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Kunyomi (訓読み) is the reading of a word that originates from Japanese prior to the introduction of Kanji characters (and their Chinese readings) from China.

For instance the word east (東) is pronounced "tou" in onyomi (the Chinese reading). Japanese always had a word for the concept of east and it is pronounced "higashi" or sometimes "azuma". Therefore the Kanji character has had the "higashi" and "azuma" pronounciations grafted onto it.

In this style the Japanese language gains the benefits of the Chinese written language but retains its original Japanese words.

The Kunyomi reading system is characterized by its balanced consonant-vowel structure (similar to that of Spanish).