Introduction: Japanese is unique, as it features two distinct writing systems that share the same sound and meaning: syllabic Hiragana and logographic Kanji scripts. Acquired reading difficulties in Hiragana and Kanji have been examined in older patients with brain lesions. However, the precise mechanisms underlying deficits in developmental dyslexia (DD) remain unclear. Materials and Methods: The neural signatures of Japanese children with DD were examined by using resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging. We examined 22 dyslexic and 46 typically developing (TD) children, aged 7-14 years. Results: Reading performance in each writing system was correlated with neural connectivity in TD children. In contrast, in children with DD, weak associations between neural connectivity and reading performance were observed. In TD children, Hiragana-reading fluency was positively correlated with the left fusiform gyrus network. No significant correlations between Hiragana fluency and neural connectivity were observed in children with DD. Correspondingly, there were fewer correlations between Kanji accuracy and strength of reading-related connectivity in children with DD, whereas positive correlations with the bilateral fronto-parietal network and negative correlations with the left fusiform network were found in TD children. Discussion: These data suggest that positive and negative coupling with neural connectivity is associated with developing Japanese reading skills. Further, different neural connectivity correlations between Hiragana fluency and Kanji accuracy were detected in TD children but less in children with DD. Conclusion: The two writing systems may exert differential effects and deficits on reading in healthy children and in children with DD, respectively.
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