04 July 2010

The Beauty of Japanese Kanji

Japanese kanji is the writing which Japan adopted from China and is now part of their modern writing system alongside hiragana and katakana. In China, there are more than 50,000 kanji characters, however, in Japan there are bewteen 2000 and 3000 characters - generally the basic 2000 characters are required to read the newspaper.

Interest in kanji has increased with the popularity of all things Japanese - it's culture, language and people hold a fascination for many people. Japanese calligraphy is a popular pasttime in Japan and its popularity has spread beyond Japan's shores. The use of kanji for tattoos for Westerners became increasingly popular in the 1980s and 1990s, to the point where they have become quite common. 

The kanji symbols for words such as love, peace, friendship, strength and courage can be recognised by people who have never studied Japanese writing.

This week on Japanese Inspirations we are celebrating the beauty of Japanese kanji. 

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