How the heck does one learn to LOVE Kanji? I’m the kind of person who does best when I can really get passionate about something I’m learning about, and I also get motivated when hearing people talk passionately about that same thing. So, I thought today, why don’t I do a quick Google search for people that love kanji and let that love wash over me? Except I can’t find any such people, everything I find is people apparently just grinding it out like I am. So please…tell me how you love Kanji, or direct me to someone who does!!
I like my kanji with some ketchup and cheese maybe.
I don’t particularly love kanji, but I like how the concepts they represent get clearer the longer you stare at them. Also, the ability to effortlessly translate them in your head without thinking much or just absorb them without actually reading is definitely something worth paying for .
All you need to do is try to read one long piece of text written only in kana. Afterwards you’re suddenly very grateful to have kanji
Kanji are ethymology. I find them fascinating. And as @BIsTheAnswer, kana only text are hardly understandable.
I totally agree with all y’all, thank you for your thoughts! I definitely see the use of kanji, kana texts are nightmarish, and having concepts encapsulated in “pictures” is definitely interesting. I want to move beyond just practicalities to actually care about kanji in and of themselves (if such a thing is possible lol).
I guess I should give some context, I’m starting as a highschool Japanese teacher next year, and although I love the language (especially speaking) I still don’t really love the writing aspects of it, particularly kanji. My kanji knowledge is decent, but I’m worried my students will pick up that I don’t LOVE them, especially when they’re already likely to be intimidated by the prospect of learning kanji. So I want to get that passion burning. @whinette you mention finding them fascinating as etymology, could you expand on that?
Oh I love kanji
I’m gonna marry them
I’m not sure that I necessarily LOVE kanji as a concept… especially since I’m spending so much time wrestling with them rn… but I will say that when I learn new things about them, it gets me super excited and motivated ! Maybe read up a little bit on some aspect of them, like history/origin or something specific like the kanji with phonetic components or something like that. :^)
Good luck with your new job!! I’m starting one soon as well actually!
I love the added interest and excitement studying kanji provides me from an English perspective - it’s more satisfying and compelling to me to learn to read something having started from a place of “I have absolutely no idea what any of this signifies or how it all works,” and I dearly treasure the fact that that complete void is now filled in with endless indelible associations and sounds and imagery, that should only continue to grow, and even if for some reason I stopped practicing entirely, would take a very long time indeed to fade away.
They also allow for some undeniably cool techniques - like encapsulating an idea or character introduction in a much more visually interesting and meaning-laden way than letters really can (thinking of huge bold kanji when someone uses a special technique in something like Jujutsu Kaisen for example), or using furigana to artistically play with what’s said vs. what’s meant.
I feel richer for knowing that those kinds of things are possible, and again it feels extra cool since it’s stuff that once was never even on my horizon.
I also think it’s really interesting how much history shows through the written language as a whole. Being able to tell a little about a word’s origin just from its reading, and how that reflects on how it’s written - or being able to see how kana formed over time. It can sometimes feel like a mess, but English is just as much of a mess of imported words, etc., and in a way modern written Japanese just makes the structure of that mess more visible.
I guess what I mean is the mix of kanji and kana doesn’t seem like a system someone would come up with from scratch, it developed over a very long period of time and reflects that, which I think is quite cool (in a different way from systems that WERE developed logically in more-or-less one go, like hangul, which are also very cool…). Kanji make up a big part of that visual history.
Anyway, I think they’re neat.
I don’t necessarily love reviewing kanji
But I find kanji so fascinating to the point where I would say I love them haha, and like @AndyMender said, once you get past the first wall and can read some text without furigana, there is an incredible satisfaction to that, and after that I just wanted more.
So my answer, make sure you USE your kanji knowledge. Because if you are just using them on WaniKani… yeah I wouldn’t be in love either.
It would help with blank space in Japanese, but I get the feeling that there are too many similar readings to parse in a good way (especially as words get complicated)? Could be wrong about how similar different Japanese words are, reading-wise.
I personally quite like kanji, more specifically the words that kanji describes. But I’m a bit of a word nerd in English (and now in Japanese) so I may be the exception, not the rule.
