Meaning – The term kanji, refers to the Japanese ideographic alphabet. In kanji, each character is represented by 2 bytes. It is one of the three forms of Japanese writing. A kanji is an ideogram: that is, a type of simple picture. These are made to show a word’s meaning. It is a symbol of an idea such as an object, thing, or quality.

Kanji ideograms (or “characters”) were taken from Chinese characters, and many changed over time. The word “kanji” means “Han characters” (i.e. “Chinese characters”).

There are two other systems used to write in Japanese. These systems are called hiragana and katakana (together they are called “kana”). They show how a word is pronounced because each character stands for a syllable (a, ka, sa, ta, etc.). Each kanji could also be written in kana, indeed they are in children’s books or books for foreigners learning Japanese.

Example of usage“Kanji is often combined with hiragana to show the grammatical meaning of the word. In English, this would be done with endings.”