Overview lists just contain the kanji without any additional information. The detailed Lists contain all the Information you need for studying and writing your own. Current jōyō kanji are those on a list of 2, characters issued in This course has English meanings only. Meanings are taken from Denshi Jisho, wiki. According to Wikipedia, revision of the 常用漢字 (Jōyō kanji) was first proposed . The jouyou kanji list is the sum of all the characters taught in.

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Three years later, there was news as recently as last month of a tentative list to be released in February of The new list is currently said to have removed 5 kanji and added new ones, bringing the new total from to characters. To tell you which kanji to learn? That makes perfect sense, right?! What kind of crap list were we using all these years? The list burned me personally when I bought my first kanji dictionary.

In my opinion, the worst problem with the list is that it fools innocent learners such as you and I into thinking we should use it somehow in our studies.

I should make up some index cards and memorize them one by one. I sure hope not! Personally, I think we would have been better off without the damn list in the first place. Out of interest, how are they planning on fitting them into the school curriculum?

Which grades get which new characters I wonder…. Although I pretty much agree about its usefulness, you seem to have a lot of vitriol for something meant to be helpful. I personally use the list to try to be thorough in kanui all the kanji.

I plug each one into my dictionary and put the joyl useful terms into a vocab list. I realize the importance of context, of course, so I try to read and listen to joho Japanese as much as possible. I could care less what they do with the jouyou kanji list. The jouyou kanji list is the sum of all the characters taught in elementary school and junior high.

I think the indignation comes from how ridiculously bad the list is and the fact that it kani us all who are learning Japanese negatively to some degree. Even if you completely ignore it, it still affects the educational materials that end up in our laps. Too smart, in my book. In the past, I learned grade 1, then grade 2, then grade 3 Jouyou kanji.

So I stopped learning from it. Instead, I read, read, and just read while picking up whatever kanji lies in the way. Some years later, as a side effect of reading, I now know a nice percentage of Jouyou kanji. Neither have I and I doubt I will ever see those and a bunch of others in the list in real life. Another reason to ignore the list. A similar frequency-based list for Japanese based on text in novels and newspapers would be super cool.

I did however read in some article that starting with this reform they will be revising kanji policies more often in reaction to the quick pace of change of kanji usage in the information age. By the way, Mizuumi wrote up a Polish translation of this post here: I find this funny, being only 2 days after your post.


Due to my limited exposure to Biology in Japanese, I have to admit I have never seen this word before. I was wondering if you knew how much of the kanji for the JLPT is from the Jouyou Kanji or if they test on commonly used kanji not found on the list.

I remember being discouraged and distracted by the jpyo list as a student of Japanese. I totally joy with you. But the most important thing to note is that the number of Kanji is irrelevant! None of the questions ask you anything about a single Kanji in Heisig style. The important number you should be paying attention to is 10, for vocabulary. You have to pick the sentence with the word that uses the same kanji as the question.

Knowing a single character is not going to get you anywhere. I think their motives are well founded. What they are doing is tinkering around the edges to make the best of a difficult situation. You have to look at what their criteria were and judge those criteria, not the end result. That there were surely political kist and committee decisions involved is part of life. So what if there are a small number of imperfections if the bulk of the work is sound?

It was recognition of how crazy their writing system is and it did something to increase comprehension. The list does serve a useful purpose for foreigners learning the language too. Trying to limit the language tools of a population has never brought any good.

Every word that is forced into obscurity just because it includes a kanji that is not on the jouyou list is a loss for the Japanese language.

If I understand correctly, only newspapers and government publications were told to try to avoid using words that use non-jouyou kanji. No one ever set any limits on novels and magazines and other publications if I recall correctly except maybe encouraging them to use furigana for hard kanji. Raichu The literacy argument is no longer valid. In the age of universal education, kanji using countries have the same levels of literacy as alphabet using countries.

They learn it based on what their textbooks and learning materials decide is liet. What I think would be much more useful is an analysis of a large collection of works and solid statistical data on the frequency of each kanji.

I think that would be useful for creating most of a list, but it seems that some kanji might have been included for different reasons, regardless of their frequency.

You can find the analysis at this site http: What Raichu says makes sense. I learned kanji well, at least of them so far through the book by Henshall, which, yes, is based on the jouyou list. I do stand in agreement with you that this is a practically useless way to learn kanji, and that many of them that I have learned through the book I have never seen in writing.

The main thing that it did benefit me in was in learning new vocabulary. Since I already knew all the readings for lost kanji, memorizing was a snap.

It also was a way to keep my memorizing skills sharp by memorizing random things I would never need to know. Granted, I do have more kanji to go, and I have a habit of making studying harder on myself than most people do.


That considered, it is of no used to J-2nd language learners. Nothing more, nothing less. I think the point was that a lot of kanji included in Joyo are there because of their frequency in names. I wonder if this lst perhaps a rationale behind its continued inclusion?

Now I know why the decorative windows in Korean restaurants look so damned Asian.

Official kanji lists – Learning Japanese Wiki (RtKWiki)

Discussion from pretty long ago. In Chinese, it is used for a lot of things. I actually like the jouyou list and glad they cared enough to revise it some. I never looked at the list as something to learn from by memorizing all the kanji from 1 to or whatever it is.

As always i have learned by kanji through reading books and the like and naturally picking them up at a pleasingly quick pace. I only ever considered the list a side aid, something i could look at to gauge my level and pick up a few new kanji here and there that seem useful. Every few months i go thru the list and check off what kanji i know. Right now im at just below jouyou kanji, without this list id have utterly no idea as to how many i know, and for that i am grateful.

Thats mostly all i use it for- gauging level and progress. And it helps a lot for the publishing companies or writers to know what to add furigana to and what to leave alone.

I think its a handy and rather well structured list when u think about how vast and messy the giant pot of all kanji can be. The point of them is not to teach the language but make sure the important parts of the language for further education are included of parts of the language that are important for cultural reasons and scientific reasons.

Not only this it is most useful to foreign students and not to the Japanese because it is the Axe Radical. Knowing Radicals can remove a lot of the difficulty of leaning kanji. Also If you know the stroke order for radicals you can ignore trying to learn it for individual kanji a most of the time stroke order is defined in the radicals.

Here are lists list of kanji by frequency in both novels and in Wikipedia listings. Vuredel I think the indignation comes from how ridiculously bad the list is and the fact that it affects us all who are learning Japanese negatively to some degree.

Kanji database 漢字データベース

A great writing, one which I agree very much. Seriously, 29 years is too long in revising the list.

They should be doing it every year. I agree completely with what you say, taekk.

Kanji lists ordered by JLPT-level, Grade or Frequency of use –

I think you do make some valid points. I guess it would be useful if you were a biologist or chemist…. Jjoyo pressed post comment by accident why I hate typing on a touch Screen on the Wikipedia search:

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