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A glossary of Japanese linguistic terms used in the body of this dictionary. see also Appendix:Glossary for terms not specific to Japanese.

Table of Contents: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


  • Ateji (当て字) – use of kanji for phonetic value (sound) rather than semantic value (meaning), such as 寿司 (すし, sushi, sushi). Opposite of jukujikun.


  • Commonly used kanji – English translation of Jōyō kanji.


  • Grade n kanji – one of the grade divisions of the kyōiku kanji (educational kanji).


  • Hyōgaiji (表外字) – kanji outside the jinmeiyō kanji; written in kyūjitai (traditional characters).


  • Jinmeiyō kanji (人名用漢字) – kanji used for names per official list, supplement to jōyō kanji. May mean either just the jinmeiyō kanji, or jōyō kanji and jinmeiyō kanji, meaning “all kanji on official lists”. Opposite of hyōgaiji.
  • Jōyō kanji (常用漢字) – commonly used kanji, per official list.
  • Jukujikun (熟字訓) – kanji used for meaning, not sound, as in 今日 (きょう, kyō, today). Also known as 義訓 (ぎくん, gikun). Opposite of ateji.


  • Kun'yomi (訓読み) – The native Japanese reading (yomi) of a kanji character based on the original ancient Japanese word of that meaning.
  • Kyōiku kanji (教育漢字) – Elementary school kanji; literally, “educational kanji”. The elementary level of the jōyō kanji, divided into 6 grades.
  • Kyūjitai (旧字体) – Japanese traditional characters; literally “old character forms”. Opposite to shinjitai. Virtually identical to Chinese traditional characters, with occasional differences. Used for hyōgaiji and in pre-shinjitai texts.



  • Rendaku (連濁) – voicing of an unvoiced initial consonant in a non-initial component of a word.
  • Renjō (連声) - sandhi, a kind of sound fusion between morphemes, such as the way English a turns into an when followed by a vowel.


  • Shinjitai (新字体) – Japanese simplified characters; literally “new character forms”. Opposite to kyūjitai. Used for all regulated kanji, meaning jinmeiyō kanji, including jōyō kanji.


  • Uncommon kanji – English translation of Hyōgaiji.