Your 105-Word Mini Japanese Culture Lesson


The Japanese use thousands of Chinese characters called kanji in their writing. Kanji are used to denote nouns, adjectives, and even verb stems. They range from the ultra simple character for one (—) to characters that have so many strokes they look like smudges on the page.

Proper stroke order is essential to achieve the correct balance  when writing kanji. Nowadays, with the popularity of word processors, many Japanese claim to be forgetting how to write kanji properly. This is similar to how Westerners are forgetting to spell since the advent of Spell Check. Once again, the East and West unite; this time, in laziness.

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One Comment Add yours

  1. Stan says:

    That’s funny.

    When I wanted to write Aki’s parents a thank-you note I wrote it out in English then asked Aki to translate it so I could then copy the kanji so it would be in my hand. Aki said sure and proceeded to fire up the computer. I was like “huh?” When she gave me a sheepish look it dawned on me. “You don’t remember all the kanji, do you!” I said. She smiled and confessed that she does forget sometimes and it’s just easier to use the computer.

    By the way, it took me about 2 hours to copy the kanji that was equivalent of two short paragraphs in English. The good news is her parents told her they got my postcard with “beautiful Japanese” so it was worth the effort. Score!

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