|A student colours in|
the Jōyō Kanji
|Photo credit: Claude Estèbe|
|Used under a Creative Commons licence.|
The Jōyō Kanji (常用漢字) are a list of Chinese characters, including their form, reading and stroke order, approved by the Japanese government, first published on 1 October 1981, replacing the Tōyō Kanji (see What is the difference between Tōyō Kanji and Jōyō Kanji?). There is no legal requirement upon Japanese people to use only these characters and their approved readings. They are simply promoted as the set of kanji which are most likely to be understood by all.
Originally there were 1945 Jōyō Kanji, but due to changes to the list in 2010, there are now 2136. Another list, the Jinmeiyō Kanji, lists extra characters which may be used in naming. See What are the Jinmeiyō Kanji? The Jōyō Kanji list also specifies the readings and the shape of the characters.
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