Top 6 most difficult Japanese words to read

Matome Culture & Lifestyle
Wednesday, February 08, 2017 at 10:17

There are many kanji words in Japan that are too difficult to read.

kangaroo
kangaroo
Source: naver
Back in the history, Japanese people have been so willing to import many cultures or products from foreign countries.
From very early time, Japan has kept importing cultures from China. China was such a developed neighbor at that time. They enlightened Japan about Buddhism, Mirrors and so on.
But among all, kanji culture was a best gift for Japan. By adopting kanji, Japanese people developed great poems and books. And they started to express everything using kanji even if the meaning of kanji itself is not related to the meaning of the word.
But soon, Japanese invented Hiragana and Katakana. Hiragana and katakana was invented based on characters written in running style.
Afterward people started to use Hiragana and katakana to express anything that are hard to express with kanji.

Japanese people started to use katakana to express something came from foreign countries.
For example, we write as カンガルー (kangaroo) now. But actually there is a kanji expression 更格廬 which also means kangaroo.

In this article I would like to introduce some of these difficult Japanese words to read.

No.6 子守熊 / koara / Koala

koala
koala
子守熊 (Komoriguma) means "Protecting child bear".
In Japan, Komoriguma is also a correct way to mention about Koala.

No.5 鞦韆 / burannko / Swing seat

鞦韆 / Swing seat
鞦韆 / Swing seat
鞦韆 means swing seat. Both「鞦」and「韆」have the same meaning swing seat.
鞦韆 use to be Chinese lady in waiting at palace.
They play with 鞦韆 so as to show underwear to the king sitting in front of them.
If they are lucky they have chance to be the king's mistress.

No.4 混凝土 / konkuri-to /concrete

混凝土 / Concrete
混凝土 / Concrete
混凝土 reads concrete.
concrete is generally called "コンクリート" (concrete: konkuri-to) in Japanese.
混(Kon)凝(koru)土(to) is pronunciation based phonetic equivalent.

No.3 紅鶴 / Furamingo / Flamingo

紅鶴 / flamingo
紅鶴 / flamingo
紅鶴 reads flamingo.
紅 means red. 鶴 means crane.
As you probably understood, 紅鶴 is just a description of its looks.

No.2 獅子女 / Sufinnkusu / Sphinx

獅子女 / sphinx
獅子女 / sphinx
獅子女 reads sphinx.
獅子 means lion. 女 means woman.
Souseki Natume (夏目漱石) invented to read 獅子女 as sphinx.

No.1 閄 / monokage kara kyuuni tobidashite hito wo odorokaseru tokini hassuru koe / Voice to surprise someone with leaping out from hiding

閄 / monokage kara kyuuni tobidashite hito wo odorokaseru tokini hassuru koe
閄 / monokage kara kyuuni tobidashite hito wo odorokaseru tokini hassuru koe
Okay I know that you are confused now.
This kanji "閄" reads "monokage kara kyuuni tobidashite hito wo odorokaseru tokini hassuru koe " with this one kanji.

It is super long reading.
When you just write 閄, you can express the meaning of "Voice to surprise someone with leaping out from hiding".

But as a matter of course, nobody use this kanji now.

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