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Is it easier to learn Chinese after learning Japanese or vice versa?

I'm learning Japanese, and I'm going to learn all of the jouyou kanji, which is about 2000 characters. Of course, over time I'll learn many words made from them as compounds.

What I'm wondering about is how much overlap there is?

Once I reach a certain level of ability and can read Japanese very well, will I also be able to read Chinese at least a little?

I know I'll at the very least be able to pick out words here and there, but just how much? Are very many hanzi used the same way as their corresponding kanji? Are many compounds common to both languages?


  • 1
    It's hard to say. I don't have a statistic data on how many characters overlap in the two languages. In my opinion, two many characters are used in both languages, however, some characters have different shapes or meanings. Japanese mantains more classic meanings for characteters. You could look at my previous post chinese.stackexchange.com/questions/167/…
    – Huang
    Jul 30, 2012 at 7:53
  • Aerovistae, I closed your question because it looks like a duplicate of the question above your post. If you feel something is different, write a comment. If what you're going to write is too long, please consider writing a question on our Chinese Language Meta.
    – Alenanno
    Jul 31, 2012 at 11:14

1 Answer 1


Personally I found learning Chinese after Japanese a very positive experience. Indeed having a good knowledge of Kanji made a big difference and eased the learning of Hanzi. At first it took me a while to get used to simplified characters. Knowing radicals has helped me a great deal. Also I tend to use a lot of technology that was not available when I was learning Japanese. Particularly for reading a writing Chinese.

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