31 October 2012

Kanji Lesson 21

Again, Furthermore
This kanji is a picture of a right arm holding something (a long thing such as a firewood) on the shoulder. Carrying things on the shoulder lets us carry more weight, or for a further distance, especially when the weight is evenly distributed across both shoulders such as in the Fireman's Carry, the position of which resembles the shape of this kanji.
  • 又は  (または)  Or, Otherwise

Fur, Hair
By decade_resister (Flickr)
This kanji is a picture of the palm of a hand (手) with some hair on its back. The hair is represented by the  lower part of the last stroke (the vertical line) that curls upward.
  • 不毛 (ふもう) Sterile, Barren, Unproductive

Consists of the kanjl for  "again/furthermore" (又) and the radical ノ and 一. The radical ノ and 一 represent a shoulder and an arm. Altogether, they represent someone who gives us his / her hands (help) and shoulders (a place to lean on) more than other people do, again and again.
  • 友人 (ゆうじん) Friend
  • 友好 (ゆうこう) Friendship

Anti-, Return, Warp
Consists of the "cliff" radical (厂) and the kanji for "again/ furthermore" (又). Most cliffs are formed due to erosion, and in the case of coastal cliffs, erosion by sea waves. Further erosion will create a curve at the bottom, and the cliff will appear to be bent / arched if seen from the side. When this curve gets bigger and bigger, the upper part of the cliff will lose its supporting structure, and the cliff will collapse. The notion of "anti-" and "return" came from the fact that when we try to bend something (especially long objects), we are actually trying to make the ending point "returns" to the starting point (the opposite point). 

The upper part of this kanji represents something being split, while the lower part is the "myself" radical (厶) which has the same shape as the katakana "mu". Together they represent the meaning of splitting/sharing one's individuality/privacy with others, hence the meaning of "public".
  • 公平 (こうへい); 公正 (こうせい) Fairness, Impartial, Justice
  • 公立 (こうりつ) Public (institution)

30 July 2012

Kanji Lesson 20

By I Believe I Can Fry (Flickr)
CC BY-NC 2.0
This kanji is a picture of a piece of fish meat.
  • 肉体 (にくたい) The body, The flesh
  • 牛肉 (ぎゅうにく) Beef

In its Traditional Chinese form, this character consists of the kanji for "enter/insert" (入) and a "box" radical. Together they represent the meaning of something inserted into a box, so that it is "inside" the box. In its Simplified Chinese form (from which this kanji comes), the 入 is replaced with the kanji for "person" (人).
  • 内心 (ないしん) Innermost thoughts, Real intention, Inmost heart
  • 町内 (ちょうない) Neighbourhood

By TANAKA Juuyoh (Flickr)
CC BY 2.0
Door, Counter for houses
This kanji is a picture of a japanese-style sliding door. The horizontal line at the top represents the direction of the slide. The lower part of the kanji represents the door itself, consisting of a fixed part (represented by a slightly curved vertical line) and a slidable part (represented by a box-like shape).

Part, Minute (time), Understand
This kanjl is a picture of something being split into parts by a knife/sword (刀). The mnemonic for this kanji might sound similar to that of 半 (half). The difference is that 半 emphasizes on the result of the split (i.e two (二) parts, each of which is half the original size), while 分 emphasizes on the splitting process itself, showing the tool being used.
  • 十分 (じゅうぶん) Plenty, Enough
  • 不十分 (ふじゅうぶん) Insufficient; Tidak cukup
  • 気分 (きぶん) Feeling, Mood
  • 大分 (だいぶ) Considerably, Greatly, A lot
  • 水分 (すいぶん) Moisture

By decade_resister (Flickr)
This kanji is a picture of a bamboo being cut by a sword (刀). The left part of this kanji resembles the kanji for "seven" (七) which consists of two strokes. The first stroke (the diagonal line) represents the cut, while the second stroke represents the bamboo and its rhizome. Bamboo is one of several objects that's commonly used as a target in Tameshigiri, where a swordsman tests his cutting skill. 
  • 大切 (たいせつ) Important, Valuable
  • 一切 (いっさい) All, Everything, Without exception
  • 切手 (きって) Stamp (postage)

29 June 2012

Kanji Lesson 19

Dry, Parch
This kanji is a picture of a two-level T-shaped clothesline post.

