What’s the difference between Kanji and Hanzi?

Hanzi and kanji are the Chinese and Japanese pronunciations of the term 漢字 that is utilized in the two dialects. It alludes to the Chinese characters that the two dialects utilize in their composition frameworks. Chinese is composed altogether in hanzi, and Japanese utilizes Chinese characters.

Be that as it may, are hanzi and kanji something very similar? They’re both 漢字 and could be interpreted as “Chinese characters”, yet are the character sets the equivalent?

A large portion of the research and studies are stating that the Chinese and Japanese character sets are the equivalent more often than not. In fact, I also stand by that statement, yet I’ve been signed to compose somewhat more on the theme for some time. Note that what I’m keen on here is explicitly the two character sets of hanzi and kanji, the amount they cover and where they fluctuate. This is planned to be an exceptionally improved, summed up a review of hanzi and kanji today for the easy-going reader.

This obviously overlooks immense swathes of detail, yet it is intended to be anything but difficult to pursue. The primary concern it’s missing is any of the historical backdrops of how the current circumstance came to fruition, which is a significant fascinating arrangement of improvements. What’s beneath is, ideally, an easygoing rundown of the conspicuous contrasts among hanzi and kanji character sets in the present day.

1. They are Pronounce Differently

We should begin with a super-evident contrast among hanzi and kanji. In spite of being a similar composition framework (or if nothing else fundamentally the same as one another), hanzi and kanji serve altogether extraordinary dialects. In that capacity, the Chinese pronunciation of a hanzi is normally altogether different to the Japanese pronunciation of the equal kanji (once in a while the pronunciation might be fairly comparable, however).

This really expands more remote than Chinese and Japanese. Korean likewise utilizes Chinese characters, calling them hanja (한자), and the pronunciation is to some degree diverse once more (albeit closer to Chinese than Japanese, supposedly). Past that, China’s enormous assortment of vernaculars and language gatherings can likewise be composed utilizing hanzi, in spite of having altogether different pronunciation.

A quick example:

That character is pronunciation as chéng in Mandarin Chinese yet makoto or sei in Japanese. Note that there are different conceivable pronunciations for Japanese kanji, though most of hanzi in Chinese have just a single conceivable pronunciation. There are some Chinese hanzi with different conceivable pronunciation; however, they’re singled out as extraordinary in the classification 多音字 (duōyīnzì – numerous reading characters).

This distinction isn’t generally that important to recognizing the composition frameworks, yet it may be useful to know about this point in case you’re absolutely new to either language.

I think European dialects pronunciation of the Latin letter set makes a worthy similarity for this. Numerous words might be composed a similar route crosswise over European dialects yet pronunciation in an unexpected way. This is comparable here and there to the circumstance with hanzi/kanji/hanja in East Asia (and altogether different in different ways).

Be that as it may, the issue of hanzi and kanji being pronounced contrastingly isn’t so obvious when you return ever. Present day Mandarin Chinese is etymologically a significant on-going thing, and its pronunciation can be very unique to pronunciation to the Chinese of the past and to other Chinese dialects/vernaculars.

On the off chance that you think about that Mandarin (普通话) used to be called 官话 – “official discourse” – you can see that it created from the begin as a formalized, institutionalized language, and not even a natural one (in spite of the fact that it is obviously intensely dependent on natural Beijing Chinese). The Chinese of the past was in reality substantially more like Japanese in its elocution of hanzi/kanji.

Additionally think about that numerous Chinese dialects/vernaculars are more like Japanese in pronunciation than Mandarin is. One model that springs to mind is the hanzi transliterations of spot names.

For instance, Cambridge is called 劍橋 (Jiànqiáo) in Mandarin. The second character is connected, which bodes well for its importance, so how about we disregard it for the pronunciation. The main character doesn’t appear to bode well – it doesn’t sound fundamentally the same as the English Cam, and the signifying “sword” is by all accounts irrelevant.

In Cantonese, in any case, that hanzi is pronounced gim3, and in Japanese, the equivalent kanji is pronounced ken. These are substantially more like the English Cam, and, all the more vitally, to one another. So you can see that while Mandarin pronunciation of hanzi can be altogether different, other Chinese dialects may have held more noteworthy similitude with Japanese from the more established Chinese that the pronunciation of the two dialects depends on.

