One feature we’ve built into this site to help learners is the Kanji Usage Data report. It will appear at the bottom of designated pages that have kanji in their text to provide a summary of what kanji are used and how common they are.
The report sorts kanji into three primary groups:
- Jouyou Kanji
常用漢字: These kanji have been determined essential to basic communication and literacy by the Japanese Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT for short), and are part of the primary and secondary school curriculum.
- Jinme-you Kanji
人名用 漢字: This is an additional set of kanji that are approved for use in personal and family names. That said, in practice they may also appear in use as regular kanji.
表外字: These kanji are not part of either of the above sets of kanji, and therefore do not have any official status outside that which is afforded them via dictionaries and such. Some kanji which are now in the Jouyou Kanji list were previously Hyougaiji, but got added on account of widespread usage (e.g. 俺, 丼).
One limitation of our system, however, is that while the Jouyou Kanji list does identify acceptable kanji for common use, it also specifies the specific readings that are approved for common use as well. The list is published1, however it’s beyond our current capability to scan every given use of a kanji to see if its readings conform to the approved ones on the list.
- We’ve got a copy of it hosted here