Chinese Writing vs Japanese Writing: Difference and Comparison

Learning another language is learning different words for the same things and another way to think about things. This is a quote by a famous American journalist Flora Lewis.

Learning new things is necessary in today’s world since it changes and upgrades so fast. Chinese Writing and Japanese Writing are one of the most complicated writing systems to be studied, but as Flora said, it’s about learning about things.

An individual might struggle to differentiate between these pieces of writing as not only the way of how they are inscribed looks the same, but once a person gets ahold of any of the two, they will see the difference clearly.

Not only the meaning of the words are different, but the grammar, vowels, and other means of writing that complete the writing is also different as well.

Key Takeaways

  1. Chinese writing uses characters representing ideas, while Japanese paper uses characters and syllabic scripts.
  2. Japanese writing has two syllabic scripts, hiragana and katakana, representing phonetic sounds.
  3. Chinese characters are more complex than Japanese characters and require more writing strokes.

Chinese Writing vs Japanese Writing 

Chinese writing is based on logographic characters, with each character representing a single word or concept using traditional characters. Japanese writing uses a combination of logographic characters (kanji), phonetic syllabaries (hiragana and katakana), and Roman letters (romaji).

Chinese Writing vs Japanese Writing

Chinese Writing is a logosyllabic writing system. The writing uses Chinese Characters, known as Hanzi, to inscribe.

It is one of the oldest writing languages, the first examples being dated to 1192 BC. During the 20th century, Chinese Writing was divided into two forms: Traditional Chinese and Simplified Chinese.

Japanese Writing comprises mostly three different types of scripts: Kanji, Hiragana, and Katakana. The language is one of the most complicated writing today since it uses not one but three scripts, and in that Kanji, script consists of a large number of characters.

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Both Hiragana and Katakana have 46 characters each.

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonChinese WritingJapanese Writing
SystemsChinese characters- HanziKanji, Hiragana and Katakana
Language family Sino-Tibetan Japonic or the Japanese-Ryukyuan
Consonants Twenty-five Eighteen
 Vowels  Ten vowelsFive vowels
Way of writing It starts from the right side then go to the left side.It starts from the right side then go downward.

What is Chinese Writing?

Chinese Writing is one of the earliest forms of writing. It is one of the earliest languages to be founded that is used to date, though now new modifications have been added.

The letters of the language are based on images. The writing entirely consists of Hanzi, which has come up from images.

As stated earlier, Chinese Writing is divided into two forms: Traditional Chinese, which is still used in an active form as a language in countries like Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan. The other form, Simplified Chinese Writing, is used in countries like Malaysia, Singapore, and mainland China.

Now, the new modern way of Chinese Writing is used, which is called Mandarin.

There are other types of Chinese as well, like Cantonese and Hokkien, and though they are not that popular, they can be and are still used. The set of Chinese characters consists of thousands of words, and even though it is a group of characters, it only has five vowels.

chinese writing

What is Japanese Writing?

Japanese Writing is a system of writing that uses Kanji, Hiragana, and Kana. All these forms are logograms, meaning signs that represent characters.

Hiragana is a set of syllabary characters. Katakana is an angular script that has been derived from the Kana writing system.

The main writing system has been inspired by Chinese Writing.

Japanese Writing may look the same as Chinese, but the words are pronounced differently. Between the three systems that the language uses to write, Hiranaga is supposed to be the easiest of the three.

And the set Katakana is used for new and foreign words.

Kanji is the set of characters that Japanese Writing has borrowed from Chinese Writing. The way of writing Japanese characters in writing is to start from the right side of the page and then go down.

Also Read:  Angle Conversion Calculator

The letters are wider and have space between them in comparison to Chinese Writing.

japanese writing

Main Differences Between Chinese Writing and Japanese Writing 

  1. Chinese Writing has ten vowels in its language, while Japanese Writing has only five in comparison.
  2. Hiragana is the set of syllabary characters that are used in Japanese Writing. One can identify the piece of writing if one finds hiragana in it since they are wider than in comparison to Chinese Writing.
  3. Words in Chinese Writing can end on any letter of the language, like English. And on the comparison, Words in Japanese Writing can only end with the letter ‘n’ or any vowel.
  4. Japanese Writing has more number of systems within the language that it uses. Three to be precise: Hiragana, Katakana & Kanji. While Chinese Writing has only one system of language that it follows, and that is Chinese characters itself.
  5. The words in Chinese Writing are short, while Japanese Writing is multisyllabic. These are those types of words that have more than have three syllables in a single word.
Difference Between Chinese Writing and Japanese Writing
References
  1. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0166223684801988

Last Updated : 20 June, 2023

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24 thoughts on “Chinese Writing vs Japanese Writing: Difference and Comparison”

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    Reply
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