2. Other systems of Japanese besides Kanji

This is only a speedy note for anybody reading this who has no information of either language included. Chinese is composed totally in hanzi. Japanese utilizes kanji (generally like hanzi), yet in addition has two syllabaries of its own: hiragana and katakana. See here for a somewhat senseless examination of the two composition frameworks.

So while composed Chinese resembles a progression of the normal square formed characters, Japanese likewise has plenty of squiggly bits tossed in:

Chinese: 我的氣墊船滿是鱔魚。

Japanese: 私のホバークラフトは鰻でいっぱいです.

What we’re keen on here; however, are the Chinese characters utilized in the two dialects. The Chinese sentence above is written in them totally, while the Japanese sentences just use two (私 and 鰻).


3. Clearly different of hanzi and kanji

Another genuinely clear refinement. Amid the twentieth century, different cycles of the Chinese government took the risk to improve and institutionalize the Chinese character set (hanzi). This new/institutionalized character set is known as Simplified Chinese (简体字 – jiǎntǐzì) and is effectively discernable from Japanese kanji where the distinctions apply.

Most of the people never preferred the term Simplified Chinese and the manner in which it’s utilized. Right off the bat, in case you’re inexperienced with these issues, ‘Improved Chinese’ makes it seem like the real language has been disentangled somehow or another. That is not the situation by any means – just the genuine type of the characters has been changed. It would be what could be compared to making the Latin letters in order quicker to compose by streamlining the letters.

Besides, Simplified Chinese is regularly offered as a decision among different dialects. This bodes well when you need your interface or site in various dialects, as the vast majority who read Chinese are unquestionably more alright with one character set than the other. In spite of that, despite everything I despise displaying it as an alternate “language” when it’s definitely not.

Anyway, Simplified Chinese hanzi are anything but difficult to recognize from Japanese kanji. Be that as it may, just a little extent of hanzi was ever disentangled – most have been left unaltered. So you can possibly recognize streamlined hanzi and kanji when you’ve really got one of the improved hanzi.

How about we reuse our precedent from previously:

诚 versus 誠

This hanzi/kanji signifies “genuineness” and “truthfulness” in the two dialects, despite the fact that in Japanese it additionally implies things like “rebukes” and “restrict” (more on variation implications beneath).

The rendition on the left is the improved Chinese hanzi, and the adaptation on the privilege is utilized in both conventional Chinese and Japanese. The thing that matters is in the radical on the left of the character, which signifies “discourse”. It’s composed 讠 in rearranged Chinese and 言 in the other character sets.

Where hanzi have been improved, they are promptly recognizable as Chinese. Improved Chinese is utilized chiefly in Singapore, Malaysia and obviously territory China.


4.Much more Simplified Japanese Kanji

Composed Chinese isn’t the only one in having experienced improvement. Japanese kanji were additionally improved by the Japanese government after the Second World War. This new character set is called 新字体 (shinjitai). It’s diverse again to rearrange Chinese (简体字 jiǎntǐzì), in spite of having a comparable philosophy: lessen the number of strokes in certain characters and streamline parts.

Prior to these rearrangements, the composed types of Japanese kanji were identical to customary Chinese hanzi. So now we’re managing three distinctive character sets conventional hanzi (繁體字), disentangled hanzi (简体字), and improved kanji ( 新字体).

So there are obviously characters that are distinctive in each of the three sets:

鐵 – 铁 – 鉄 traditional / original – simplified Chinese – simplified Japanese

That is the hanzi/kanji for “iron”, the metal. The first is the first, customary/”unique” Chinese form, the one in the center is the streamlined Chinese hanzi, and the one on the privilege is disentangled Japanese kanji.

This is a fascinating model. The Chinese improvement modified the two sides of the character; while the Japanese rearrangements have left the radical 金 unaltered however streamlined the correct hand side.

In any case, what I think frequently loses all sense of direction in this is the point that in the two disentanglements, Chinese and Japanese, it was just ever a minority of characters that got changed. So both Chinese hanzi and Japanese kanji are still to a great extent a similar character set as the “first” customary Chinese.


