Friday, May 23, 2008

寄 - APPROACH the Building by Leaning Towards It


Readings & Meanings:



よ(る)

よ(せる)

to approach, to drop in, to gather, contribute, to draw up a chair

Common Usage:

寄付

寄生虫

年寄り

言い寄る

Examples:

赤い羽募金に300円寄付した。

目黒区には世界唯一の寄生虫博物館がある。

「年寄りだと思って馬鹿にするな!」

喫茶店でナンパに言い寄られた。

Translations:

I contributed 300 yen to the red-feather fundraising. (red feathers are used in Japan instead of red ribbons. not necessarily AIDS-related.)

In Meguroku is the world's only parasite museum.

"Don't underestimate me just because I'm old!"

I was approached by a smarmy guy in the coffee shop.

Radical:

ウ-kammuri, the U-crown, 宀, is the radical.

奇 is the phonetic. It's a combination of 可 and 大, showing a person (大) who bends (可). In other words, a lame person. Somehow, this came to mean "strange, wonderous."

In 寄, 奇 lends its meaning of "lean, bend" to the roof up top to show someone leaning toward (and approaching) a building.

Bonus:



References:

http://www.kanjinetworks.com/indices/radindex.html
http://www.thejapanesepage.com/node/kanji/ki.htm

規 - MEASURE the Circles, They're As Big As Your Eyes


Readings & Meanings:



rule, regulation, compass

Common Usage:

規則

規格

定規

Examples:

校内では規則を守って下さい。

規格外のリンゴが安売りされていた。

授業中しゃべっていたので先生に定規で頭をたたかれた。

Translations:

Within the school grounds please observe the rules.

I was sold a substandard apple at a discount.

The teacher hit me on the head with a ruler for talking in class.

Radical:

見 is the radical, on the right.

Next to 見 is a pictograph of an arrow-like thing that was used to draw a straight line. A smaller piece of wood was attached to this to form a kind of compass for drawing circles.

References:

http://www.kanjinetworks.com/indices/radindex.html
http://www.thejapanesepage.com/node/kanji/ki.htm

機 - A Very Complicated and Sharp MACHINE


Readings & Meanings:



はた

machine, occasion

Common Usage:



機織り機(はたおりき)

危機一髪

自動販売機

自販機

Examples:

「鶴の恩返し」の昔話は、鶴が自分の羽を機で織って布を作る話だ。

昔の機織り機を博物館で見た。

危機一髪で助かった。

自動販売機のことを略して自販機ともいう。

Translations:

"The Crane's Return of a Favor" is a story about a crane who wove out of its own feathers a handmade cloth on a loom.

We saw an old-fashioned weaver's loom in the museum.

I was saved in the nick of time (by a hair's breadth).

We also call vending machines "自販機" for short.

Radical:

As in 械, the radical is 木, because the first machines were wooden.

幾 is the phonetic. 幺 is here twice on top; as it means "fine thread," this lends the idea of fine, minute, slight. 戈, a halberd, slices toward a 人. This originally meant "almost," as in the 人 was almost divided. It came to mean "how much" or "some."

In 機, this comes together as a wooden machine that has intricate, "minute" parts that come into repeated contact.

Bonus: 機織り機

If you're having trouble picturing a complicated, intricate wooden machine, take a look at this 機織り機 that I saw in Fukuoka.


The 機織り was very friendly and talkative. He told us that he is one of the few remaining traditionalist weavers in Japan. So rare and so time-consuming are the products of his trade (kimono obi, etc.) that nobody can pay for it in his area. They can only be sold in the expensive stores in Tokyo, or by special order.

References:

http://www.kanjinetworks.com/indices/radindex.html
http://www.thejapanesepage.com/node/kanji/ki.htm

Thursday, May 15, 2008

喜 - Oh JOY, a Feast!


Readings & Meanings:



よろこ(ぶ)

joy, happy

Common Usage:

大喜び

喜々(嬉々)

Examples:

試験に合格したので家族が大喜びした。

彼女は喜々とした様子で先生に報告に行った。

Translations:

Because I passed my exam, my family were overjoyed.

She, with a gleeful countenance, went to report to the teacher.

Radical:

口 is the radical, on the bottom, indicating mouth.

The rest is a pictograph showing a serving pot on a stand with a stack of food.

Combine them and you get the idea of a feast, which indicates joy. At least, that's what I feel at a feast.

The sound mimics what the Japanese thought of as the sound of a happy, joyous person, especially in 喜々, KEE-KEE, a high-pitched squeal of joy.

Bonus: 犬は喜び...

I first learned this word in my winter in Japan. It's part of a folk song that everybody knows:

Yuki ya konko arare ya konko.
Futte mo futte mo mada furi yamanu.
Inu wa yorokobi niwa kake-mawari,
neko wa kotatsu de maruku naru.

You can hear how the song goes here: http://www3.u-toyama.ac.jp/niho/song/yuki/yuki_e.html

References:

http://www.kanjinetworks.com/indices/radindex.html
http://www.thejapanesepage.com/node/kanji/ki.htm

季 - The SEASON of the Grain Harvest


Readings & Meanings:



season (of the year)

Common Usage:

季節

四季

Examples:

友人から季節のお便りをもらった。

日本の四季の移り変わりは本当に美しい。

Translations:

I received a seasonal letter from my friends.

In Japan, the changing of the four seasons is truly beautiful.

Radical:

子 is the radical, meaning of course child/offspring.

禾 is on top, meaning grain or rice.

These combine to indicate a time when the children of the grain plants are harvested.

