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n. In the Japanese language, the kana written after a kanji. For example, the -べる in 食べる.


are kana suffixes following kanji stems in Japanese written words. They serve two purposes: to inflect adjectives and verbs, and to force a particular kanji to mean a specific idea and be read a certain way. For example, the plain verb form (miru, "see") inflects to past tense (mita, "saw"), where is the kanji stem, and and are okurigana, written in hiragana script. With a very few exceptions, okurigana are only used for kun'yomi (native Japanese readings), not for on'yomi (Chinese readings) – Chinese morphemes do not inflect in Japanese, and their pronunciation is inferred from context, since many are used as parts of compound words ( kango).

When used to inflect an adjective or verb, okurigana can indicate aspect ( perfective versus imperfective), affirmative or negative meaning, or grammatical politeness, among many other functions. In modern usage, okurigana are almost invariably written with hiragana; katakana were also commonly used in the past.