5. Meanings are often depended between hanzi and kanji

The presentation of Chinese hanzi into Japan was not efficient or finished with any speed. It occurred over a significant lot of time, and one aftereffect of this is Japanese kanji regularly have a few additional implications to their Chinese hanzi partners or have distinctive implications totally. This sprung up with the 誠 precedent above. As a Japanese kanji, it has a few bigger numbers of implications than the Chinese hanzi.

Again, however, regardless of these distinctions, more often than not the implications are the equivalent or fundamentally the same as, driving me to state that hanzi and kanji are commonly a similar composition framework.

Generally, hanzi and kanji are on the whole the equivalent

I’ve recorded different contrasts among hanzi and kanji here, at the end of the day I need to accentuate that these character sets are generally the equivalent. There are different renditions and contrasts in style and so forth. However, as composing frameworks, they are obviously incredibly comparable. I figure the proportionate for spoken language would be two accents for a similar language.

How to tell the difference between Chinese and Japanese Characters


At first look, Chinese, Japanese characters might be hard to differentiate, yet there are contrasts between every one of them that can support you. Every one of the two is composed of characters that are new to Western readers, yet you don’t should be scared by this newness.

How the Japanese and Chinese composing is varying? How might you tell their disparities? To numerous Westerners, the two dialects are everything except vague on paper. This time, let us investigate the connection between composed Chinese and Japanese.

The beginning of Chinese and Japanese Writings

The Chinese composing is accepted to have its underlying foundations, thinking back to the second thousand years BC while the Japanese composition (for this situation the Kanji one had no composition framework. It essentially acquired and imported characters from China around the eighth century CE. The Kanji framework was to be later used to compose action words roots, things, and descriptive words since the improvement of the kana syllabaries.

Likewise, the Chinese composing altogether depends on hanzi while the Japanese Kanji composing depends intensely on the utilization of Chinese characters.


The primary regular parts of the two dialects are the things. A thing, as you definitely know, is a word that assigns something and could likewise be known as a “name”. Things – in Chinese, as much as in Japanese – don’t have a sexual orientation (ladylike or manly) or number (particular or plural).

For instance, the Italian words “gatto”, “gatta”, “gatte” and “gatti” (feline/s) all compare to the Chinese word 猫 (mao) and the Japanese 猫 (neko).

This normal part of Chinese and Japanese render the things in these dialects simple to utilize (in light of the fact that they don’t change), yet confused to translate (on the grounds that you completely can’t know the sexual orientation or number – you’ll have to take a gander at the expression’s unique circumstance).

Names and titles

In Chinese and Japanese, the surname precedes the primary name. Chinese names are commonly framed by 2 or most extreme 3 characters; the Japanese rather can even go up to 4 characters (really, it’s a typical practice).

In the two dialects, titles and callings must pursue the surname. In Chinese we have 王先生 (Wang xiangsheng), which signifies “Mr. Wang”; in Japanese, we have 小林先生 (Kobayashi sensei), which signifies “Teacher Kobayashi”. It is significant that the word 先生 is articulated diversely and furthermore has alternate importance!


The numeric arrangement of the two dialects works a similar way and the characters used to speak to numbers are the equivalent, despite the fact that there are phonetic contrasts.


Another regular angle between the two dialects is the utilization of classifiers. When we need to firm numeric or quantitative articulations, for example, “two books”, “three note pads”, “five pens”, you need to utilize the number pursued by a character that is customarily called a classifier.

There are several classifiers that fluctuate based on the thing that they, clearly, must order. For instance, on the off chance that we need to state “three books,” you should have the number pursued by a particular classifier for items that can be leafed-through.

Overall it must be said that a similar character does not generally order a similar sort of items, creatures or individuals. For instance, the character 匹 in Chinese is perused “pi” and is utilized as a classifier for steeds, while in Japanese you state “ippiki” or “hiki” (the elocution fluctuates on the number present) and is utilized to arrange little creatures like felines.

The second distinction – which as I would see it is all the more noteworthy – is in the standard of utilization of classifiers which is diverse for both languages.

Rule of use in Chinese:

Number + Classifier + Noun.

Here’s a precedent: 一只猫 (yi zhi mao), which signifies “one feline”.

Rule of use in Japanese:

Thing + Particle が (ga)+ Number + Classifier.

Here’s a precedent: 猫が一匹 ( neko ga ippiki), which likewise signifies “one feline”.