References:

http://www.kanjinetworks.com/indices/radindex.html
http://www.thejapanesepage.com/node/kanji/ki.htm

希 - I DESIRE a RARE Embroidered Cloth


Readings & Meanings:



rare, aspire, desire

Common Usage:

希望

希薄

古希

Examples:

災害被害地区の人々に希望を与える。

希薄な人間関係も悪くない。

60歳の人のことを「古代稀なり」といって、古希とも古稀とも書く。

Translations:

He gives hope to the people in the calamity-stricken area.

It's not bad to have thin human relations.

?

Radical:

巾, Haba, is our radical, down there on the bottom. It shows a clothwrapped around a head.

The other stuff is just two sets of intersecting lines. These indicate fine stitching, which was rare in those times.

References:

http://www.kanjinetworks.com/indices/radindex.html
http://www.thejapanesepage.com/node/kanji/ki.htm

期 - A Square Lunar Calendar Shows TERMS of the Moon


Readings & Meanings:





term

Common Usage:

期末試験

同期

末期(まっき)

Examples:

期末試験は学年でトップだった。

同期の卒業生を連絡を取り合っている。

末期ガン患者の治療にあたる。

Translations:

My final exam was the top in my class.

I'm getting in touch with other graduates in the same class as me.

The treatment of the patient with the last stages of cancer was successful.

Radical:

月 is the radical, and here it is definitely derived from the moon kanji.

其 is the phonetic, and it means "that" now but originally was the pictograph of a square device for winnowing grain, plus a desk.

Square/rectangular and moon leads to the idea of a period or cycle, as in the fixed phases of the moon.

References:

http://www.kanjinetworks.com/indices/radindex.html
http://www.thejapanesepage.com/node/kanji/ki.htm

記 - Arise and WRITE DOWN Your Dreams in Your Journal


Readings & Meanings:



しる(す)

write down

Common Usage:

日記

記す

記憶

Examples:

彼に日記を盗み読みされた。

報告書にサインを記した。

そんなこと言ったかどうか記憶が定かでない。

Translations:

My diary was surreptitiously read by him.

I signed the report.

I don't have a clear memory of whether or not I said that.

Radical:

言, Gon-ben, is the radical.

己 is the phonetic, which is a pictograph of a pattern found on ancient pottery, originally meaning "arise" but came to mean "oneself."

If Kanji Networks is right about the meaning of 己 in 記, then the idea is "words that help raise clues/signs." An alternative idea would be that the words you write down are self-reflective.

References:

http://www.kanjinetworks.com/indices/radindex.html
http://www.thejapanesepage.com/node/kanji/7.htm

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

含 - Now, CONTAIN It!


Readings & Meanings:

ガン

ふく(む)

ふく(める)

contain, include, keep in one's mouth

Common Usage:

含まれる

含み笑い

含有量

Examples:

この福神漬けには人工着色料が含まれている。

「今に分かりますよ。」と言って、彼は含み笑いをした。

この食品の塩分の含有量は10mgだ。

Translations:

These pickled vegetables are made with manmade food coloring products.

"Now I understand" he said with a barely-contained giggle.

This food's salt content amount is 10mg.

Radical:

口, kuchi, mouth, is the radical.

今 is the phonetic. Of course, we know it means "now," but the pictograph is of a cover over some kind of contents, meaning to conceal an object by covering it totally. (The idea of "now" came from the idea of seizing a moment--to catch prey, that is.)

Combined, they show something contained in the mouth, or otherwise contained.

References:

http://www.kanjinetworks.com/indices/radindex.html
http://www.thejapanesepage.com/node/kanji/7.htm

願 - PLEASE, Grant This WISH That Keeps Springing Up in My Mind


Readings & Meanings:

ガン

ねが(う)

wish, ask a favor, desire

Common Usage:

お願いします

念願

願書



Examples:

これからもよろしくお願いします。

念願のカメラを買った。

日本語検定の願書を提出した。

今年こそ思いが叶うように願をかけた。

Translations:

Please take care of me in the future as well. (set phrase to say upon meeting someone)

My heart's desire is to buy a camera.

I submitted my application for Japanese certification.

In the hopes of my wish coming true this year, I offer up my prayer.

Radical:

Oogai is the radical, 頁. It's a pictograph of a kneeling person with a huge head.

原 is the phonetic. Inside the cliff frame, 泉 is squished. 泉 is a spring of water. The pictograph suggests a circular spring.

At first, this combination of pictographs suggested the meaning of "round head." After a while, though, this kanji meant an idea that springs up and goes round and round your brain, over and over, like a wish. This led also to "request."

References:

http://www.kanjinetworks.com/indices/radindex.html
http://www.thejapanesepage.com/node/kanji/7.htm

岸 - The SHORE Is Higher and Drier Than the Water


Readings & Meanings:

ガン

きし

(sea)shore

Common Usage:



向こう岸

海岸

河岸(かし)

護岸工事

Examples:

岸をつたって歩いた。

向こう岸には船で渡るしかない。

海岸で貝殻を拾った。

河岸の護岸工事をしている。

Translations:

I walked, following the shore.

You have to cross in a boat to the other shore.

I picked up shells from the beach.

They are making a levee protection at the riverbank.

Radical:

山 is the radical.

厂 (cliff) surrounds the phonetic, 干. As 干 means a stick thrust against an enemy, this signifies that the shore is the ground that sticks to the water.

山 serves to show that it's high ground (higher, at least, than the riverbed or ocean floor.

Bonus:



References:

http://www.kanjinetworks.com/indices/radindex.html
http://www.thejapanesepage.com/node/kanji/7.htm

丸 - ROUND CIRCLE


Readings & Meanings:

ガン

まる

まる(い)

まる(める)

round

Common Usage:

丸三角四角。



日の丸

丸見え

Examples:

丸三角四角。

正しいと思う答えに○を付けなさい。

日の丸の旗を掲げる。

カーテンがないから、外から丸見えよ。

Translations:

Circle, triangle, square.

