Kanji characters are Chinese characters imported from China and adapted to Japanese. Japanese people learn about 2,000 kanji characters by the time they graduate from high school. Each kanji character represents a meaning rather than a sound.

For example, the kanji character 人 represents person.

Some kanji characters were created from pictures or signs.

For example, 人 (person) was created from a picture of a standing person viewed side-on.

Some were made from signs.

For example, 三 (three) was created from three bars.

Many kanji characters were created by combining two or more kanji.

For example, 明 (bright) was created by combining 日 (sun) and 月 (moon).