Should I learn Kanji?

mechakawaii

mechakawaii

Hello! I was wondering if i really need to learn how to read and write Kanji. I already know the Hiragana and Katakana, but should i learn Kanji as well? I plan on going to Japan after I graduate High School for part of my gap year (3-6 months) before heading off to university. I want to stay in Japan to help with my Japanese, and as well as being inspired for my Art works with the Japanese culture. But, I really just want to get the conversational language so I will be able to converse with locals, make friends, get around safely, you know, the social encounters. I am just looking for opinions of you all. Any suggestions? Onegai :)
K73SK

K73SK

It depends on whether you want to read or not, lol. Katakana is only good for the words that are foreign, such as elevator. The hiragana is mixed in with conversations in japanese, but the Kanji helps depict the differences in words. Some words in Japanese sentences may look as if they fit together. The kanji makes sure the reader doesn't get mixed up...Do you understand what I'm saying? It might sound kind of confusing. Obviously, Sayaka will answer your question more clearly. :)
Sayaka-Matsuura

Sayaka-Matsuura

Konnichiwa mechakawaii-san, Excellent question! and a very important one. My opinion is... YES!! You should know some basic Kanji if you want to get the best of your experience in Japan. The moment you arrive in Japan, you will notice that many of the frequently used signs such as "exit" 出口 and "entrance" 入口 are written in Kanji. Toilet signs for "women" 女 and "men" 男 are also mostly in Kanji (though you could get away with not knowing this one since they are often accompanied by illustrations). Most Japanese text is not written in Hiragana and Katakana alone. Those two writing systems are mixed with Kanji. If you want to be able to read anything other than the first graders books - you need to tackle Kanji. Of course, you could get by not knowing Kanji and travel around conversing with Japanese people - however, knowing some Kanji may help you get around smaller cities and country-sides where road-signs are often ONLY in JAPANESE (which means Kanji as well). - Sayaka :P

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