Put a circle around the correct answer.

I fly the Japanese flag.

Because we don't have curtains, you can see everything from outside.

Radical:

The smallest radical? The radical is 丶, "Ten."

The pictograph is of a bending figure under a curved line (a cliff).

Bonus: ○

In Japan, correct answers are circled, or a circle is put next to them. When a Japanese person comes to America and takes a test, they are usually confused by the checkmarks on the right answers and the circles on the wrong answers.

References:

http://www.kanjinetworks.com/indices/radindex.html
http://www.thejapanesepage.com/node/kanji/7.htm

患 - A Pierced Heart Is a Serious ILLNESS


Readings & Meanings:

カン

わずら(う)

sickness, affection

Common Usage:

患者

患う

重患

Examples:

病院は患者でいっぱいだ。

子供の頃、結核を患ったため背骨が曲がってしまった。

重患は別の部屋で治療された。

Translations:

The hospital is full of patients.

As a child, because he got tuberculosis, his spine became very bent.

Very serious illnesses are treated in another room.

Radical:

心 is the radical.

串 is the phonetic, and means pierce, skewer.

If your heart feels pierced, please go to the hospital.

References:

http://www.kanjinetworks.com/indices/radindex.html
http://www.thejapanesepage.com/node/kanji/7.htm

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

缶 - CAN (of food)


Readings & Meanings:

カン

a can (drink or food can)

Common Usage:

缶詰

空き缶

缶切り

Examples:

サバの缶詰は私の大好物だ。

空き缶はリサイクル箱へ入れてください。

缶切りで手を切ってしまった。

Translations:

Canned mackerel is my favorite.

Please put the empty containers in the recycling bin.

I cut my hand with the can opener.

Radical:

缶 is its own radical! (But all the kanji that use it as a radical are too rare to be on the 1,945 list of common kanji.) Its radical name is Hotogi.

It's a picture of a clay pot that bulges in the middle.

References:

http://www.kanjinetworks.com/indices/radindex.html
http://www.thejapanesepage.com/node/kanji/7.htm

簡 - SIMPLE Bamboo


Readings & Meanings:

カン

simple

Common Usage:

簡単

簡略

Examples:

アメリカの税制に関する簡単な説明をして下さい。

簡略しますと、今年は去年より7万円減税されることになります。

Translations:

Please concisely explain the American tax system.

Simply stated, my tax reduction was 70,000 yen more than last year.

Radical:

Take-kammuri, the bamboo crown (竹) is the top radical.

間 is the phonetic, indicating gaps in bamboo.

This kanji has in the past referred to papers, letters and documents. Also, to omit, and to omit things (from the letters) would be to make them simple.

References:

http://www.kanjinetworks.com/indices/radindex.html
http://www.thejapanesepage.com/node/kanji/7.htm

巻 - I'll have a (maki) ROLL, please...


Readings & Meanings:

カン

ま(く)

ま(き)

まき

roll up, volume

Common Usage:

のり巻き

7巻

Examples:

のり巻きを食べる。

ナルトの7巻を読んだ。

この巻物の絵は30万円もする。

Translations:

I eat sushi rolls.

I read the seventh volume of Naruto.

This picture scroll is worth 300,000 yen.

Radical:

己 (Onore) is the radical. It's a pictograph of something rising up from a coiled position. But it is not native to this kanji.

卷 was the original form of the character. Note that, instead of 己, we have a pictograph of a bending figure.

The top element is a phonetic, but it doesn't stand alone. I recognize it from . It shows a wooden slat and some hands, encircled by a cord. "Roll up," in other words.

Important(?): "Maki Roll"

For those who cringe when they hear "ATM machines," please be aware that the sushi-restaurant term "maki roll" is a redundancy as well. It's not really a big deal, but if you want to be more "correct," then eliminate the "maki" part when ordering sushi in an American restaurant.

Chances are, your Korean waitress won't understand your problem with saying "maki roll" and will have to awkwardly make sure she knows what you're ordering, but that's the price you pay for being "correct."

References:

http://www.kanjinetworks.com/indices/radindex.html
http://www.thejapanesepage.com/node/kanji/7.htm

干 - A Small Amount of DRY Sticks & Pickled Plums


Readings & Meanings:

カン

ほ(す)

ひ(る)

dry

Common Usage:

干す

梅干

若干

Examples:

洗濯物を干す。

梅干は塩辛い。

裁判所に提出する文書は若干のミスも許されない。

Translations:

I dry the laundry. (outside)

Umeboshi (pickled plum) is salty.

For the writings that have to be filed with the court, the slightest amount of mistakes is unforgivable.

Radical:

干 is its own radical! It's called Ichi-juu. Can you figure out why?

This is a pictograph of a forked stick that keeps enemies at a distance. Original meaning is "thrust/defense." "Dry" is a borrowed meaning.

Bonus: Umeboshi

梅干 is delicious. Don't let the example sentence fool you; there are salty varieties of 梅干, and sake-soaked versions, but the kind I love the best is the red kind. It's a little sweet, but mostly sour, and yeah, a little bit salty, but it's amazing in onigiri.

Below is a quick photo of the brand of 梅干 that I like the best. Note that it's Shiso Umeboshi; that's what gives it the sour taste I love.



References:

http://www.kanjinetworks.com/indices/radindex.html
http://www.thejapanesepage.com/node/kanji/7.htm

慣 - HABIT


Readings & Meanings:

カン

な(れる)

な(らす)

habit, custom, to get used to

Common Usage:

慣れる

習慣

Examples:

だんだんと新しい仕事に慣れてきた。

早寝早起きの習慣をつける。

Translations:

I have slowly become accustomed to my new work.

