinese way, I suppose.

Thanks, Naruto.