Country: Japan Category: Language By: fearfrog
The Japanese term kanji literally means "Han characters" or Chinese characters. Chinese characters first came to Japan on articles imported from China. An early instance of such an import was a gold seal given by the emperor of the Eastern Han Dynasty in 57 AD. It is not clear when Japanese people started to command Classical Chinese by themselves but the first Japanese documents were probably written by Chinese immigrants. For example, the diplomatic correspondence from King Bu of Wa to Emperor Shun of the Liu Song Dynasty in 478 has been praised for its skillful use of allusion. Later, groups of people called fuhito were organized under the monarch to read and write Classical Chinese. From the 6th century onwards, Chinese documents written in Japan tended to show interference from Japanese. This suggests the wide acceptance of Chinese characters in Japan.

When first introduced, texts were written in the Chinese language and would have been read as such. Over time, however, a system known as kanbun emerged, essentially using Chinese text with diacritical marks to allow Japanese speakers to read the characters in accordance with the rules of Japanese grammar.

The Japanese language itself had no written form at the time. A writing system called man'yogana (used in the ancient poetry anthology Man'yoshi) evolved that used a limited set of Chinese characters for their sound, rather than for their meaning.

Man'yogana written in cursive style became hiragana, a writing system that was accessible to women (who were denied higher education). Major works of Heian era literature by women were written in hiragana. Katakana emerged via a parallel path: monastery students simplified man'yogana to a single constituent element. Thus the two other writing systems, hiragana and katakana, referred to collectively as kana, are actually descended from kanji.

In modern Japanese, kanji are used to write parts of the language such as nouns, adjective stems and verb stems, while hiragana are used to write inflected verb and adjective endings (okurigana), particles, native Japanese words, and words where the kanji is too difficult to read or remember. Katakana is used for representing onomatopoeia and non-Japanese loanwords.

While kanji are essentially Chinese hanzi used to write Japanese words, there are now significant differences between kanji and hanzi, including the use of characters created in Japan, characters that have been given different meanings in Japanese, and post World War II simplifications of the kanji.

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Marina Cicolo Marques comentou em 4 de agosto de 2011 às 17:50. Ah, só agora né?A Jane Fonda, sabe, aquela, que aparece nua e perfeita no filme Baeehrrlla.Dbtalae: em épocas que nem se sonhava com Photoshop e silicone.Continua arrasando aos 73.
December 05, 2016



You make thigns so clear. Thanks for taking the time!
December 05, 2016



Hey, that's the grtaetse! So with ll this brain power AWHFY?
November 05, 2014



man, I appreciate your lehtngy effort to convince everyone they need to learn English. yet, seriously, simply tell the students to get on with it. Many south east asian already speak fluent English or, whether you like it or not, even invented their own version. It's not rocket science, faster to type, and it's good for their future talking to all sorts of people. What more can one expect??
November 04, 2014
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