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I love this post, and not because it shows not merely the complexity of some kanji. Rather, the use of repetition is a characteristic of Japanese that I love. It is not just true in kanji, but in its onomatopoeia. There are so many examples of this. These are extreme ones, which highlight the practice. One thing that is particularly common is that multiples of the same kanji not only “add” to its meaning, but in an extreme case, can even “subtract” from it.

The case of the “dragon” 龍 is particularly poignant. Three dragons together – 龘 – means a “moving dragon,” but four dragons together – 𪚥
– means “many words, verbose.” The character doesn’t even have a ASCII code, so it can’t be typed. The meaning, though, can be considered humorous.

I really love this aspect of Japanese, where repetition and wordplay coexists.


most difficult kanji topThe kanji with the most strokes – you may run out of ink before you finish writing some of these.

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I love this! There are many kanji I love, including some of these in this short list of ten. One of my favorites is simple, 木 (ki), or tree. It looks much like a tree does. It is also a root in many words, which is something that reveals much about how Chinese and Japanese view words and concepts. Adding trees together, as in 林 and 森, creates the words, loosely translated, into forest and woods. And when these three characters are combined with other characters, as in 木村, 竹林, or 森島, the resulting surnames reflect the family origins of a person: Kimura is tree-town (possibly living by the biggest tree in the village), Takebayashi is bamboo-forest (probably in their backyard), and Morishima is woods-island (one can imagine the lush woods on the island). The tree character is one of the most common kanji found in Japanese writing. For a hiker, camper, and nature-lover like me, it is a joy to find trees throughout the Japanese language!


Proves that we have a soft spot for flowers, wind, and little wavy boats.

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