This kanji is a picture of a clothesline with the outline of the sun in the background that coincides with the upper level of the T-shaped post. This represents the time at which the position of the sun is high, but not necessarily right on top of our head. Noon is generally defined as the time between 11 a.m and 1 p.m.

Half, Middle
This kanji is a combination of a picture of something being split right in the middle, and the kanji for "two" (二). Together they represent the meaning of something divided into two equal parts, each of which is half the original size.
  • 半年 (はんねん) Half year

Even, Flat, Peace
This kanji is a picture of a pair of clothespin on a clothesline. The function of a clothespin is to keep the clothes in its place, so that they are evenly distributed and resting "peacefully" along the clothesline. Without clothespins, the clothes will be in chaos when blown by a strong wind.

Consists of a version of the "human" radical on top, and the kanji for "mother" (母). Notice that in this kanji, the two dots of 母 are connected to make a line. Every human is born of a mother.
  • 毎日 (まいにち) Every day
  • 毎月 (まいげつ、まいつき) Every month
  • 毎年 (まいねん、まいとし) Every year

30 May 2012

Kanji Lesson 18

To pull
Consists of the bow radical (弓) and a vertical line that represents the bow string. The bow string is the part that will be repeatedly pulled while the bow is being used.

  • 引き出し (ひきだし)  Drawer, Withdrawal / Drawing out
  • 引き上げる (ひきあげる)  To pull up, To lift up

Body, Substance
Consist of the human radical and the kanji for counting long, cylindrical object (本). Together, they represent the general shape of human body, which is long and cylindrical.

  • 大体 (だいたい) General, Approximately
  • 体力 (たいりょく) Physical strength

Round, Circle, Full, Perfection
Consists of the kanji "nine" (九), and the kanji "one" (一) which is shortened and slightly skewed. Together, they represent the notion of the beginning (1, the first non-zero number) combining with the ending (9, the last single digit number in decimal system). A circle has a beginning point that coincides (combines) with the ending point.
  • 日の丸 (ひのまる) Outline of the sun, The Japanese flag

Heart, Mind
This kanji is a simplified picture of human heart, which consists of four main vessels that transport blood from, and to a muscular sac.
  • 中心 (ちゅうしん) Center, Centre

Old, Ancient, Antiquated
This kanji is a picture of a pioneer plant growing on a rock (barren land). Pioneer plants (e.g mosses, lichens) are the first plants to inhabit barren lands and set up a favorable condition for other plants to grow. Therefore, they are the "oldest" plant.

  • 中古 (ちゅうこ) Used, Second-hand, Old
  • 古本 (ふるほん) Secondhand book

28 April 2012

Kanji Lesson 17

Ten thousand, Myriad
Consists of the kanji for "one" (一) and an extended version of the "wrapping enclosure" radical (勹). Chinese numbering system groups numbers every 4 digits (myriad) instead of every 3 digits (thousand) which is commonly used in western countries. This kanji describes the number (multiplication) at which the digits will be grouped (wrapped) into one new unit (which is every ten thousand / myriad).

  • 一万 (いちまん) Ten thousand
  • 百万 (ひゃくまん) One million

Direction, Person (honorific)
By pyriet (Flickr)
Consists of the "lid" radical and the extended version of the "wrapping enclosure" radical. Together they describe an enclosure made of lids (blockage). A lid's function is basically to provide a blockage so that the content of a container (jar, kettle, etc) doesn't spill out. An "enclosure of lids" provides necessary blockages so that something goes through a certain direction. For example, a lamp housing/reflector consists of blockages ("lids") at the sides and the back, whose function is to direct the light forward. Another example, a chimney consists of blockages at the sides, whose function is to direct the smoke up & out of the house. The usage of this kanji to mean "person" in honorific language is in line with the fact that directions are also used as personal pronouns (e.g "kochira koso").

