Synesthesia and so on

I would like to discuss experiences of Synesthesia because I think it is useful for studying Kanjis.
For example, E is red for me.

水浅葱 みずあさぎ


Like this, an emotion in colors etc, and so on


I also have synesthesia for letters, but I haven’t seen it affect Japanese much. The closest I get is a color association for the romaji of the reading. Since m is a blue color to me, まみむめも all come out in slightly different shades of blue depending on the vowels that go with them. So with each mora being different, it’s sort of like having new letters to work with. But the association is still primarily to the English letters. I don’t think kanji really have strong associations to me, but since I still use furigana a good bit it’s hard to tell whether a kanji has a color association if I read the furigana first or easier.

If you could just make a kanji have the same color association as its most common reading that’d be great for studying but because it’s unconscious that’s easier said than done. There’s probably some of the association that happens by exposure since each kanji is a foreign symbol at first but because my synesthesia is pretty set by now it’s just mapping the readings onto the kanji and not entirely new associations.


Just taking the color for readings could work maybe, like eg キョウ is …

Color groups for readings for Kanji groups like in the 音符辞典.

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I have the types of synesthesia where letters of the alphabet are linked to colors, and sounds are linked to colors and textures, and these tend to interact with each other in how I perceive words on a page as I read them, largely based on their default colors and any associated phonemes when used in the context of words.

In Japanese, the kana all have default colors for me. The kanji, however, have been resistant to taking on any such colors, perhaps because of the fact that many of them don’t have singular pronunciations or simple ones at that. I’m not sure how to explain it, but in any case, the fact that kanji have been synesthesia-resistant is definitely curious, yet unhelpful for language learning.


Fascinating. This is just a guess, but maybe it’s something that develops as the brain grows and matures in youth. So if you’re learning a new language once you’re already an adult, maybe those connections don’t form (or only do if there’s an existing association to leverage, e.g. the romanized version of a Japanese word). :thinking:

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In my case, these associations don’t so much develop as switch on at a certain point. The kana all took on colors once I learned how they were pronounced. And it it was illuminating to find out that shape had little to do with it. は, ば, and ぱ appear as completely different colors to me (which is helpful).


Kanji is a concept, kana is a sound, the connection in your brain is not with the shape of the letter but with the sound it represents. If I really simplify it ( and it’s a super crude simplification) kanji is what you see and kana is what you hear, different parts of the brain, in if I understand correctly your brain interprets sound as both sound and color and the trigger is sound.



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Kana, but in which color :smiling_face_with_three_hearts: