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A morphogram is the representation of a morpheme by a grapheme based solely on its meaning. Kanji and hanja[citation needed] are two writing systems that make use of morphograms, where Chinese characters were borrowed to represent native morphemes because of their meanings. Thus, a single character can represent a variety of morphemes which originally all had the same meaning. An example of this in Japanese would be the grapheme 東 [east], which can be read as higashi or azuma, in addition to its logographic representation of the morpheme . Additionally, in Japanese, the logographic (Chinese-derived) reading is called the on, and the morphographic reading (native Japanese) is called the kun.

See also[edit]


  • Smith, J.S. (1996). Japanese Writing. In P.T. Daniels & W. Bright (Eds.), The World’s Writing Systems (pp. 209-217). New York, NY: Oxford University Press, Inc.