Do Kanjis get cancled in the future?

In Germany this is a big topic: Chaning the language, so that it includes everyone and you can not assume any gender from it, make it genderless. And also get rid off words that are not nice to minorities and feed stereotypes.

While i understand the idea behind it, i think there is no easy way that it can be applied to the german language.
In the english context it would be like saying worker is only meaning the masculine form and so it has to be: Worker*ress (not a 1:1 but maybe you get the idea behind it)

While i study kanji i noticed a lot of kanji are stereotype-ish.
Just two examples: Man is power and rice field, while pragnent has the woman radical. (some say even man can be pregnat too)

I understand the context of a kanji and from which year the language is coming from.
But just imagine a radical bubble discovers that a man has to be strong and working on a rice field.

I am a bit scared that there is a chance that kanji get canceld in the west (or at least there is going to be a not-so-nice debate.)


It is good that Kanji are “stereotype-ish”. It makes them easier to remember.

I don’t think China and Japan care much for western woke ideas.


The logistics of changing kanji are probably too huge for it to ever be done in any significant way (this is regardless of reason, not for this particular situation). Just imagine what it would entail. You’d have to change all textbooks, train the teachers in the use of the new forms, then have them teach the students. Ok, good so far, but then what about people who already learned how to read? What about books already published? Are people suddenly gonna become illiterate because there’s all these new kanji forms circulating around? I can’t imagine any government going through all that trouble. As for what the West is gonna do, it’s probably gonna be irrelevant to Japan, since they’re the ones actively using the kanji.


I’m sure this thread will end well.


I agree it ain’t gonna happen, but it did happen in China with the introduction of the simplified characters. And Japanese went through a similar-ish “all the old books are useless” transition when it did the kana spelling reform. So it’s not utterly impossible if the pressure for change is great enough and the traditionalist/conservative/no-change wing is weak enough.


Fair enough, but if that ever were to happen, at that point I’d bet you anything they’d rather just remove all kanji altogether rather than change the problematic ones.

I’m actually glad the example given was pregnant, right? This could have gone so much worse, lol




I agree with @jneapan and @ajite. I highly doubt Japan will care at all how the west says things. It would probably take several cataclysmic events and the planets aligning before they decided to upend their entire language :laughing:

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They might as well get cancelled in the west, but I don’t think Chinese/Japanese will be changed because of that. lol

I mean, it does happen for Japanese words. 看護師 is now preferred over 看護婦, etc. Language does change, in Japan as well. I don’t think anything like that will happen for kanji, though.


There have been cases where the offending kanji has just been replaced by hiragana. It’s not unusual to have kanji-hiragana combinations, so that would be an easy solution.

There was an episode of Japanese Ammo with Misa who mentioned that in a case I don’t fully remember. It may have been disability, where the “damage” kanji is considered offensive and for that reason usually no longer written as kanji but in hiragana.


I don’t really get how Kanji can get “cancelled” in the west. Can you try describing what you’re fearing might happen with other words?

And the “Genderstern” debate going on in Germany, the idea of changing a language for the sake of political correctness, has already occured in Japan to some extent. The most prominent example I can think off the top of my head is 子供 now often written as 子ども because of the questionable implication of the second kanji. But none of the changes in the past and possibly in the future will be significant enough to have worries about learning kanji. I doubt the Japanese will ever fully “abandon” kanji, so you’re gonna have to learn them either way.



I’m clearing out this comment because this topic is cringe and I have no idea what possessed me to respond to it. I just had a tooth extracted and I’m not all here, not that I’m ever entirely here.

she did, it’s only a short reference but it was in this one for anyone curious


It is different. Simplified Chinese was made to make it more accessible and decrease the number of illiterates.


(Guffawed out loud - nice way to wake up, actually.)


There was a lot of change and reform in Japanese in relatively recent past (last 150 years). It’s not like removal of kanji wasn’t discussed/proposed many times: Japanese script reform - Wikipedia . I personally doubt it will happen during my lifetime :slight_smile:


Language is pretty fluid, so i would imagine that certain Kanji or words that people would feel are quite harmful/prejudicial would not be used quite so widely and this would be adopted by society in general as oposed to govermental change. For example, i have a few friends that do not use the word "外人”(がいじん) because it has negative conotations.


Yeah, I think major script reform depends on a combination of (a) it has to feel like a pressing issue (b) it has to be a time of major social and cultural upheaval also, where more radical voices get a hearing and the establishment (usually a force for conservatism and tradition and no-change) is weak. So Japanese got genbun itchi during the Meiji period, and kana spelling reform during the post-war occupation period, both of which were arguably long overdue changes. My guess is that absent any similarly major social disruption (fingers crossed!) we won’t see anything more than fairly minor tweaks at most.