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The Most Basic Kanji



Even the most basic kanji have pitfalls that you have to watch out for. Take for, example, the simplest kanji of them all: . You might think that you have this one mastered. Its two most common readings are ICHI and hito:


  • 一月                  いちがつ   January
  • 一年                いちねん        one year
  • 一つ一つ          ひとつひとつ   one-by-one


This kanji has another, less frequently used on reading ITSU. You are most likely to come across ITSU in the following word:


·         唯一の  ゆいいつ の    sole; only


You of course see the pitfall here: if you see the above word, your first impulse is to think: on reading = ICHI, and pronounce it  as yuiichi no. But this won’t make sense to your listener. (The good news is that you won’t have to worry about the ITSU on reading very often.)