How many characters (letters) do I have to learn in Japanese?


For example, you need to learn 52 letters in English:

  • 26 capital letters
  • 26 lowercase letters

Whereas you need to learn the following letters in Japanese:

  • 46 basic Hiragana characters plus about 40 additional ones
  • 46 basic Katakana characters plus about 40 additional ones
  • 1006 primary level Kanji characters plus about 1130 secondary level Kanji characters

Actually, people don’t know how many Kanji characters exist.

The most famous Kanji dictionary in Japan has about 50,000 Kanji characters.

On the other hand, some people say there are over 180,000 Kanji characters.


It is impossible to learn all of them!

It is said that you are fine to read books, magazines and newspaper in Japan if you know the 2136 Kanji characters.

If you are Japanese beginners, it is recommended that you learn basic 200 Kanji characters to start with.