Behavior Research Methods, Instruments, & Computers

, Volume 32, Issue 3, pp 482–500 | Cite as

A Japanese logographic character frequency list for cognitive science research

  • Nobuko ChikamatsuEmail author
  • Shoichi Yokoyama
  • Hironari Nozaki
  • Eric Long
  • Sachio Fukuda


This paper describes a Japanese logographic character (kanji) frequency list, which is based on an analysis of the largest recently available corpus of Japanese words and characters. This corpus comprised a full year of morning and evening editions of a major newspaper, containing more than 23 million kanji characters and more than 4,000 different kanji characters. This paper lists the 3,000 most frequent kanji characters, as well as an analysis of kanji usage and correlations between the present list and previous Japanese frequency lists. The authors believe that the present list will help researchers more accurately and efficiently control the selection of kanji characters in cognitive science research and interpret related psycholinguistic data.


Rapid Serial Visual Presentation Present List Japanese Industrial Standard Printable Character Japanese Word 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Supplementary material (2.2 mb)
Supplementary material, approximately 340 KB.


  1. Appleman, I. B., &Mayzner, M. S. (1981). The letter-frequency effect and the generality of familiarity effects on perception.Perception & Psychophysics,30, 436–446.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Cabeza, R. (1995). Investigating the mixture and subdivision of perceptual and conceptual processing in Japanese memory tests.Memory & Cognition,23, 155–165.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Carroll, J. B., Davies, P., &Richman, B. (1971).The American Heritage word frequency book. New York: American Heritage.Google Scholar
  4. Coulmas, F. (1989).The writing systems of the world. Oxford: Blackwell.Google Scholar
  5. Edwards, J. A. (1993). Survey of electronic corpora and related resources for language researchers. In J. A. Edwards & M. D. Lampert (Eds.),Talking data: Transcription and coding in discourse research (pp. 263–310). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  6. Eko, R., &Nakamizo, S. (1989). Coded representations of kanji, kana and figures.Japanese Journal of Psychology,60, 265–268.Google Scholar
  7. Flores d’Arcais, G. B., &Saito, H. (1993). Lexical decomposition of complex kanji characters in Japanese readers.Psychological Research,55, 52–63.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Flores d’Arcais, G. B., Saito, H., &Kawakami, M. (1995). Phonological and semantic activation in reading kanji characters.Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, & Cognition,21, 34–42.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Flores d’Arcais, G. B., Saito, H., Kawakami, M., &Masuda, H. (1994). Figural and phonological effects in radical migration with kanji characters.Advances in the Study of Chinese Language Processing,1, 241–254.Google Scholar
  10. Goto, H. (1995). Gengo kenkyu no tame no data toshite no corpus no gainen ni tsuite [Corpus for linguistic research].Tohoku University Linguistics Journal,4, 71–87.Google Scholar
  11. Grainger, J., &Jacobs, A. M. (1993). Masked partial-word priming in visual word recognition: Effects of positional letter frequency.Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception & Performance,19, 951–964.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Hatta, T., Koike, M., &Langman, P. (1994). Laterality of mental imagery generation and operation: Testing with brain-damaged patients and normal adults.Journal of Clinical & Experimental Neuropsychology,16, 577–588.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Hayashi, R. (1988). The role of semantic attributes of the distractor word in the script type effect on Stroop color-word interference task.Japanese Journal of Psychology,59, 1–8.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  14. Hirose, H. (1992). An investigation of the recognition process for jukugo by use of priming paradigms.Japanese Journal of Psychology,63, 303–309.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  15. Kess, J., &Miyamoto, T. (1994).Japanese psycholinguistics: A classified and annotated research bibliography. Amsterdam: Benjamins.Google Scholar
  16. Kikuchi, T. (1996). Detection of kanji words in a rapid serial visual presentation task.Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception & Performance,22, 332–341.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Kindaichi, K. (1991).shimeikai kokugo jiten [new japanese word dictionary]. Tokyo: Sanseido.Google Scholar
  18. Kučera, H., &Francis, W. N. (1967).Computational analysis of presentday American English. Providence RI: Brown University Press.Google Scholar
  19. Leech, G., &Fligelstone, S. (1992). Computers and corpus analysis. In C. S. Butler (Ed.),Computers and written texts (pp. 115–140). Oxford: Blackwell.Google Scholar
  20. Matsunaga, S. (1996). The linguistic nature of kanji reexamined: Do kanji represent only meaning?Journal of the Association of Teaching of Japanese,30, 1–22.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Morikawa, Y. (1985). Stroop phenomena in the Japanese language: II. Effects of character-usage frequency and number of strokes. In H. S. R. Kao & R. Hoosain (Eds.),Linguistics, psychology & Chinese language (pp. 73–80). Hong Kong: University of Hong Kong Centre of Asian Studies.Google Scholar
  22. Morohashi, T. (1989).Dai kanwa jiten [Japanese kanji character dictionary]. Tokyo: Taishuu-kan.Google Scholar
  23. Morton, J., Sasanuma, S., Patterson, K., &Sakuma, N. (1992). The organization of the lexicon in Japanese: Single and compound kanji.British Journal of Psychology,83, 517–531.Google Scholar
  24. Nagae, S. (1994). Semantic processing functions of kanji and kana words in the right hemisphere.Japanese Journal of Psychology,65, 144–149.Google Scholar