The basic inquiries

Chinese and Japanese have distinctive methods for framing questions. The most widely recognized (a maybe most utilized) comprises in embeddings a “molecule” toward the finish of positive expression.

In Chinese, toward the finish of a confirmed expression, you embed the character 吗 (mama ); in Japanese, you would embed the molecule か (ka.


Agreed: 你是中国人 (ni shi zhongguo ren), which signifies: “you are Chinese”

Interrogative: 你是中国人吗 (ni shi zhongguo ren mama), which signifies: “would you say you are Chinese?”


Agreed: 君は日本人です (kimi wa nihon jin desu), which signifies: “you are Japanese”

Interrogative: 君は日本人ですか (kimi wa nihon jin desu ka), which signifies: “would you say you are Japanese?”

Tones and Pitch Accents

The two works share no phonetic similitudes. This is on the grounds that the Chinese composing is tonal while the Japanese one uses a pitch complement. For instance, Mandarin Chinese has around four tones notwithstanding an unbiased one while Japanese has a pitch highlight framework, that is, with rising and falling sounds.

Phonemes in Chinese and Japanese

The Chinese composing has around 420 sound mixes. The Japanese composition, then again, has less stable blends, around 110 of them.

Vowels in Chinese and Japanese

The Chinese composition utilizes ten vowels while the Japanese composing has just five.

Consonants in Chinese and Japanese

Concerning the consonants, the Chinese composing has an aggregate of 25 while Japanese has 18.

Language structure and Syntax

The fundamental structure of sentences in the two works varies as well. For example, the word request for Chinese is dependably an SVO (subject – action word – object) while the Japanese composing pursues an SOV request, that is, subject-object – action word.

While Chinese has a “simple” and diminished sentence structure (when contrasted with English or Italian), The Japanese have a “troublesome” and rather vast language.

In Chinese action words and descriptors are not consolidated, in Japanese they are. A syntactic likeness is that the two dialects have a “topic remark” structure.

I might anyway want to make a point: to me, one language isn’t more troublesome than the others. There are simply dialects that are further off from our first language and therefore they’re progressively hard to learn.

By and by, I might want to share John Pasden’s impression: as indicated by him, if looking at the two dialects, first and foremost it is more earnestly to get familiar with the Japanese sentence structure than the Chinese; while it is more enthusiastically to an ace articulation of Chinese more than Japanese. Long haul, the trouble tends to “flip failure”.

Chinese versus Japanese Writings

Characteristic Hanzi Kanji
Origin 2nd Millennium BC 18th Century CE
Tone and Spitch The writing is tonal The writing uses pitch accent with rising and falling intonations
Phonemes Has 420 sound combinations Has 110 sound combinations
Vowels Has 10 vowels Has 5 vowels
Consonants Has 21 consonants Has 18 consonants


As you’ve most likely seen, the entire issue of the contrasts among hanzi and kanji is quite confused and can’t be abridged without a reasonable piece of clarification. Disregarding that unpredictability, I’ve attempted to enormously decrease the issues included and make a stream-lined succession of occasions for the uniqueness of hanzi and kanji. This isn’t at all unwavering to order; it’s simply expected to be an unpleasant rundown of all the applicable occasions:

Hanzi create in China. Kanji doesn’t exist yet.  Hanzi is presented in Japan as Chinese composition.  Japanese individuals receive hanzi to compose their own language: kanji.  Japanese individuals add to and adjust the implications of some kanji. Japanese individuals imagine some kanji of their own. Japanese individuals produce new contents inexactly dependent on kanji. Separately, the Chinese government rearranges hanzi and Japanese government disentangles kanji.

Much like different dialects, Chinese and Japanese have definitely a larger number of contrasts than likenesses. Despite the fact that the Japanese, for the most part, utilize Chinese kanji to depict normal words, they can be articulated distinctively and utilized contrastingly in sentences. All things considered, it is far more straightforward to recognize the two dialects dependent on their disparities.

At first or for a student, the Chinese and Japanese works may seem comparable. The characters, thusly, will demonstrate hard to recognize or differentiate. Nonetheless, as examined above, there are remarkable contrasts dependent on the shifted qualities related to each. Aside from the way that the Japanese composition framework, Kanji obtained quite a bit of its characters from Chinese, they are exclusively standing dialects spoken by two separate gatherings of individuals