JBI Studios' Blog on Voice-Over, Dubbing, and Multimedia Localization.

Why Does Japanese Use Chinese Characters (Kanji)?

With the popularity of Japanese anime, manga, and pop culture, there has been a rise in Japanese language learners internationally. For these learners, one of the major difficulties in learning the Japanese language is its writing systems, three of them to be exact: katakana, hiragana, and kanji.

Having three systems can complicate things for language learners and as a localization studio, we have to make sure that the right character set is used.

For native English speakers, the phonetic systems of katakana and hiragana are relatively simple, but then there's kanji. Kanji, Chinese characters used in Japanese, has over 2,000 commonly used characters. A frustrated language learner may ask: why does Japanese, a language completely different from Chinese, use Chinese characters?

In this blog, we will discuss the historical origins of Japanese writing, an overview of the three writing systems, and arguments for and against kanji.

Topics: Translation & Localization multimedia Japanese

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