  25. Naito, M., &Komatsu, S. (1988). Attributes of memory that mediate priming effects in perceptual identification.Japanese Journal of Psychology,58, 352–358.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  26. Naito, M., &Komatsu, S. (1989). Effects of conceptually driven processing on perceptual identification.Japanese Psychological Research,31, 45–56.Google Scholar
  27. Nakagawa, A. (1994). Visual and semantic processing in reading kanji.Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception & Performance,20, 864–875.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. National Language Research Institute of Japan (1962).Gendai zasshi 90shi no yogo yoji [The total vocabulary and their written forms in ninety magazines of today]. Tokyo: Shuuei-sha.Google Scholar
  29. National Language Research Institute of Japan (1976).A study of the use of Chinese characters in modern newspapers (The National Language Research Institute Report 56). Tokyo: Shuuei Shuppan.Google Scholar
  30. National Language Research Institute of Japan (1997).Gendai zasshi 90shi no yogo yoji: FD format [The total vocabulary and their written forms in ninety magazines of today]. Tokyo: Sanseido.Google Scholar
  31. Nichigai Associates, &Asahi [Newspaper] (1994).CD-HIASK’93. Tokyo: Kinokuniya.Google Scholar
  32. Nozaki, H.,Chikamatsu, N., &Yokoyama, S. (1997).Compiling katakana frequency lists from Japanese newspaper corpus. Unpublished manuscript. Aichi University of Education, Nagoya.Google Scholar
  33. Osaka, M. (1992). Effect of memory set-size upon event related potentials for concrete and abstract kanji stimuli.Perceptual & Motor Skills,75, 401–402.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Paradis, M., Hagiwara, H., &Hildebrandt, N. (1985).Neurolinguistic aspects of the Japanese writing system. New York: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  35. Sakuma, N., Itoh, M., &Sasanuma, S. (1989). Recognition units of kanji words: Priming effects on kanji recognition.Japanese Journal of Psychology,60, 1–8.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  36. Sasanuma, S., Sakuma, N., &Kitano, K. (1992). Reading kanji without semantics: Evidence from a longitudinal study of dementia.Cognitive Neuropsychology,9, 465–486.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Sekiguchi, H., &Abe, I. (1992). Functional hemisphere differences in recognition of words expressed in kanji.Japanese Journal of Educational Psychology,40, 315–322.Google Scholar
  38. Shimomura, M., &Yokosawa, K. (1991). Processing of kanji and kana characters within Japanese words.Perception & Psychophysics,50, 19–27.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Solso, R. L., Juel, C., &Rubin, D. C. (1982). The frequency and versatility of initial and terminal letters in English words.Journal of Verbal Learning & Verbal Behavior,21, 220–235.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Srinivas, K., Roediger, H. L., III, &Rajaram, S. (1992). The role of syllabic and orthographic properties of letter cues in solving word fragments.Memory & Cognition,20, 219–230.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Thorndike, E. L., &Lorge, I. (1944).The teacher’s word book of 30,000 words. New York: Columbia University, Teachers College Press.Google Scholar
  42. Tsuzuki, T. (1993). Effects of context-dependent and context-independent associative strength between prime and target words on the processing of lexical ambiguity.Japanese Journal of Psychology,64, 191–198.Google Scholar
  43. Ukita, J., Sugishima, I., Minagawa, N., Inoue, M., &Kashu, K. (1996).Nihongo no hyoki keitai ni kansuru shinrigaku kenkyuu [Research on written forms of Japanese words] (Japanese Psychological Monographs 25). Tokyo: Japanese Psychological Association.Google Scholar
  44. Wang, J. (1988). Do phonological and semantic processing of kanji finish at the same time?Japanese Journal of Psychology,59, 252–255.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  45. Wydell, T. N., Butterworth, B., &Patterson, K. (1995). The inconsistency of consistency effects in reading: The case of Japanese kanji.Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, & Cognition,21, 1155–1168.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Wydell, T. N., Patterson, K. E., &Humphreys, G. W. (1993). Phonologically mediated access to meaning for kanji: Is a rows still a rose in Japanese kanji?Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, & Cognition,19, 491–514.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Yamada, J., Mitarai, Y., &Yoshida, T. (1991). Kanji words are easier to identify than katakana words.Psychological Research,53, 136–141.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  48. Yokosawa, K., &Shimomura, M. (1993). On the role of stimulus similarity and segmentation in misprint detection. In D. Brogan, A. Gale, & K. Carr (Eds.),Visual search 2 (pp. 371–378). London: Taylor & Francis.Google Scholar
  49. Yokoyama, S. (1997).Hyoki to kioku [Orthography and free recall] (Japanese Psychological Monographs 26). Tokyo: Japanese Psychological Association.Google Scholar
  50. Yokoyama, S., Sasahara, H., Nozaki, H., &Long, E. (1998).Shinbun denshi media no kanji [A study of kanji in electronic newspaper media]. Tokyo: Sanseido.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Psychonomic Society, Inc. 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nobuko Chikamatsu
    • 1
    Email author
  • Shoichi Yokoyama
    • 2
  • Hironari Nozaki
    • 3
  • Eric Long
    • 4
  • Sachio Fukuda
    • 5
  1. 1.Department of Modern LanguagesDePaul UniversityChicago
  2. 2.National Language Research Institute of JapanTokyoJapan
  3. 3.Aichi University of EducationKariyaJapan
  4. 4.National Language Research Institute of JapanTokyoJapan
  5. 5.Yokohama National UniversityYokohamaJapan

Personalised recommendations