  • 方々 (かたがた) They (of people, honorific)
  • 夕方 (ゆうがた) Evening, Dusk
  • 見方 (みかた) Viewpoint
  • 生き方 (いきかた) Way of life

Cow, Ox
By normanack (Flickr)
CC BY 2.0
This kanji describe the layout of a cow's head. The diagonal stroke and the upper horizontal stroke represent the horns which have the tendency to curve upward. The lower horizontal stroke represent the ears, and the vertical stroke represent the length from the forehead to the mouth. Notice that the top of the vertical line goes through the upper horizontal line. It represents the protuberance of the skull between the horns, which is called intercornual protuberance.

This kanji is a picture of a man embracing something with crossed hands, giving protection. The upper 2 strokes represent the common posture of a man, which has wide shoulders. The lower strokes represents the crossed hands. A father is a man whose role is to give us protection.

  • お父さん (おとうさん) Father (honorific)

This kanji is a squared and rotated version of a picture of a woman's breasts. The two dots represent the nipples. A mother is a woman who breast-fed us when we were baby.

  • お母さん (おかあさん) Mother
  • 父母 (ふぼ) Father and mother, Parents
  • 母国 (ぼこく) One's homeland
  • 母校 (ぼこう) Alma mater
  • 母語 (ぼご) Mother tongue, Native language

31 March 2012

Kanji Lesson 16

Years old, Talent, Genius
This kanji is a picture of a hand, showing only the thumb, index, and middle finger. These three fingers are the fingers of precision/dexterity, while the other two (ring & little finger) are the fingers of power/stability. A common example is the activity of writing. We would normally use the thumb, index, and middle finger to hold the pen/pencil, and the ring & little finger to stabilize the hand and hold the paper still. These fingers of dexterity represent the meaning of aptitude/talent, which will usually be discovered as one matures in age.
  • 一才 (いっさい) One year old
  • 天才 (てんさい) A Genius

Bow (archery, violin)
This kanji is a picture of an archery bow with exaggerated curves.

Consists of the water radical () and the gas/vapor radical (气) to represent water vapor (steam).

  • 汽車 (きしゃ) Steam train

This kanji is a part of a picture of a horse, showing only its mane, legs, and tail.
  • 出馬 (しゅつば) Running for election

Few, Little
Consists of the kanji "small" (小) and a curve below which represents a container (a plate/bowl). With a small container, we can only get a few (foods, water, etc).
  • 少年 (しょうねん) Boys, Juveniles
  • 少女 (しょうじょ) Young lady, Little girl
  • 少々 (しょうしょう) Just a minute, Small quantity
  • 青少年 (せいしょうねん) Youth, Young person

27 February 2012

Kanji Lesson 15

By Evelyn Blackwood
CC BY-NC 2.5

This kanji is a squared and straightened version of a picture of a farmer planting a rice seedling on a paddy field. The rice plant is  normally grown as an annual plant, which mean that its life cycle, from planting to harvesting, is within one year. After harvesting, the plant usually dies, so a replanting would be needed for the next year/season. Rice is a semi-aquatic plant that requires a lot of water, so before planting the seedlings, the paddy field is flooded with water. As a result, the farmer's feet will be partially submerged under water while planting. Notice that the longest vertical line, the lower part of which represents a farmer's leg, goes through the lowest horizontal line which represent the flooded paddy field. Furthermore, planting rice manually like this is said to be a backbreaking labor, and as can be seen from the illustration of the kanji, the "back" eventually "breaks".

  • 一年 (いちねん) One year
  • 本年 (ほんねん) This (current) year
  • 年より (としより)  Old people, The aged
  • 年金 (ねんきん) Annuity, Pension
  • 青年 (せいねん) Youth, Young man

Consists of the roof radical and two additional strokes that represent a chimney-like structure. A chimney is basically a hole on the roof.

