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Japanese kanji and Chinese kanji

Kanji originally came from China and were adopted in Japan between 200 BC and 200 AD. The word "kanji" itself means Chinese character. Chinese and Japanese can understand some of the meaning in viewing each others written language, even if they never studied it. Like many things that Japan adopts, however, the writing system was adapted to fit Japanese culture. Many of the Japanese kanji have simplified or changed over the years, so they can be slightly different or unrecognizable from their original Chinese versions. As the Chinese pronunciation, grammatical order, and verb tenses were different than in Japanese, the Chinese characters were given different pronunciations and other symbols were added to help modify these characters. Later other words from other countries didn't fit well with Chinese characters and were often just written phonetically. For these reasons and others, Japanese uses the Chinese characters along with two other phonetic alphabets unique to Japan. Click here to read more.

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