How to Tell the Difference Between Chinese, Japanese, Korean?

By Xah Lee. Date: . Last updated: .


ㅂ ㄷ ㅈ ㄱ ㅃ ㄸ ㅉ ㄲ ㅍ ㅌ ㅊ ㅋ ㅅ ㅎ ㅆ ㅁ ㄴ ㅇ ㄹ
ㅣ ㅔ ㅚ ㅐ ㅏ ㅗ ㅜ ㅓ ㅡ ㅢ ㅖ ㅒ ㅑ ㅛ ㅠ ㅕ ㅟ ㅞ ㅙ ㅘ ㅝ

Korean alphabet

Korean characters are made up of these symbols stacked into a square to form a character. These symbols are like English alphabet except it's stacked into a square, not laid out in a line.

한국어는 한국에서 사용하는 언어로, 대한민국에서는 한국어, 한국말이라고 부른다. 조선민주주의인민공화국, 중국(조선족 위주)을 비롯한 등지에서는 조선말, 조선어로, 카자흐스탄을 비롯 중앙아시아의 고려인들 사이에서는 고려말로 불린다.

Sample Korean Text

To identify Korean, look for lots circles and ovals.


Chinese writing system are ideograph based. Each word is a independent character, not made up by a system of parts.


Sample Chinese Text

When you see something that complex, it's Chinese.


The Japanese writing system is made up of Japanese phonetic alphabets and Chinese characters.

Japanese kana: hiragana (left) and katakana (right)
a あア
かカ ka さサ sa たタ ta なナ na はハ ha まマ ma やヤ ya らラ ra わワ wa
i いイ i きキ ki しシ si ちチ ti にニ ni ひヒ hi みミ mi りリ ri ゐヰ wi
u うウ u くク ku すス su つツ tu ぬヌ nu ふフ hu むム mu ゆユ yu るル ru
e えエ e けケ ke せセ se てテ te ねネ ne へヘ he めメ me れレ re ゑヱ we
o おオ o こコ ko そソ so とト to のノ no ほホ ho もモ mo よヨ yo ろロ ro をヲ wo
んン n

日本語の表記体系(にほんごのひょうきたいけい)では、日本語の文章等を文字によって表記するための系統的な方法について解説する。本項目では現代日本語の表記体系とその歴史を扱っている。日本語の概略に関しては日本語を参照。 現代の日本語では、主に以下の3種類の文字体系が用いられる。

Sample Text of Japanese

Look for . It occurs often. It means “of”.

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