Kanji parts of speech - what % nouns vs. others?

I believe that most kanji are nouns, and smaller percentages can be verbs or other parts of speech.

What’s the breakdown on that? Are kanji generally… 70% nouns? 20% verbs? 10%… other stuff (adverbs?)?

Thanks for any info on this…

A single kanji is usually a noun. Kanji can’t be other part of speech without hiragana attached to it

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kanji aren’t words


The raw breakdown of vocabulary on Wanikani is:

adjective:           5
adverb:            129
conjunction:         8
counter:            20
expression:         44
godan_verb:        562
i_adjective:       152
ichidan_verb:      268
interjection:        8
intransitive_verb: 332
na_adjective:      440
no_adjective:      954
noun:             4844
numeral:            27
prefix:             12
pronoun:            21
proper_noun:        62
suffix:            140
suru_verb:        1237
transitive_verb:   458

They should allow us to use the search function this way^

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Why, I don’t believe there are more “kanji nouns” as opposed to “kanji verbs” than there are nouns and verbs in English for example (and so you may say “I believe that most words are nouns, and smaller percentages can be verbs or other parts of speech”, which is a somewhat unusual statement).

I don’t know if you’re referring to the abstract meaning of a kanji though, which… I don’t view as a word, even if some of them are. For example, 茶 means “tea”, 海 means “sea”, 猫 means “cat”, and can be used as standalone words.

In contrast, 立 means “stand”, 行 means “go”, 食 means “eat”, and you may think of them as “verbs”, but they cannot be used as standalone words. They do not become words unless hiragana or other kanji is added to form proper verbs or nouns, for example 食べる means “to eat” and 食べ物 means “food”.

Because of this, I believe it is best not to assign terms like “verb” or “noun” to kanji meanings, but to view them as abstract logograms, as your “verb” could become a noun or other things. Arguably, not doing so makes it harder to remember them, which is not a good thing. At the very least, keep this in mind for reference.

Edit: There is also the fact that most kanji have more than one meaning, and sometimes they are completely different.

I don’t see how counting them could be helpful in any way, though. Why are you asking?


Actually 食 (しょく)means meal and 行 (ぎょう)means line of text. Just saying

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My bad. Thank you.

There are other kanji that validate the point: 止 means “stop” and doesn’t stand alone.

Exactly what I was hoping for, thanks!

I was just curious, that’s all.

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Hmm? You can have adverbs and な adjectives with no okurigana.

Anyway this is just a flawed question. The words are the main thing, then they are written with kanji. Even when they are of Sino-Japanese origin, the language always primarily exists as a spoken language first and then you learn writing.

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Good point.

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