So for those J-Learners, the Joyo (Jouyou, but Hepburn can kiss my ass) kanji are the kanji that it was determined all literate people should know. I think the stats are something like, “Aside from place/people names, any given piece of literature (read: The Newspaper) has to be 90% (95%?) readable given the 1945 characters of the Joyo kanji pool.” In other words, if you know all the Joyo kanji (and presumably their combinations, etc) you can pretty much read anything.

Looks like this move was made to increase not so much the “kanji you need to know back and forth, read and written”, but rather “kanji you need to at least recognize upon reading, as they appear more often in this generation”.

I just got word that the total is increasing to 2136, adding 196 kanji and removing 5.

At first, I reacted as per the title of this blog post. But then I saw the list, here:

http://tinyurl.com/yjf4sh

Originally found out about it from this blog over here.

Uh… OK. That’s actually not that bad at all. Out of the 5 being removed, I only knew one anyway. And of the 196 being added, just by reading normal stuff (manga, news, books, etc) you already know most of them anyway. Seriously, “Ore” (the manly “I” pronoun) wasn’t a Joyo kanji already? Huh.

In fact, going over the list at the link above, there is only… 36 I can’t read/recognize. Double Huh. That’s not so bad.

An interesting side note: A lot of these I learned directly from Japanese tabletop role-playing games.妖(bizarre, “Ayakashi” in the game uses this kanji)、刹(shrine, but it is also the second kanji of “Rakusatsu”, or “Rakshasa”, an evil spirit)、爪(claw)、脇(side/ribs)、瑠(treasure)、虎(tiger)、駒(horse/cavalry)、嵐(storm)、怨(grudge; like from the movie)、斬(to slice with a katana; “to kill” in samurai-speak)、溺(drown)、呪(curse) alone I picked up from Tenra Bansho Zero. Others like 呂 I picked up from equally geeky sources (It’s part of Lu Bu’s name, the terror of the Three Kingdoms era).

So, interesting. I’ve got almost 40 new kanji to learn at some point, and not nearly as bad as I thought. Cool. And if it sounds scary, don’t sweat it. Most of them you’ll pick up from comics or daily life anyway (丼、串、俺、尻、旦、嗅、etc), not to mention place names.