|Kanji in this term|
Compound of 音 (on, “sound”) + 読み (yomi, “reading”). Originally referred to the sounds (i.e. pronunciations) to use when reading Chinese text, as opposed to the meanings of these Chinese words in Japanese (called 訓読み (kun'yomi) or 訓読 (kundoku)).
- The reading of a Japanese word written in kanji that is roughly based on the pronunciation of the kanji characters in the originating Chinese dialect at the time the word was introduced into Japanese.
- As words written in kanji were brought to Japan at different times rather than all at once, each 音読み can be categorized as 呉音 (ごおん, goon), 漢音 (かんおん, kan'on), or 唐音 (とうおん, tōon), among other subcategories, depending on the originating dialect. Thus, the same kanji may be used to mean different things depending on the reading, reflecting the differences between the source Chinese dialects, such as 利益 which means "profit" when read with the 漢音 pronunciation りえき (rieki), but means "Buddhist blessing or salvation" when read with the 呉音 pronunciation りやく (riyaku).
- 音読み loosely corresponds to 漢語 (かんご, kango), with the former signifying the reading and the latter signifying the word itself.
- 漢文 (かんぶん, kanbun): Chinese writing, Chinese literature, Chinese classics.
- 漢語 (かんご, kango): A Chinese-derived word borrowed into Japanese generally before the 1300s (as opposed to more recent borrowings, usually classified as gairaigo)
- 外来語 (がいらいご, gairaigo): A foreign word borrowed into Japanese generally in the 1300s or later.
- to use the on'yomi of a word, to read a word using the pronunciation based on the original Chinese pronunciation