Why 一 and 人 could be read as "hito"?

I knew 一 is hito in 一つ/compound and is a “kun” reading.
Likewise 人 is a standalone? reading I think but regardless an “on” reading.

I just want to know why totally different kanji “can ended up” having “the same reading”, like WHY :sob:

Also I assumed there would be a case these two standalone kanji have the same reading, in that case will I suffer when I try to decipher it when someone “say” it/the other way around (will someone have a difficulty deciphering what I’m saying when I say it)?
Or is there no such case?

This is how the language is built. You will find plenty of kanjis with the same readings as you continue with Wanikani.

Well, no, because the words are ひとつ and ひと. They aren’t the same as full words.

It helps is you stop thinking of kanji as words.

一 represents the word いち.
一人 are two kanji that together represent the word ひとり.
人 represents the word ひと.

You do not have to worry about mixing these up for this reason. The vocab lessons will help you IMMENSELY.

btw. 人口 and 人工 are both read as じんこう. So… I’m sorry.


So the answer is just “that’s how it is”?? There’s no hidden background like the は in こんにちは?

Oh right I forgot to added. I meant I assumed there would be a case where it’s a standalone word having the same reading, in such case I meant, will it be a problem?

Uh… so what do I think of it? And your examples are thinking of them in terms of words or?? @_@


If there is a background I don’t know it.

一 as a standalone is not ひと.
一 as a standalone is いち.

人 as a stand alone is ひと.

一人 is ひとり. 二人 is ふたり. 一つ is ひとつ. 二つ is 二つ. You just have to keep learning for the patterns to start to emerge.

I’m not thinking of the kanji as words. I’m the of the words as words, the kanji replaces parts of words. That is why kanji can have different readings because they are replacing parts of different words.

It’s the same as in english when you say red and read(past tense) they sound the same. Do you mix them up, no because they are used in vastly different places.


I see. Thank you anyway.

In English there’s the letter ‘g’, but ‘g’ is not a word. However, the letter ‘a’ also happens to be a word on its own. Similarly in Japanese, kanji are individual characters, but sometimes can also be words.

Also in English, the letter ‘a’ can be pronounced differently depending on the word, like “father” and “fat”. Similarly in Japanese, kanji can be pronounced (read) differently depending on the word, because many kanji have multiple readings.

I hope that helps.


Oh… Maybe because I’m still new to kanji I don’t really get it.


I see

Yes this help.

I highly recommend getting vocab from outside WaniKani. How are you learning Japanese besides WaniKani?

And since they are different parts of speech, you’re basically never going to confuse them in context.


I actually figured out those confusions with tool outside wanikani.

Currently I’m just studying casually so I just mainly use wanikani and some textbooks (that I don’t read yet). When I know more vocabulary will these kind of problems just dissapear?
Do you have study materials recommendation btw?

That is what I’m thinking essentially. The more you can actually fit these learnings into real sentences the better.

I’m reading through the Genki Textbook, and watching the Cure Dolly series on youtube currently and it’s going pretty well.

It’s like if an English learner was like, “Did you know the weed from seaweed and weed-wacker are the same? Will this be confusing?” … And we’d say… “no, not really.”

Kanji is simpler that is seems. It be like if “%” meant weed. So seaweed was sea% and weed-wacker was %-wacker, but % alone was Grass.

I’m not sure that helps at all.


The problems never disappear completely because there are homonyms distinguishable only by their kanji but with experience you will get the hang of how it works and you won’t be tripped up so easily.

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I tried to find a stand alone kanji with the same reading. drum roll…

橋 is bridge.
箸 is chopsticks.

Both are pronounce hashi, technically they have different pitch formation… but even with bad pronunciation. I doubt there will be a time that anyone would be confused… and even if they were… we have to learn to be okay with that. We confuse each other all the time in English but we don’t make it mean anything. We just clarify.

To address you’re other question. Say you only know hashi for chopsticks, and someone said hashi meaning bridge. This is a word you don’t know so you say what, meet at the chopsticks? No hashi, the road over water thing… oh hashi is bridge and then you know.

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