I keep up the habit of "early to bed, early to rise."

Radical:

Radical is 心 in its vertical form on the left.

貫 is the phonetic, which is a pictograph of two seashells connected by a string that goes through them both. The original meaning is "pierce," but "consistent" is the extended meaning, and the one that applies here.

References:

http://www.kanjinetworks.com/indices/radindex.html
http://www.thejapanesepage.com/node/kanji/7.htm

Monday, May 12, 2008

刊 - PUBLISHED Words Hurt More Than Sticks and Swords


Readings & Meanings:

カン

publish

Common Usage:

週刊

発刊

Examples:

週刊ジャンプを購読する。

その雑誌は毎週、水曜日に発刊する。

Translations:

I subscribe to the weekly Jump.

That magazine is published every week on Wednesday.

Radical:

Katana 刀 is the radical on the right.

干 is a pictograph of a forked stick which is thrust at an enemy to keep him away.

Not sure how cut sticks relate to publishing.

References:

http://www.kanjinetworks.com/indices/radindex.html
http://www.thejapanesepage.com/node/kanji/7.htm

観 - A Bird's Eye VIEW


Readings & Meanings:

カン

view

Common Usage:

観光客

観察日記

観音様

Examples:

京都は観光客でいっぱいだ。

カブトムシの観察日記をつける。

先週、観音様にお参りに行った。

Translations:

Kyoto is filled with tourists.

I'm keeping an observation journal on the Rhinoceros beetle.

Last week, we went to visit the Kannon shrine (and pray).

Radical:

見 is the radical.

On the left, we have the phonetic element. It's a simplification of the element in 觀.

In that former form, the left-hand element has 艸 (grass), two 口 (mouths), and 隹 (short, squat bird). So think of a flock of these birds crying in a marsh.

But now the grass and the mouths have simplified down, almost as if you were looking down at them from a bird's-eye view. Think of 観 as viewing objects in a "circular sweep."

References:

http://www.kanjinetworks.com/indices/radindex.html
http://www.thejapanesepage.com/node/kanji/7.htm

関 - CONNECT the Boards To BARRICADE the Relations!


Readings & Meanings:

カン

せき

concern, barrier

Common Usage:

下関(しものせき)

関係

関心

玄関先

Examples:

下関はふぐ料理で有名だ。

君には関係ないから、口を挟まないでくれ。

最近、クラッシック音楽に関心を持ち始めた。

玄関先に犬をつないでおいた。

Translations:

Shimonoseki is famous for fugu/pufferfish cuisine.

This doesn't concern you, so don't stick in your two cents (literally: stick your mouth in).

Lately, I've started having an interest in classical music.

I tied the dog to the entrance.

Radical:

門, the gate radical, is here.

That inner phonetic element used to be quite a bit more complicated: 關. That's 丱 and 幺, showing two boards connected by a thread/cord. That's where the "checkpoint, entrance barrier" meaning comes from. "Connect" is apparently a borrowed meaning.

References:

http://www.kanjinetworks.com/indices/radindex.html
http://www.thejapanesepage.com/node/kanji/7.htm

管 - CONTROL Your (Bamboo) PIPES


Readings & Meanings:

カン

くだ

control, pipe

Common Usage:

管(くだ)

下水管

管理

Examples:

入院中は管をのどに通して栄養を摂っていた。

寒さで下水管が凍ってひびが入った。

鍵の管理をしっかりしておきなさい。

Translations:

During admission to the hospital, they put a tube down his throat so he could take nourishment.

The pipes froze from the cold and got a crack in them.

Keep tight control over the key.

Radical:

竹, Take-kammuri, or bamboo-crown is the radical.

官, the phonetic, is the one we just learned, showing a pileup of bureaucrats in a government building.

You may have noticed that "pipe" and "control" have very little to do with each other. This is because the "control" meaning is an atavistic meaning, which means that it comes from just one part of the kanji (官) instead of the whole.

As for "pipe," the 竹 up top indicate bamboo, and 官 shows an enclosure. A pipe/flute is made from a cylindrical, enclosed object.

References:

http://www.kanjinetworks.com/indices/radindex.html
http://www.thejapanesepage.com/node/kanji/7.htm

官 - GOVERNMENT in Japan = Bureaucrats Stacked to the Ceiling


Readings & Meanings:

カン

government

Common Usage:

警察官

官僚

Examples:

僕の従兄弟は警察官だ。

日本の政治家は三流、官僚は一流、とよく言われている。

Translations:

My cousin is a policeman.

It's said that Japan's politicians are third-rate, but its bureaucracy is first-rate.

Radical:

U-kammuri, the U crown, 宀 is our radical.

The lower part of this kanji shows an accumulation of objects. In this case, it's probably an accumulation of bureaucrats, piled up in an official building (the 宀 shows a roof enclosing those piled-up things).

References:

http://www.kanjinetworks.com/indices/radindex.html
http://www.thejapanesepage.com/node/kanji/7.htm

Friday, May 9, 2008

完 - COMPLETELY Protected, PERFECTLY Safe

Readings & Meanings:

カン

complete, perfect

Common Usage:

完璧

完全犯罪

完了

Examples:

完璧に覚えるまで繰り返し練習する。

完全犯罪を取り扱った小説を読んだ。

今日の勉強はこれで完了だ。

Translations:

I practice by repetition until I remember perfectly.

I read a novel about the perfect crime.

Today's studying is at an end.

Radical:

宀, U-kammuri, the U-crown tops this as the radical.

元 is the phonetic. It's a pictograph of somebody thrusting their head high (in 兀) and another line thrown in after 兀 lost its meaning.

