Kanji (characters, in Japanese)

I am learning Japanese grammar again and it is mind-boggling.

Question for Japanese learner:
@Andrey mentioned Kanji was an issue in mastering his Japanese skill.
@bananatto Do you think it is faster for Chinese to learn Japanese especially the Kanji? How difficult it is for Japanese to learn Chinese?

I am currently using http://www.guidetojapanese.org/learn/ to learn Japanese.
Please let me know if anyone of you have better recommendation.

Is anyone interested, perhaps we can practice together?


Learning Japanese assumes you already know how to read & type hiragana, katakana. Most Kanji characters have the same meaning in Chinese. It’s terms like ですね or ます that must be understood. But general meanings like さよなら or こにちわ is quite easy to remember.


Yes, Hiragana and Katakana are the basics.

I know how to read and write Hiragana, but not so well-versed in Katakana.

The い(Hiragana) and ソ or ン(Katakana) is very close to each other, and it’s confusing. I skipped Katakana and proceed to grammar and vocabulary.

(The latter two are: Good bye and Good afternoon. But I am not sure about Sodesune-“Yes, it is”? And what is Masu?)


desune & masu are found in the endings of most Japanese verbs. It’s similar to English where you add “ed” or “s” or “ing” to a verb I think. In Chinese it’s 吧 or 吗 or 里.

Are you watching anime or listening to J-Pop?

Ok, I noted.

Not at the moment. I used to listen to Japanese songs and watched Japanese drama around 2000.

I still remember in Beach Boy TV drama, the actor merely say: Minna genki?
It shocked me for the first time because it was informal Japanese.

Yes, most. Sometimes Google and Bing return the result in both languages.

切手 is an example which has different meaning in each of the language.

BTW, shenzhixian, do you mind me asking: Are your parents from the Greater China?

Don’t know this. I am not familiar with formal or informal Japanese.

忘れない forget (I think)
夢を dream

My parents are from Hong Kong.

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I’m learning Chinese pinyin right now by using CDs and textbooks and am struggling.

It’s hard to diffenciate “zi” from “ji” or “xi” from “si”
and things like that.

Also I’m struggling to tell the difference between second tone and third tone.

I don’t think I can proceed to learning Chinese characters so soon, but one question is that does every Chinese character has only one pronunciation?

Btw, です and ます in Japanese are used in formal-but-not-so-formal situations. If the sentence is present, use “です”“ます” at the end of the sentence, if past, “でした”“ました”


Sodesune have more than one meaning.
Sometimes it means “yes, it is”, other times it means “I agree with you.” Still other times it means “Well…” when you start talking.

These are all I can think of right now but maybe there’s more? Sodesune is versatile.

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I’m learning Japanese as well :grin: For grammar, the best guide I have found so far is tae kim’s. There is an app for it. I use this in combination with the “beginning Japanese” textbook from Tuttle (and the workbook that comes with it) and a large book with all the officially taught kanji in japan. I also recently started some private lessons.

I was able to take a semester of Japanese in college though so I started with a pretty solid foundation.

Also I have a Chinese friend who took Japanese as well, she said it was much easier for her to learn. There were many Chinese people in my class because they had to take a language requirement and Japanese was pretty easy for them.


A few characters have 2 pronunciations such as 行 which can be pronounced “xing” or “hang”. Another character is 没 which can be pronounced “mei” or “mo”.

The 4 tones are probably the most difficult part to master even for me. It’s not like Cantonese where there are 7 tones.

@bananatto It’s girls that usually say “もしもし” yes/no?

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I agree that most Chinese & Japanese nationals will be able to understand the meaning of kanji/hanzi characters. Though sentence structure and pronunciation is different.

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Yes, even someone (from your country) who managed to master Chinese may make mistake, like 失 (shi in Chinese) he pronounced as (shi-tsu) in his mother tongue – The Japanese shi and Chinese shi sounds different!
I can understand why the tone difference zi / ji and xi / si as it is with shi (Jpn) and shi (Chn).
As a regular Chinese speaker, for every 1 in 100 times, I mistaken si for xi (or xi for si) and also zi for ji (or ji for zi).

Shenzhixian has just explained it. He is right.
Normally different pronunciation suggest that it has different meaning.

Second tone is slightly higher than third tone. I think practices make perfect.
I know how to speak and write, but don’t know how to teach. :smile:

The Tae Kim’s learn Japanese lesson teaches “Un” as Yes and “Uh-un” as No, may I ask why is it so? Is it not “hai” and “iie”?

I think I have learned desu (deshita) and masu (mashita) before, but I forgot about them.


No sure if girls/women use もしもし more often, one interesting thing I’ve heard before is that some men say もし not もしもし because they think they don’t need to say もし twice, lol but I think they’re too argumentative.

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:nerd_face: :nerd_face: :nerd_face:


@bananatto I was just curious because I was watching a movie starring 中島美嘉 called なな and one girl said もしもし so I thought hmm… a good-bye term that women use. I think it would be weird for a man to say もしもし maybe like さよなら instead.

Yes =

No =


One more thing, some words in Japanese pronounced exactly like Hokkien-dialect (Denwa (Telephone) for example), and may be Cantonese-dialect (Hai (Yes) for example) as well.

Ah…thank you.

Do you think Business Japanese is even more difficult to learn?


Yeah one thing I think is fun to do is bring up kanji characters to my Chinese friends and ask what the meaning/reading is in Chinese. So far none I have learned had the exact same reading as they would in Chinese, though some are similar. Most of them meant the same thing in Japanese and Chinese. Then were some characters that were unique to Japanese and they didn’t know what they were.

I know like 3-400 kanji maybe? Which is ok but like nothing compared to what I need to know to be able to fluently read Japanese. Sigh. Also my vocab is still limited so often I recognize kanji but have no idea what word I’m reading lol. And like you have to know the word to know the reading of the kanji a lot of the time. I still have a ways to go :sweat_smile:

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Show some love for japanese language…!!! Just saying…!!! Konichiwa guys its afternoon here in nepal…!!!


Never heard that もしもし being used as good-bye. Maybe young people/kids?

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