Last modified on 18 April 2015, at 04:28



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Kanji in this term
Grade: 1

Grade: 2


Compound of (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)).[1][2]


Alternative formsEdit


音読み (hiragana おんよみ, romaji on'yomi)

  1. 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.



  • 訓読み (くんよみ, ​kun'yomi): a kanji reading based on the original Japanese word of that meaning

See alsoEdit


音読み + する (hiragana おんよみする, romaji on'yomi suru)

  1. to use the on'yomi of a word, to read a word using the pronunciation based on the original Chinese pronunciation



  1. ^ 1988, 国語大辞典(新装版) (Kokugo Dai Jiten, Revised Edition) (in Japanese), Tōkyō: Shogakukan
  2. 2.0 2.1 2006, 大辞林 (Daijirin), Third Edition (in Japanese), Tōkyō: Sanseidō, ISBN 4-385-13905-9