In 完, though, the 元 shows a round thing, an encirclement. This plus a roof means a building that is completely protected. Thus, "complete."

References:

http://www.kanjinetworks.com/indices/radindex.html
http://www.thejapanesepage.com/node/kanji/7.htm

感 - This FEELING So Intense, There Are No Words

Readings & Meanings:

カン

feeling, sense, feel

Common Usage:

感触

感じやすい

感動

感謝

Examples:

畳の感触が好きだ。

彼女は感じやすいタイプだ。

シートン動物記を読んで感動した。

感謝の心をいつも忘れないようにしなさい。

Translations:

I like the feeling of tatami.

She's the sensitive type.

I read Ernest Thompson Seton's Wild Animals I Have Known and was deeply moved.

Never forget to keep a grateful heart.

Radical:

心 is our radical, the heart.

咸 is our phonetic. It shows a mouth 口 and a spear 戈, and extra lines to show the mouth is shut. You usually shut your mouth when you bear the brunt of a spear attack. I guess.

Think of that shock that causes your mouth to shut.

Now think of an emotion that overwhelms you to the point of being unable to speak.

That's 感.

Bonus: ii kanji

The most frequent way you'll hear this kanji being used is in the phrase "いい感じ". It means "good feeling," and is used in many, many ways, mostly slang.

When you are at a restaurant and the food is really good and satisfying (and you don't want to single any one food out as specifically delicious, you just want to emphasize that you're happy with everything), say いい感じ.

When you're pleased with something and want to candidly tell your friend, lean to him/her and say いい感じ.

You might wonder what the difference is between いい感じ and いい気分. It's almost impossible to say what the difference is. Don't worry about it; don't ruin that いい感じ.

References:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ernest_Thompson_Seton
http://www.kanjinetworks.com/indices/radindex.html
http://www.thejapanesepage.com/node/kanji/7.htm

寒 - It's Freezing COLD, Build a Shelter

Readings & Meanings:

カン

寒い

cold

Common Usage:

寒い

防寒

Examples:

寒い日には厚着をする。

冬の防寒対策は万全だ。

Translations:

On cold days, wear thick clothing.

Our winter countermeasures against cold are flawless.

Radical:

U-kammuri, the U-crown, 宀 is the top radical.

The grid just below the roof is from a pictograph of four bricks stacked together. Down below, the two legs to either side are actually hands, building up a shelter. To emphasize that the shelter was to protect from the cold, eventually 冫 was added. 冫 is the ni-sui form of 氷, ice.

References:

http://www.kanjinetworks.com/indices/radindex.html
http://www.thejapanesepage.com/node/kanji/7.htm

乾 - DRY only after a Day in the Sun

Readings & Meanings:

かわ(かす)

カン

かわ(く)

dry

Common Usage:

乾く

乾燥

乾物(かんぶつ)

乾燥機

乾杯

Examples:

冬は空気が乾く。

この植物は乾燥に強い。

乾物は保存がきくから便利だ。

乾燥機を入れ替えた。

乾杯の音頭をとる。

Translations:

In winter, the air gets dry.

This plant is strong in arid conditions.

Dried food is convenient because it's preservable.

We replaced the dryer.

I will lead the toast.

Radical:

Otsunyou! This is our first kanji with the amazing bending 乙 radical. It's a pictograph of a line that bends.

But hold on... 乙 is also listed as the phonetic. Ehh, who cares?

Look on the left. Recognize that? It's the same left-hand part as in 朝. Think of it as the sun rising between plants.

So what's the deal with the other two lines on the right side, above 乙? They signify a flag or pennant. It's fostering the idea of the sun high in the sky.

So we've got the sun rising on the left, a signifier for the sun high in the sky, but what's 乙's role? It shows the sun's path from east to west.

Somehow, all of this combines to mean "dry." Perhaps something will dry if it is in the sun all day.

(From my Japan experience, I can tell you that is not true. Laundry can take two days to dry. It's ridiculously humid in that country.)

Important:

How is 乾 different from 枯?

The key may be in the skull (古) in 枯. 枯 indicates drying associated with death, like withering.

乾 is a lack of moisture. If the river is talked about using 乾く, there is no more water, it's completely evaporated.

References:

http://www.kanjinetworks.com/indices/radindex.html
http://www.thejapanesepage.com/node/kanji/7.htm

側 - Stay on My Left SIDE

Readings & Meanings:

かわ

ソク

side

Common Usage:

右側 (みぎがわ)

側面

Examples:

車を右側に寄せた。

車の側面に傷ができた。

Translations:

I pulled the car up to the right side (of the road).

I got a scratch on the side of my car.

Radical:

人 radical.

Phonetic is 則, the left side of which is an abbreviation of 鼎, which is a pictograph of a tripod kettle (for tea, rice, etc.). The right side shows a knife, 刀, right beside it. 則 means "rule," as it is a rule of the kitchen to have things close at hand.

"Close at hand" is the meaning that 側 borrows from 則, but adds 人. So the picture should be of a person close at hand, on your side.

References:

http://www.kanjinetworks.com/indices/radindex.html
http://www.thejapanesepage.com/node/kanji/7.htm

Thursday, May 8, 2008

皮 - SKIN

Readings & Meanings:

かわ



skin

Common Usage:



皮膚科

皮肉

Examples:

彼女は面の皮が厚い人だ。

皮膚科に行く。

彼女は自分の思い通りに行かないと皮肉を言う癖がある。

Translations:

She is a brazen kind of person.

I go to the dermatology clinic.

She has a habit of saying cynical things when something doesn't turn out the way she wanted.

Radical:

皮 is its own radical! It's called Kegawa.

