Why are some words/phrases normally written in kana?

I just learned the kanji for oishii, which kind of blew my mind because I’ve seen the word written plenty of times and it’s always been in kana. I know plenty of other words are like that too. I get that some kanji just aren’t in common use because they’re difficult but the kanji for phrases like “konnichiwa” and “arigato” really aren’t hard. So why are they typically written in kana? Not that I’m complaining, mind you.


When the kanji aren’t difficult, it’s just a matter of style. Kanji, since they are not originally Japanese, tend to lend things a more stiff, formal, literary, etc. feeling, even if it is only slightly.

So it’s often a matter of style choice.


Regarding ‘konnichiwa’, when written in Kanji it can also be read as ‘きょうは’, which roughly means ‘Today is…’


The example sentence above would probably be a bit harder to read if こんにちは was written in Kanji as well.

Also, if you use Jisho.org, try and look out whenever a definition says ‘Usually written using kana alone’, many words (particularly those that are frequently used or very rare) will use just Kana.



And it depends a lot on what you’re actually reading. Pop open some novels or a Resident Evil or Yakuza game and it is suddenly 何故 and 有難い for days


Okay, those are all things I never read. Fair point. (I tried to read a novel once but got frustrated by how often I had to look up kanji.) I didn’t know there was kanji at all for なぜ – thanks!

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