Japanese writing is made up of three main scripts –
Hiragana and katakana are phonetic alphabets.
If you can read them you can read the sounds of the words even if you don’t know what they mean.
(As often happens in menu’s where things like フランク ファーター／”furanku faataa” is a cryptic code for “frankfurter”.)
Kanji are the complex Chinese characters which carry meaning.
To make Japanese more fun… there are many, many different ways to read these kanji. -_-‘
For example, 生 can be read as sei, u, sho, jyo, nama… I’ll stop there.
This kanji actually is has 2000 different uses in Japanese.
(if you’re interested… here’s an article dedicated to 生)
Japanese is definitely not easy.
But it is an interesting language to read… there are lots of interconnections and the etymology is fascinating.
For example, the kanji for testicles is 金玉 meaning ‘golden balls’. Well then.
For an article on the kanji for woman, 女, and how it’s used misogynistically check out Tofugu.