It's a pictograph of a pelt with the head still on it.

Bonus:



References:

http://www.kanjinetworks.com/indices/radindex.html
http://www.thejapanesepage.com/node/kanji/7.htm

軽 - LIGHT Vehicles Travel Faster

Readings & Meanings:

かる(い)

ケイ

light (as in weight)

Common Usage:

軽い

軽重

Examples:

中身が空なのでその箱は軽かった。

鼎の軽重を問う。

彼女は男に易々と付いて行くような軽い女ではない。

Translations:

The box is light because it's empty.

To call one's ability into question. (idiom)

She is not the light, superficial kind of woman who easily goes out with men.

Radical:

車 is the radical here.

The phonetic here is a simplified version of 巠. That's 巛 (a variant of 川) running between a line on the top and 土 on the bottom. The idea is that this river runs between two points.

So, a vehicle that can run between two points has to be as light as possible (remember, it was being carried by living beings, back in the day).

References:

http://www.kanjinetworks.com/indices/radindex.html
http://www.thejapanesepage.com/node/kanji/7.htm

絡 - TANGLED in Straight Threads

Readings & Meanings:

から(まる)

から(む)

ラク

entwine, to twine around

Common Usage:

絡まる

連絡

短絡的

Examples:

コンピュータのコードに絡まって転んだ。

上司からの連絡を待つ。

ウェブサイトを開けば金儲けができると考えるのは短絡的だ。

Translations:

I got tangled in the computer cord and fell over.

I'm waiting for my boss's confirmation.

Thinking that you can make money from a website is simplistic.

Radical:

Ito-hen joins us again, on the left as 糸.

各 is on the right as a phonetic. 各 certainly gets around. But here it's not its usual derivation. Instead of meaning "hard," it's an abbreviated form of 洛, which means straight.

"Weav[ing] straight threads," as KN says, leads to a connection or entanglement.

References:

http://www.kanjinetworks.com/indices/radindex.html
http://www.thejapanesepage.com/node/kanji/7.htm

枯 - The DRY Tree Looks Like a Skeleton

Readings & Meanings:

か(らす)



か(れる)

to let dry, wither

Common Usage:

枯れる

木枯らし

枯れ木

Examples:

雨不足で畑の野菜が枯れた。

木枯らしが刺すように寒い。

枯れ木も山のにぎわい。

Translations:

Farm vegetables withered in the drought.

This cold is like a piercing winter wind.

Even the bare trees on the mountain (are better than nothing).

Radical:

木 is our radical. 古 is our phonetic. We've covered 古 before; it's a pictograph of a hard, dry skull.

References:

http://www.kanjinetworks.com/indices/radindex.html
http://www.thejapanesepage.com/node/kanji/7.htm

辛 - SPICY and Sharp, Brings Tears to the Eyes

Readings & Meanings:

から(い)

シン

つら(い)

hard, spicy hot (food)

Common Usage:

辛い(からい)

激辛

香辛料

辛い(つらい)

Examples:

辛い食べ物が好きだ。

激辛ラーメンを食べた。

タイから香辛料を輸入する。

辛い出来事を思い出す。

Translations:

I like spicy food.

I ate really spicy ramen.

We import spices from Thailand.

I just remembered a painful incident.

Radical:

辛 is its own radical!

It's a pictograph of a sharp needle, or at least a cutting tool.

References:

http://www.kanjinetworks.com/indices/radindex.html
http://www.thejapanesepage.com/node/kanji/7.htm

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

髪 - Your HAIR Is a Longtime Friend

Readings & Meanings:

かみ

ハツ

hair

Common Usage:



散髪

金髪

Examples:

昨日長い髪の女の人を見かけた。

月に一度、散髪に行く。

金髪のことをふざけてパツキンといったりもする。

Translations:

Yesterday, I saw a woman with long hair.

I get a haircut once a month.

Blonds are also sometimes called "patsukin" in jest.

Radical:

髪 is ALMOST its own radical. To be more exact, 髟 is the radical, which comes from the squished form of 長 and the pattern element, 彡.

髪 adds 犮 (the phonetic). 犮 later changed into 友 in the kanji, though.

References:

http://www.kanjinetworks.com/indices/radindex.html
http://www.thejapanesepage.com/node/kanji/7.htm

神 - Pray to the Thundering GODS

Readings & Meanings:

かみ

シン

ジン

かん

こう

God, god, mind

Common Usage:



神無月

神道

神様

精神

Examples:

十月には八百万の神が出雲の国に行ってしまうので、神無月と言われる。

神道は日本古代からある精霊崇拝の一種と言われている。

神様、どうか東大に受からせて下さい。

精神を集中させて、火の上を歩く。

Translations:

Because October is the month when eight million gods come out of the clouds and go to the country, it is called the Godless Month.

The kind of ancestor-worshipping religion that has been in Japan since a long time ago is called Shinto.

God, please let me have passed the Tokyo U (entrance test).

Gather your concentration and walk on the fire.

Radical:

示, the altar radical, is back.

申 is the phonetic. The oldest pictographs show a bolt of lightning going through the heavens, which fits in with the "god" meaning. But then it became a pictograph of the hands tugging on a rope. That reminds me of the shinto way to pray: tug on the belled rope in front of the temple twice to get the god's attention.

References:

http://www.kanjinetworks.com/indices/radindex.html
http://www.thejapanesepage.com/node/kanji/7.htm

構 - I Don't MIND If You Build Two Wooden Houses

Readings & Meanings:

かま(う)

コウ

structure, posture, construct, to mind

Common Usage:

構う

構図

お構いなく

結構

Examples:

そんな細かいことに構っていられない。

経済の本を読むに従って階級社会の構図が見えてきた。

どうぞ、お構いなく。

結構な御点前で。

Translations:

I can't be bothered to care about such a small thing.

