I noted that the simplified Chinese character for "doctor/medicine" 医 has the same aspect of the Japanese kanji for "doctor/medicine". So, in this case, the Japanese kanji and the simplified Chinese character are the same. Instead, the traditional Chinese character seems more different: 醫

It seems also that the simplified Chinese character for "turtle" 龟 is very similar to the corresponding Japanese kanji 亀 (the kanji seems to just have one more smaller rectangle piece in the upper part). Instead, the traditional Chinese character is much more different: 龜

So, I wonder: is this a common pattern? i.e. Are simplified Chinese characters more similar to Japanese kanji than traditional Chinese characters?

(I've read somewhere that the traditional Chinese characters are more similar to Japanese kanji, but at least in these two cases, it doesn't seem the case.)

2 Answers 2


It's true to state that "traditional chinese characters are more similar to Japanese Kanji than simplified chinese."

In more example, you are going to find Japanese Kanji and traditional chinese characters are identical due to the fact that Japanese adopted Chinese Characters much earlier. Chinese character simplification only started in 1956 (quite recent in comparison).

Japanese has also gone through a simplification process called "Shinjitai." And during the Japanese simplification, some characters went from identical to Traditional Chinese to identical to simplified Chinese. For example, 體 →体(tai). Please refer to this page for more example, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shinjitai. So only after this, some Kanji resemble the simplified Chinese characters.

  • Are the Shinjtai kanji used today in Japan (just like simplified Chinese characters are used in China)? Or do Japanese people prefer the "classical" non-simplified kanji?
    – Mr.C64
    Mar 14, 2014 at 22:39
  • Shinjitai are used the same way simplified characters are
    – HAL
    Mar 21, 2014 at 20:02

While most Kanji maintain the same meaning from their Chinese Hanzi counterparts, some Kanji have been given different meanings after the post-world war 2 simplification of Kanji

More here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kanji#Local_developments_and_divergences_from_Chinese


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