are the Chinese characters
used to represent the Japanese language
. They were probably first brought to Japan by Buddhist monks in the 5th century.
Many different kanji may share the same pronunciation. Furthermore, an individual kanji can have several different readings (pronunciations). Some kanji have nanori, which are readings which occur only in names. See kanji readings for more information.
Apart from kanji, Japanese can also be written with hiragana, katakana and romaji (the Latin alphabet).