I read a book on economics, and, therefore, I could get to see the structure of our hierarchical society.

Go ahead, don't worry about me.

Splendidly arranged. (You say this in a tea ceremony.)

Radical:

木 is the radical.

冓 is the phonetic and shows two "symmetrical" constructions (at least, they were symmetrical back in BC).

The definition of "to mind" arose from the older meaning of "join wood and build a structure." First it was "to construct," then "prepare for construction," then "mental preparation," then "to mind."

References:

http://www.kanjinetworks.com/indices/radindex.html
http://www.thejapanesepage.com/node/kanji/7.htm

必 - I Will, WITHOUT FAIL. Cross My Heart.

Readings & Meanings:

かなら(ず)

ヒツ

without fail

Common Usage:

必ず

必要

必死になった

必勝

Examples:

借りたお金は必ず返した方がいいに決まっている。

必要に迫られて、資格を取った。

彼は必死になって皆に付いて行った。

"必勝"の鉢巻を巻いて受験勉強に取り組んだ。

Translations:

It is always best to return the money you lend without fail.

Necessity urged me to get the license.

He was desperate to catch up with the others.

With a rolled up "certain victory" headband, he wrestled with the exam studying.

Radical:

Despite being crossed out, 心 is our radical.

Also, despite being a Kokoro-radical kanji, the pictograph had nothing to do with a heart. It used to depict a slab of wood, pressed between boards to be straightened. It couldn't go anywhere like that, so the meaning was "sure, certain."

But I like to remember 必 by thinking "Cross your heart and hope to die," the old children's rhyme that means "I swear."

References:

http://www.kanjinetworks.com/indices/radindex.html
http://www.thejapanesepage.com/node/kanji/7.htm

悲 - Don't Divide My Heart and Make Me SAD

Readings & Meanings:

かな(しい)



かな(しむ)

sad

Common Usage:

悲しい

悲願

無慈悲

Examples:

悲しい出来事を思い出した。

ついに悲願の金メダルを取った。

借金取りの無慈悲な請求に彼は夜逃げを決心した。

Translations:

I just remembered a sad incident.

Finally, I got the medal I'd dearly wished for.

He decided to skip out at night from the bill collectors' merciless demands.

Radical:

心 is the radical, as you can see by the Kokoro at the bottom.

The phonetic element is 非, a pictograph of wings unfolding in two directions. 非 has a negative meaning to it.

Wings going both ways over a heart: a heart divided is sad.

References:

http://www.kanjinetworks.com/indices/radindex.html
http://www.thejapanesepage.com/node/kanji/7.htm

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

門 - GATE


Readings & Meanings:

かど

モン

gate

Common Usage:

門番

入門

専門家

門(かど)

Examples:

門番のおじさんにIDを見せた。

日本語入門講座を受ける。

アジア経済の専門家にインタビューした。

正門には美しい紅葉の木が植えられている。

笑う門には福来る。

Translations:

I showed my ID to the old man keeping watch.

I'm taking an introductory Japanese course.

We interviewed a specialist in Asian economics.

Laughter will bring good fortune to your corner.

Radical:

門 is its own radical! Called Mon or Gamae, it's the gate radical.

It's a pictograph of, guess what? a gate.

References:

http://www.kanjinetworks.com/indices/radindex.html
http://www.thejapanesepage.com/node/kanji/7.htm

担 - BEAR the Beatdown of Words until Sunrise


Readings & Meanings:

かつ(ぐ)

タン

にな(う)

bear, undertake

Common Usage:

担ぐ

訴訟担当

担任

Examples:

お祭りで御神輿を担いだ。

訴訟担当の弁護士。

担任の先生に叱られた。

Translations:

They shouldered the portable shrine at the festival.

The lead litigation counsel.

I was scolded by the homeroom teacher.

Radical:

手, of course, is the radical; you can clearly see the hand form on the left.

This kanji has a muddy history. For one thing, the former form was 擔. The phonetic was 詹, which means talking too much. Think "burdening others with unnecessary words."

担 was originally a different kanji altogether, meaning to "knock down." However, this meaning was entirely stripped from it when it replaced 擔.

References:

http://www.kanjinetworks.com/indices/radindex.html
http://www.thejapanesepage.com/node/kanji/7.htm

割 - DIVIDE Your Mask with this Sword


Readings & Meanings:

カツ

わ(る)

さ(く)

divide

Common Usage:

割り切れる

割り切れない

割引き

分割

Examples:

4は2で割り切れる。

友達を見捨てて割り切れない思いをしている。

ハンドバッグを三割引きで買った。

土地を分割して譲渡した。

Translations:

4 is divisible by 2.

I feel bad for neglecting my friends.

I bought this handbag at 30% off.

We transferred a portion of land.

Radical:

The Katana radical, 刀. You can see it unsheathed on the right.

The phonetic is a kanji we've already covered: . It means damage or harmful, but it is a pictograph of someone's mouth being covered.

So, if 害 is a mouth being cut off from speech, the addition of 刀 emphasizes the "cut off" part.

References:

http://www.kanjinetworks.com/indices/radindex.html
http://www.thejapanesepage.com/node/kanji/7.htm

活 - Pour Out the Water of LIFE


Readings & Meanings:

カツ

active, live, activity

Common Usage:

活発

研究活動

生活

復活

復活祭

Examples:

活発な研究活動を続ける。

彼は酒に溺れて生活が乱れた。

キリストの復活を御祝いするのが復活祭だ。

Translations:

I'm continuing my vigorous research.

He drowned himself in sake and his life became disordered.

The celebration of Christ's rebirth is Easter.

