From a pure meaning perspective is Chinese Hanji and Japanese Kanji same

I know that the readings are different. But couldn’t find anything about the meaning. I was watching this ShaoLan: Learn to read Chinese ... with ease! | TED Talk and it looks like if the meanings are different I can learn meanings easily by using this site.

Sort of~

Sometimes the meanings are the same, sometimes they’re kind of the same if you stretch it, and sometimes they’re completely different :upside_down_face:

Overall, a lot of them are pretty similar in meaning, but like most things, there are always exceptions


Just skimming it, I didn’t really see anything in that video that was different from Japanese. Maybe you can give some examples of things you thought were different. But remember that the specific English word you use won’t always be the same, because of how English works, though that doesn’t mean the core meaning changed.

But there are some that are different from Chinese, and also Japan has invented some original characters that never existed in Chinese.


To give some context it feels like I was getting confused in many kanji and vocabulary’s reading. A story that has “jo” is sometimes jyou but for others it is jyo. Same with other stories that are here. So I was just searching for some ways by which I can get over that problem.

To clarify the question I was asking if there existed differences in Chinese Hanji and Japanese Kanji in general not in the video. In case anyone was aware about that.

But now as I think about it again, I am really not having problems with meanings. It is the reading which is taking me time to remember. The readings for Chinese differ either way so the app won’t help. So maybe I should look for some alternate strategy to remember readings. Maybe flashcards might help me with that. Any suggestions for improving on readings?

Wasn’t one entire round of importing Chinese characters done with the philosophy of matching up the (old) Japanese sounds with the (old) Chinese sounds, regardless of meaning? There should be lots of examples, right?

Didn’t understand this part. Examples of what?

Japanese - Chinese is like English - French.
In both cases the former borrowed a lot of words from the latter.
But hundreds of years of meaning drift may lead to words that are considerable different in their modern meaning, e.g. “habit” in both English and French derive from the same source, but the French word only refers to clothing (cf. some constructs like “a monk’s habit”).
Similarly, often the meaning between the Chinese Hanzi and the Japanese Kanji can differ, e.g. 娘 is listed as “mother” in Wiktionary for Chinese, but it means “daughter” in Japanese.


Examples of Japanese kanji with meanings totally different from Chinese. Where they just borrowed the character for the sound it made, not for it’s meaning


I’m curious to see some examples , I figure there are many

You are right. Maybe the search terms I used were not precise enough.

Someone said right. To use google properly you need to use search terms properly. Sometimes I forget it is a search engine not a Q&A website


This whole thread is causing me to research the history of Kanji.

I’m learning about Wani, and burning turtles, and a WHOOOOOLE lot of things that have confused me about this site from day one are snapping into place




OMG I could read these examples all day:

大丈夫 which means “Are you alright?” in Japanese and “Grown-up man” in Chinese. 手紙 which means “letter” in Japanese, and in Chinese it means “toilet paper”


But that’s not what happened.
Often, even when the meaning is different now, it was the same when it was borrowed into Japanese.
They are only different now because the meanings of word change over time.
I’m sure some words also got misunderstood as they got borrowed, but I don’t think kanji were ever imported for their sound alone.
Sometimes an already imported kanji was reused for the sound, this leads to Manyogana (an old system of using Kanji for grammar endings etc.) and Ateji (using Kanji to write words from neither Chinese or Japanese, such as 合羽 for the Portuguese word capa)

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I think that’s what I was thinking about, thank you!

Except one of the most common usages of the hanzi 娘 is in the compound 姑娘 which, just to be confusing, means “daughter” too!

And 手写纸 does exist - rather than 手纸 (“hand paper” - a euphemism), the addition of the 写 makes it clear that it’s hand-writing paper - or similar to 手紙.

怪我 as written does mean “blame me” in Chinese but split into components, can also mean “strange” or “evil [on]” me - like an injury.

切手 as written does indeed mean “cut hand” in Chinese, but the individual components can mean to be close to, to concern, and hand - which makes sense with the other translation in Japanese of a merchandise certificate.

Some of these are the combo of two hanzi/kanji which could equally mean different things being used to depict just that. Others like the 娘 are examples of words which had numerous meanings (or a single more general meaning?) which diverged when separated from their compounds.

I would say that onyomi compounds can be taken as the same whilst kunyomi compounds are better off being broken down and thinking, what else could that combo mean? But there are so many exceptions again…

Oh, I know, right? Koichi is extremely inconsistent with his mnemonics, often using exactly the same example for both long and short vowels. About the only think he is consistent about is (a) using “Keds” for けつ (though I have no idea what Keds are, and really, that’d be a better mnemonic for けづ anyway), and (b) using “Kyoto” for きょう and “Little Kyoto” for きょ.

The worst part is how he uses the Japanese jo staff as a mnemonic for じょ, even though the actual name of the weapon is じょう.


If you visit Taiwan or Hong Kong and you know Japanese maybe you can recognise 50% of the characters and guess the meaning, but for example I think 猪 is the character for pork in Chinese but in Japanese that’s いのしし (wild boar?) . Dog is 狗 for example.

Cf. English-German on these examples:
The German word for pig is “Schwein” (also used for the meat) which is cognate (related) to English “swine”, which has a similar meaning but wouldn’t be used to describe meat.
Dog is “Hund” which is cognate with “hound” which often means more like “hunting dog” (though it’s complicated).

犬 and 豚 would be understood as dog and pig respectively in written form in Chinese (the pronunciation has deviated significantly) - but are ancient/technical - it would be a bit like introducing Latin or Shakespeare into an every-day conversation. There are compounds, proverbs or turns of phrase which won’t sound strange, however. Perhaps similar to how “canine” as a descriptor is common, whilst “canis” is not - or other phrases like “ceteris paribus” habe just become part of the lexicon independently.

How did you manage to get to level 29 with these? I am getting confused due to similar mnemonics for reading. Any extension that adds better mnemonics? Or some other way?

Anyone else reading this it would be great if someone can suggest me any way to get past this hurdle.