The jōyō kanji (常用漢字, literally "regular-use Chinese characters") is the guide to kanji characters and their readings, announced officially by the Japanese Ministry of Education. Current jōyō kanji are those on a list of 2,136 characters issued in 2010. It is a slightly modified version of the tōyō kanji, which was the initial list of secondary school-level kanji standardized after World War II. The list is not a comprehensive list of all characters and readings in regular use; rather, it is intended as a literacy baseline for those who have completed compulsory education, as well as a list of permitted characters and readings for use in official government documents. Due to the requirement that official government documents make use of only jōyō kanji and their readings, several rare characters are also included by dint of being a part of the Constitution of Japan, which was being written at the same time the original 1850-character tōyō kanji list was compiled.
The 2,136 kanji in the jōyō kanji consist of:
- 1,006 kanji taught in primary school (the kyōiku kanji)
- 1,130 additional kanji taught in secondary school
Foreign learners of Japanese also often focus their kanji studies on the jōyō kanji list.
Changes from the tōyō kanji
The 95 additional characters are as follows:
- 猿 凹 渦 靴 稼 拐 涯 垣 殻 潟 喝 褐 缶 頑 挟 矯 襟 隅 渓 蛍 嫌 洪 溝 昆 崎 皿 桟 傘 肢 遮 蛇 酌 汁 塾 尚 宵 縄 壌 唇 甚 据 杉 斉 逝 仙 栓 挿 曹 槽 藻 駄 濯 棚 挑 眺 釣 塚 漬 亭 偵 泥 搭 棟 洞 凸 屯 把 覇 漠 肌 鉢 披 扉 猫 頻 瓶 雰 塀 泡 俸 褒 朴 僕 堀 磨 抹 岬 妄 厄 癒 悠 羅 竜 戻 枠
- 1923: Ministry of Education specified 1,962 kanji and 154 simplified characters.
- 1931: The former jōyō kanji was revised and 1,858 characters were specified.
- 1942: 1,134 characters as standard jōyō kanji and 1,320 characters as sub-jōyō kanji were specified.
- 1946: The 1,850 characters of tōyō kanji were adopted by law "as those most essential for common use and everyday communication". This list included 881 'basic requirement' kanji for elementary school.
- 1981: The 1,945 characters of jōyō kanji were adopted, replacing the list of tōyō kanji.
- 2010: The list was revised on 30 November to include an additional 196 characters and remove 5 characters (勺, 銑, 脹, 錘, and 匁), for a total of 2,136. The amendment also made changes to the readings of kanji present in the previous jōyō kanji list. Twenty-eight kanji gained new readings, three kanji lost obscure readings and the kun'yomi of 側 was changed from kawa (かわ) to gawa (がわ). The 196 additional characters are:
- 媛 怨 鬱 唄 淫 咽 茨 彙 椅 萎 畏 嵐 宛 顎 曖 挨 韓 鎌 葛 骸 蓋 崖 諧 潰 瓦 牙 苛 俺 臆 岡 旺 艶 稽 憬 詣 熊 窟 串 惧 錦 僅 巾 嗅 臼 畿 亀 伎 玩 挫 沙 痕 頃 駒 傲 乞 喉 梗 虎 股 舷 鍵 拳 桁 隙 呪 腫 嫉 𠮟(叱) 鹿 餌 摯 恣 斬 拶 刹 柵 埼 塞 采 戚 脊 醒 凄 裾 須 腎 芯 尻 拭 憧 蹴 羞 袖 汰 遜 捉 踪 痩 曽 爽 遡 狙 膳 箋 詮 腺 煎 羨 鶴 爪 椎 捗 嘲 貼 酎 緻 綻 旦 誰 戴 堆 唾 鍋 謎 梨 奈 那 丼 貪 頓 栃 瞳 藤 賭 妬 塡(填) 溺 諦 阜 訃 肘 膝 眉 斑 阪 汎 氾 箸 剝(剥) 罵 捻 虹 匂 喩 闇 弥 冶 麺 冥 蜜 枕 昧 勃 頰(頬) 貌 蜂 蔑 璧 餅 蔽 脇 麓 籠 弄 呂 瑠 瞭 侶 慄 璃 藍 辣 拉 沃 瘍 妖 湧 柿 哺 楷 睦 釜 錮 賂 毀 勾
- Characters in bold are used in the names of prefectures. Characters followed by an alternate in (parentheses) indicate a difference between the official version of the character and the version used in JIS X 0208 (the JIS version is in parentheses).
The Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Ministry instructed teachers to start teaching the new characters in fiscal 2012, so that junior high school students would be able to read them and high school students would be able to write them. High schools and universities started using the characters in their entrance exams since the 2015 academic year.
- List of jōyō kanji
- Kyōiku kanji (List of kanji by school year)
- Jinmeiyō kanji
- Learning kanji
- Kanji radicals
- Japanese script reform
- A Guide to Reading & Writing Japanese, Charles E. Tuttle Co., 1961 Edition
- "In 1981 the jōyō kanji list superseded the old tōyō kanji list — the list of Chinese characters which was announced in November 1946 and designated for daily use." -Japan Times editorial, "Revising the list of kanji", Nov. 16, 2008, retrieved 27 May 2009.
- "改定常用漢字表、30日に内閣告示 閣議で正式決定" [The amended list of jōyō kanji receives cabinet notice on 30th: to be officially confirmed in cabinet meeting.] (in Japanese). Nihon Keizai Shimbun. 24 November 2010. Retrieved 1 February 2015.
- "「柿」など９字追加、「鷹」は選外 新常用漢字の修正案" [Nine kanji such as "柿" added, "鷹" is not selected in the new jōyō kanji amendment] (in Japanese). Asahi Shimbun. 23 October 2009. Archived from the original on 14 February 2010. Retrieved 25 October 2009.
- Kanji-Trainer A free flashcard-style learning tool of Jōyō-Kanji with mnemonic phrases comprising handwriting recognition for learning the stroke order
- List of Jōyō Kanji (Japanese Agency for Cultural Affairs)