This week for my RocketNews24 W.T.F. Japan article, I wrote about the top five most ridiculous kanji handwriting shortcuts, also known as ryakuji.
In English we have a whole bunch of handwriting shortcuts that would baffle people who only have a basic knowledge of the language. There are abbreviations of words (“gov” for government, “veg” for vegetables), abbreviations for phrases (“FYI” for “for your information,” “etc” for “et cetera” which is a whole other can of worms in itself), and even things like ” to repeat a phrase down a list, or using numbers instead of words (“4” for “for,” “2” for “to”), and more.
And it’s no different in Japanese. Since writing complex kanji can take some time, there are a lot of shortcuts that some people take when writing them that are not technically “correct Japanese.”
But when have correct things ever been interesting? So let’s take a look at the wild world of “incorrect” Japanese shortcut-kanji: ryakuji!