Which kanji were created in Japan?

The kanji were invented by the Chinese and then introduced to Japan, but some of the kanji characters were created by the Japanese themselves. These "made in Japan" kanji are known in Japan as kokuji (国字), literally "national characters". For example, the kanji for the word hataraku, "to work", was made in Japan using the ninben radical, which means "person", together with the kanji , meaning "to move", thus "moving person" indicates "work".

Because these kanji were invented in Japan, they often have only a native Japanese reading, kun-yomi, and no Chinese-derived reading or on'yomi (see Why do have several different pronunciations?). For example the kanji , used to write komu meaning "to be crowded" or "to go in", is a Japanese creation, and it has no on'yomi. The character [tōge meaning "mountain pass"] is also a Japanese invention. However, some of these Japanese-made characters, such as hataraku, were re-absorbed back into Chinese and thus gained an on'yomi.

For a list of kokuji, see A list of (国字).

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