Why are words that are written in kana in most cases written in kanji in other cases?

For example, 筈 and はず

The short answer is style. Generally shorter words, or complex or unusual Kanji get the Kana treatment. Most jisho (kanji dictionary) will note if the word is normally written with Kana.

I suspect it’s a natural phenomenon since natives learn kana first, and just get used to using it for common words.


Japan used to be an isolated country and so to drive foreigners away from learning the language and, in turn, coming to Japan, they made the language as cryptic and confusing as possible. That’s just a left-over from the old days.

Also watch out for words that are usually written in kanji/hiragana being written in katakana instead. For emphasis. Or because they just felt like it.


Kanji gives things a more formal or literary feel usually. You will almost always see はず if you’re chatting with a friend, but you might see 筈 in a book.


I’m pretty sure i read this on the forum, but some might mean to give different meanings? Like ください vs 下さい.

Yeah that can happen. 下さい is typically used when the meaning is just “give (command form).”

ください, along with other auxiliary verbs, is typically written with hiragana when the meaning is “do me the favor of [some other verb]” with that other verb in the て form.

In the same way, 行く means “go,” but when it’s used as an auxiliary after a て form, it should be written いく.


I have found out that Manga loves to write words in katana for no reason what soever.


I always thought it was just preference. I found this. If this is true then there are some real grammatical reasons for it however people disregard it in common practice.



well in manga, it’s used to convey an accent, or that the speaker is foreign.

I always wonder when those trends/rules of “in compound verb, only the first verb is written in kanji” or “auxiliary verb are written in hiragana” appeared. While reading stuff written one hundred years ago, I discovered that those rule didn’t exist yet, compound verbs are written fully in Kanji as well as auxiliary, and it’s so freaking much easier to read…

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Part of it might be that more complicated kanji are sometimes written with hiragana in shows and books aimed towards younger children who wouldn’t have learned the word yet. But usually they would just add furigana. I’m probably totally wrong it’s just something I noticed in some readers I got recently

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Also men tend to use more kanji in writing, where a woman might use kana more.

My teacher and his native Japanese wife had a discussion yesterday about 擦る(なぞる). And she said she wouldn’t write the kanji (女性だから), unless for emphasis.


Why not? I’m assuming this is written Japanese, so it’s more of a hassle to write out a kanji by hand than a couple of kana? Or is this on the PC, too?

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On the pc too. I have always heard that kana are cuter, rounder and are more visually pleasing to women. Whereas men tend to go for kanji because they are ‘cooler’. This is all very stereotypical, though.

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Yeah, I think I heard about that historically - didn’t know it was still a thing, though I really shouldn’t be surprised.

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I kept on finding the word 体 written as カラダ、and the weirdest was 身体 written with the furigana カラダ above it. I’m assuming body parts often get special treatment?

I think 身体 is weird in that you might actually be able to read it as からだ without prompt or problem, which I’ve now realized that I’ve actually been subconsciously doing. I think this is a little bit of a different issue though.

I will say that changed readings with furigana are VERY common in H-manga, which is actually pretty neat because you have expressly voiced innuendos as well as their literal meanings in the text, which is something we don’t do in English text.

We actually had this happen recently in 少女終末旅行. There we had the furigana word レーション over the more complicated kanji word 固形食料, which meant something similar.

These are some of the reasons why I fell in love with Japanese reading and writing; The ability to write in several different ways, the ability to change succinctness based off of kanji, and the ability to do other creative things like utilizing furigana to add contextual information. Hehe, sorry for the random speech.

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Or just manga? It’s a normal thing. Not a sex thing >_>


Well there you go. One of the immediate downsides of lacking variability in my reading. Beware to all.

However, it made a lot of sense in my mind, as in English you often do have people use words like “member” and such. So I guess for specifically that purpose, it forces the furigana to be pretty common.

Oh I’ve encountered this too! I admit, it made things easier :laughing: