The Japanese alphabets are based upon the Chinese alphabet. The Kanji characters are taken straight from Chinese, and the Katakana and Hiragana alphabets are simplified versions of the Kanji characters.
Kanji have two types of pronunciation, one which is based on the original Chinese pronunciation of the character. The meanings of the Kanji in Japanese and Chinese are usually similar, but because the Japanese alphabet was created so long ago, the meanings have changed a lot and often the nuances are very different.
Other aspects of the languages are mostly dissimilar: the grammar, pronunciation, etc.
I'm pretty sure that Japanese is based on Chinese. I have a friend who speaks Chinese, I'll ask him when I see him tonight.
There is a certain degree of influence of the Chinese culture on the japanese culture. As a result of this the Japanese language has many words that are the same as (or very similar to) words in Chinese. But to the best of my knowledge that is the extent of the similarity
Japanese send students to Tang in batch, they created Japanese based on Chinese after they back to Japan.
Japan actually uses three different scripts for writing. Two of which are based on syllables and are only used in Japan. The third one is exactly the same as Chinese writing and its called Kanji. Kanji is usually used by the Japanese to write thier names.
One of my fellow Japanese students was Chinese and he was able to tell the rough english meaning of every japanese symbol that the teacher put on the board, so my answer would be yes. Very yes. I heard that the Japanese might have basically copied the chinese written language to form the basis for their own written communications, but I'm not sure.
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