This question came to my inbox: “What is the meaning of a Japanese image?”

I am guessing you are talking about kanji. Kanji are pictures with meaning, but not a specific pronunciation because the same ones are used in more than one country. If you begin to study Japanese Kanji, it can be logical, but it takes a long time to learn enough to read a news paper. My Japanese teacher said it would take 12 years of schooling in Japan. However, I will give you some examples of how to read some.

人です. (It is a person.) (pronounced: hito desu.)Photo by Suliman Sallehi on Pexels.com

人。This symbol looks like it has two legs at the bottom, and it is the symbol that means “person.” It can be pronounced “hito” or “jin” if you are speaking Japanese. If you are speaking Korean, it is “saram” or “een.” They are all just different pronunciations of the same symbol.

川です. (It is a river.) (pronounced: kawa desu.)Photo by Ian Turnell on Pexels.com

川 = river. If you look at it, it looks like water flowing, the Japanese pronunciation is “kawa.” The Korean pronunciation is “kang.” 本 = book or tree. If you look at it closely, it has a tree trunk and branches as well as a line at the bottom that is supposed to be a root. It is in the name of Japan: 日本, pronounced “Nippon.” Alone, the kanji for “book” is pronounced “hon” in Japanese and “check” in Korean.

口です. (It is a mouth.) (pronunciation: kuchi desu.) Photo by Public Domain Pictures on Pexels.com

口 This is the kanji for “mouth” or “door.” If you look at it, it might look like someone’s open mouth or a doorway to go through. In Japanese, this is pronounced “kuchi” or “guchi.” If you look at the word for the Japanese language, you can see this kanji as well as the kanji for the country to Japan: 日本語 (Pronounced “Nihongo.”) The first two kanji in this mean “Japan,” and the last, more complicated looking one, means “language. The first half of the last kanji is actually the kanji for “say,” and you can see the 口 at the bottom of it. The second part of that kanji has a number 5 at the top, and another 口 at the bottom. If you want to say “the English language,” write 英語 (pronounced” eigo.” ) You can see it ends in the same kanji that 日本語 (pronunciation: nihongo) does. That last kanji on both of them is pronounced “go” meaning “language. 本です。

本です. (It is a book.) (pronunciation: hon desu.)Photo by Leah Kelley on Pexels.com

I hope you see from this short explanation that the Kanji that the Japanese use make sense, but you have to study them to make them make sense to you. The Chinese use them too, but I didn’t give you any Chinese pronunciations because I don’t speak Chinese, only Japanese and Korean, but they are used in China with a different pronunciation, but the same meaning. The Koreans are using them less and less trying to simplify their lives a bit. they take a lot of study to learn. However, the Japanese aren’t giving them up any time soon.

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