Oh yes, I can even recommend a book or two written that way (for children). That’s an entirely new perspective on “love” and “fun”. Then again, it’s also amazing training, because you need to understand what is being written almost entirely from context and phonetics. If kids can do that, adults should be able to as well, right?
ouuu I love this question aha
I love kanji because I think it’s so cool, especially how all the radicals come together to make kanji, and I also love seeing how multiple kanji come together to make new words, in such a way that you can come across a word you’ve never seen and try to infer its meaning based on the kanji alone (even if some of them are far from intuitive). I just think it’s kind of like a puzzle. So even though I struggle with kanji a lot, I just think it’s super neat. I also love the satisfaction of learning a kanji then going out and recognizing it in a text somewhere (though I guess that would apply to learning any language…)
Also I totally agree with the comment about texts written in only kana… kanji gives the text a nice structure, i find
Aside from them packaging more information into fewer characters (arguably more strokes) and allowing for easier reading as others have stated, I’d like to add the “formality aspect” that they bring about. Being able to convey different levels of professionalism depending on how many and what kanji you use in writing is interesting.
There’s also names. I enjoy interpreting their meaning by the kanji they have; like having English names etymology exposed to you.
Then I have verbs and adjectives. Maybe not kanji specific, but I appreciate having a robust lexical root (sometimes in the form of kanji) with my words. Continuing with grammar (this is more of a kanji and hiragana praise), I also like how every particle is written in hiragana vs. kanji nouns; grammar is one of my favorite parts about Japanese and these little details strengthen my love for it.
And, even if what they added to the comprehension was nigh insignificant, I wouldn’t like to lose my kanji. They somehow make reading more appealing, they look nice. I wonder how the Japanese society would be without them (we wouldn’t have all that beautiful calligraphy!), I’m certain Japanese schooling would be transformed by their loss.
Absolutely, yes, and here’s why:
- Conceptual content: unlike alphabets, Kanji usually contribute directly to the meaning of words. Lateral thinking, yes, but still logical a lot of the time.
- Etymology: understanding where individual Kanji come from and how the evolved is as fascinating as dissecting Latin and Greek-based vocabulary to understand the relationships and infer meaning of new words.
- Satisfaction: there is a deep sense of satisfaction that is derived through successfully slaying Kanji you find in the wild. Always successfully catching a particular wild Kanji with your Kanjiball may seem boring at first, but the Kanjidex is a LOT bigger so it doesn’t get boring really.
- Breaking down barriers: Kanji is one of the principal barriers between us and the content we want to consume. It’s hard to not love Kanji when you’re successfully ravishing that drop dead perfect 10 of a manga and she can’t get enough of you either.
- Deeper understanding of the language: Kanji offer a window into understanding the culture. Seeing a particular Kanji used in a certain context can give clues about the wider context.
I love them as little puzzles - I like to try to work out how to read the words and what they mean. I also love that they can be beautiful - like little artworks - yes, you can do calligraphy in the latin alphabet, and it’s appealing in its own way, but I really love the look of kanji.
Of course, my favourite thing is the satisfaction of understanding when I see a kanji, and spotting one and realizing what is being said (or being able to make a good guess). I really enjoy the ideographic representation (symbol=idea), and just find the contrast with the vaguely phonetic writing that is English (symbols=sound - although English is quite bad at this) exciting. I had a bit of an obsession with ancient Egypt when I was little and thought hieroglyphs were so cool - and kanji are a little like that.
Yes, it makes Japanese 10x harder than it would have been but it’s so satisyfing to actually know them.
That being said there’s wayyyy yoo much
Writing Kanji is a beautiful thing, this is another way to love Kanji, through 書道
I started to really love kanji when I found this calligraphy channel on YouTube:
I love Kanji because of how it represents an idea into a single pictogram and the cool looking calligraphy but when I tried to write them once (死 because Sekiro) and how they seem to look alike I realized that it’s a one sided affair. I learned to accept that I can remember the Kanji when they’re combined as a word instead of individually.