I don't know chinese, but I have several friends who do. They can read the kanji, althought there are slight alterations in some of them. I think kanji-wise it may help and some words are the same, but there were times when my friends would look at me funny when I would tell them what something meant. So some kanji combinations might be different, but you would already know the concept so it might be easier to memorize. As far as the hiragana, that deals greatly with grammar parts, which I've never figured out how it works in chinese. So if in chinese you don't identify a direct object, indirect object, conjugate the verb, etc. that part might be difficult if you approach it from a chinese base. But like I said, they could usually understand the gist of whatever it was, just not a direct translation. As far as making it easier are more difficult, for kanji it might be easier but for everything else aside from the getting over the "they don't have letters" bit, you'd be as prepared as anyone else knowing two languages.