What are Onyomi and Kunyomi?

Kanji (Chinese characters) have two different readings – the onyomi and the kunyomi. The onyomi is closer to the original Chinese language and is mostly used for nouns. One Kanji can have more than one onyomi.

The kunyomi reading is used to show the traditional Japanese pronunciation. It is most frequently used when kanji appear in adjectives or verbs.

Kanji can have multiple onyomu or kunyomi readings, and sometimes they might only have onyomi or kunyomi readings.

The Japanese government selected 1945 kanji to be used for official publications. These so called “toyo kanji” which are also used for the Japanese Language Proficiency Test (JLPT) have around 4000 readings.


  1. Hi ,im a Japanese teacher .I just want to inquire where can i buy kanji video of diferent strokes.
    Thank you very much .

  2. I love this.. site.. I’m learning a lot of things!
    Thnks so much!

  3. kore iine, itsumo konyomi to onyomi no imi kinishishiteru. arigatou gozaimasu!

  4. ahmm.. little bit of confuse yah.. i was searching for the purpose of kunyomi and onyomi. the other site said, onyomi is used for A kanji reading without hiraganA char. and the kunyomi is used for a kanji reading with hiragana char. ahmm.. and on this site u said, kunyomi is for verbs and adjectives while onyomi is for noun… xD im confused!

    • Hello,
      There is a simple explanation for this. Nouns often are written with kanji only, so that onyomi are often used. Verbs and adjectives usually are a combination of kanji and hiragana, so that most often kunyomi apply.

      I hope that this will reduce your confusion.

  5. How can we get those 1945 basic Kanji words list?


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