How Many Kanji Should I Learn?

Often, learners of the Japanese language wonder, how many kanji should I learn? Unless you are an academic or professor of Japanese, you probably don’t need to even learn the government recommended 1,945 joyo kanji.

The truth is that these days, when you need to write Japanese, you will be using a computer. In that case, all you need to do is recognize the correct kanji characters when you enter in the Japanese pronunciation of the words you are trying to write. If you happen to be living in Japan and need to write something without the aid of a computer, most likely you’ll have a cell phone and you will be able to look up words that way. In fact, many native Japanese do just this when they forget a kanji or are unsure of how to write it.

Realistically, if you are serious about learning Japanese, you should probably shoot for learning to recognize and read about 1,500 characters and be able to write 500 kanji from memory. For most people and situations, this should be more than enough kanji for your everyday life. On the other hand, if you are training for a specialized occupation or if you are planning on doing a lot more reading and studying than the average person, you may need to learn more kanji. In that case, you should try to learn the government recommended 1,945 joyo kanji.

I hope this has helped you. Thanks for reading and good luck with Japanese! It’s personally my favorite language.

– Robbie

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