Sky, Empty
By Satoru Kikuchi (Flickr)
CC BY 2.0
Consists of the kanji for "hole" (穴) and "construction" (工). Usually, a construction (building) is an enclosed space with only a small number of holes (doors & windows). The sky is a different kind of construction that consists only of holes (empty spaces).
  • 空気 (くうき) Air, Atmosphere
  • 青空 (あおぞら) Blue sky
  • 空手 (からて) Karate, Empty handed

Mingle, Mixing, Association
This kanji is a picture of a person sitting with legs crossed. Some parts of the right leg is at the left side, and vice versa. Therefore, left and right is mixed / mingled.

School, Exam, Correction
This kanji consists of the tree radical (木) and the kanji for mix/mingle (交). A school is basically a place where people socialize (migle) and learn new knowledges and skills. In primitive times, especially when people are still hunting and gathering, there was no such institution as a school, and people learn the knowledges and skills they need to survive, from the nature. So, in those times, a school is where people mingle with the trees to "learn" from them. Nowadays, we have organizations (informal schools) that offer lessons in primitive survival skills, which of course, involve mingling with the trees.
  • 学校 (がっこう) School
  • 小学校 (しょうがっこう) Elementary school
  • 校正 (こうせい) Proofreading

31 January 2012

Kanji Lesson 14

Gold, Money
By mharrsch
Consists of the roof radical (), a horizontal line (一), the kanji for "earth" (土), and two additional dots. Notice that this kanji have some similarities to the "jade" kanji (玉) presented in lesson 5. The horizontal line represents the sky, and joined with earth (土) makes a "king" kanji (王). The two dots represent gold pieces. Golds are usually found buried under the earth, but their value is sky high. And as golds are commonly used as money in ancient times, their possession and distribution is ruled by the king, and of course, the king has the most gold. As for the roof radical, in ancient china, only the imperial palace may have a golden / yellow roof, as can be seen today in The Forbidden City. Notice that "gold" (金) have two dots while "jade" (玉) have only one dot. This can be seen as an implication of the Chinese saying mentioned in lesson 5: "Gold have a price, but Jade is priceless". The one dot vs. two dots can be seen as the "first place" vs. "second place", or the "rarest" vs. "less rare".
  • お金 (おかね) Money
  • 金曜日 (きんようび) Thursday

Measurement unit (around 3 - 4 cm)
Consist of a horizontal line, a vertical line, and a dot. The horizontal and vertical line is a part of the "hand" kanji (手) presented in lesson 5, showing only the thumb and middle finger. In Chinese, this kanji is read "cun", and is the measurement used to locate acupuncture points. In acupuncture, one "cun" is defined as either the length of the middle finger's middle segment, or the width of the thumb at the top knuckle (the one furthest away from the palm). This makes it very handy since the exact location of acupuncture point varies depending on each person's anatomy. The dot in this kanji marks the location of both the middle finger's middle segment and the thumb's top knuckle.   

By Stitch13th
CC BY-NC 2.0
Consists of the kanji for "tree" (木) and "small measurement" (寸). This kanji represents the characteristic of a village that's in close proximity (within small measurements) to the trees / woods.
  • 中村 (なかむら) Nakamura (person's name)
  • 木村 (きむら) Kimura (person's name)

Foot, Add, Sufficient
By Andrew Magill (Flickr)
CC BY 2.0
This kanji is a picture of a human foot seen from the side. The box-like element represents the bulge of the ankle (which is actually a part of the bones of the lower leg). The rotated "T"-like element under the bulge represents the lower part of the ankle joint (the talus bone) which connects the bones of the lower leg (above), the heel (below), and the midfoot (front), hence its rotated "T" shape. The last element, which consists of two strokes, represents the heel and the sole of the foot.
  • 一足 (いっそく) Pair (footwear)
  • 不足 (ふそく) Insufficiency, Deficiency

This kanji is a picture of water drizzling from a valve, representing rain drops.
  • 大雨 (おおあめ) Heavy rain
  • 小雨 (こあめ) Light rain