Kanji and Hiragana in the Same Word or Expression

Hello, I am trying to figure out two things. I am at Level 7, so maybe when I have gone further, I will learn the answers to these questions.

  1. If a word is made up of both kanji and hiragana, do such words always begin with kanji (not including honorifics)? I haven’t noticed any words that begin with hiragana followed by kanji yet.

  2. If an expression has a kanji, then hiragana, then another kanji, do the kanji use the kun’yomi readings or what? Or isn’t there a set rule about that?

As you can see, I am still solidifying my knowledge of when to use on’yomi vs. kun’yomi readings.

Thank you for your help!

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1: in the vast majority of cases yes. exceptions tend to be compound words (おとぎ話) or unconventional ateji (さ迷う), but not something you really need to worry about for learning principles of grammar.

2: depends. sometimes you can get a hint from how it’s formed. 想い出 (おもいで) is a double-kun word because the で comes from the root of 出る. in 空き缶 (あきかん) the かん is just a standalone noun, whose reading you hafta know from having learned it on its own as well.


Even in the case of honorifics (お and ご) at the start, you could write them in kanji. They are both the same kanji, 御.

When a word starts with something else in hiragana and then has kanji, it’s because the first kanji is a rare one.

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Quite a few kanji-kana compound words are common kanji words which use non-Joyo kanji. For example, 石鹸 is frequently written 石けん, because 鹸 is not Joyo kanji.

But yeah, kanji-kana-kanji words are frequently actually two verb stems glued together - for example 受け付け or 立ち飲み. Not always. All rules have exceptions.

皮膚科 is often written 皮フ科, too. you’ll see 教育漢字 most of the time in daily life. there’s only like 1100 of them, and what doesn’t fit, often is changed to kana.

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