Grammar detail: Average Japanese sentence length

Average Japanese sentence length
Tweet
One of the questions that comes up frequently as you study Japanese is: how many kanji are actually used in a given piece of Japanese?
To try to answer this, we analyzed the Wikipedia and Tatoeba corpora, both of which are freely available for download. We ran the entire text content through our parser to first identify separate sentences, and then identify kanji and other characters within each sentence.
We found that on average, sentences are 18 Japanese characters long, and of those 18 characters, 5 characters are kanji (the rest are kana or punctuation).
In practice, other types of reading material will have different averages. For example, analysis of a handful of articles in the Nikkei suggests somewhat longer sentences and much higher kanji counts. Analysis of a few sentences in a contemporary novel suggests much longer sentences, but a similar ratio of kanji to other characters. Since a typical page in a Japanese paperback has space for 5-600 characters, this implies you would encounter over 100 kanji per page on average.
We'll update this article as we gather more data on this topic.
Problem with this grammar? Question or comment? Please CONTACT US.
×
Are you studying Japanese?
REGISTER for free lessons, games, flashcards, and study emails!
Change component list
By default the component builder shows the most common components (themselves joyo kanji, or used in at least 3 other joyo kanji). Select an alternative set of components below.



Full details of all components and their English names can be found here.
Help with the component builder
For detailed instructions, see the Component builder how to guide.
To find any kanji, first try to identify the components it is made up of.
For any components you recognize, if you know the English meaning or name, start typing it in the text area. Full details of all components and their English names can be found here.
Alternatively, count the strokes of the component, and scan the list to find it visually.
Example
To find the kanji :
  • Notice that it is made of several components: 氵 艹 口 夫.
  • 氵 艹 口 all have three strokes, so you could look in the list in the 3 stroke section. 夫 has four strokes.
  • Alternatively, you could start typing 'water' (氵), 'grass' (艹), 'mouth' (口) or 'husband' (夫) in the search area, and the components will be highlighted in yellow.
  • Keep adding components until you can see your kanji in the list of matches that appears near the top.