Radical:

Ahh, our old friend, San-zui, the three-drop form of 水.

舌 is the phonetic. But waaait. 舌 is not じた, tongue. This 舌 is etymologically distinct from the tongue kanji. This one comes from a pictograph showing a carving tool over a hole. Thus, it showed a hole cut into some kind of vessel.

Later, the water radical was added to show liquid pouring out of that vessel. Kind of like pouring out your life, this kanji became associated with vigor and livlihood.

References:

http://www.kanjinetworks.com/indices/radindex.html
http://www.thejapanesepage.com/node/kanji/7.htm

勝 - WIN and Raise Yourself Up with Your Own Strength


Readings & Meanings:

か(つ)

ショウ

まさ(る)

Common Usage:

(_で)勝つ

勝ち気

勝負

Examples:

ポーカーで勝った。

あの人は勝ち気な人だ。

じゃんけんで勝負する。

Translations:

I won at poker.

That person is someone who is determined to win.

Let's have a match of rock, paper, scissors.

Radical:

Surprisingly, this kanji is organized as a 力-radical kanji. Chikara, 力, is in the bottom right corner.

The phonetic is everything else: 朕. This kanji is a pictogram of two hands, raising a boat.

Taking the idea of raising, and adding the "strength" of 力, you have someone who is raised above others by virtue of strength. Therefore, that person is the winner.

References:

http://www.kanjinetworks.com/indices/radindex.html
http://www.thejapanesepage.com/node/kanji/7.htm

Monday, May 5, 2008

傾 - TILT Your Head

Readings & Meanings:

かたむ(く)

ケイ

incline, lean

Common Usage:

傾く

首を傾げる

傾倒

傾向

Examples:

ピサの斜塔はどうして傾いているのだろう?

不思議がって首を傾げる。

60年代の若者たちの多くはビートルズの音楽に傾倒していた。

今年はストライプ柄が流行る傾向にあるようだ。

Translations:

Why does the Leaning Tower of Pisa lean forward?

I cock my head to the side in puzzlement at such wonders.

So many young people in the '60s admired/idolized the music of the Beatles.

It seems that this year's trend will be striped patterns.

Radical:

人 is our radical, on the left.

頃 is our phonetic. It's 頁(head) and a squished form of 化(transformation). It shows a head jerking up quickly.

Actually, 傾 replaced 頃 and took over the meaning of "tilt, incline."

References:

http://www.kanjinetworks.com/indices/radindex.html
http://www.thejapanesepage.com/node/kanji/7.htm

堅 - FORMALLY Bow To the Stiff, HARD Ground

Readings & Meanings:

かた(い)

ケン

firm

Common Usage:

口が堅い

堅苦しい

堅実

Examples:

彼女は口が堅い人だ。

堅苦しい服を着る。

堅実な職業に就く。

Translations:

She is a tight-lipped person (able to keep secrets).

I'm wearing formal clothes.

I got a stable job.

Radical:

土, Tsuchi, is our radical here on the bottom.

臤 is the phonetic, just as in . The part on the left is 臣, a pictograph of a slave's eyes cast down on the ground. The part on the right is 又, the action indicator. Together, they show a stiff, formal bow.

Together with 土, this kanji shows a stiff, formal bow that is as hard as the earth, thus meaning hard, firm, and also serious and formal.

Important:

This かたい contains also the meaning of formality. (See the Radical seciton above for an explanation of the slave element in the kanji.) As you know, Japanese has casual speech and formal speech. This かたい represents that kind of formality. Think of it as "stiff" and you should get the connection.

References:

http://www.kanjinetworks.com/indices/radindex.html
http://www.thejapanesepage.com/node/kanji/7.htm

硬 - Stretched HARD as a Rock

Readings & Meanings:

かた(い)

コウ

hard

Common Usage:

硬い

硬派

硬貨

Examples:

その筆は馬の硬い毛を使っている。

彼は硬派な男だ。

硬貨をポケットに入れた。

Translations:

That brush is made from the stiff hairs of a horse.

He's a tough-as-nails guy.

I put the coins in my pocket.

Radical:

Ishi-hen on the left, 石.

更 is the phonetic. You might recognize it from 便利. It's made up of 丙 (a table and two human legs being stretched) and 攴 (alternate form of 攵, hand and stick, action indicator). 更 means to tighten, renew, or stay up late.

Together, they indicate something stretched so tight it's hard as a rock.

Important:

This かたい is just to indicate physical hardness.

The opposite word is 軟, meaning physically soft.

References:

http://www.kanjinetworks.com/indices/radindex.html
http://www.thejapanesepage.com/node/kanji/7.htm

難 - It's DIFFICULT To Be Grilled over a Fire Like a Bird

Readings & Meanings:

かた(い)

ナン

むずか(しい)

にく(い)

difficult, disaster

Common Usage:

難しい

難解

難産

信じ難い(しんじかたい)

有り難い

分かり難い(わかりにくい)

Examples:

この物理の問題は難しい。

難解な問題を解く。

その赤ちゃんは難産の末、生まれた。

そんな話は信じ難い。

有り難く頂戴します。

彼の本心は分かり難い。

Translations:

This physics problem is hard.

I solve difficult problems.

At the end of a difficult labor, the baby was born.

That story is hard to believe.

I humbly receive (this present).

His true feelings are hard to know.

Radical:

隹 is the radical here, on the right. Its name is Furutori, because it's a pictograph of a short, plump bird without much of a tail.

On the left is the phonetic. While it doesn't stand alone any more, it used to mean grilling something over a fire, or drying out, and was included also in 漢.

So, it must be a difficult thing to be grilled over a fire like a small bird, right?

Important:

This かたい is relatively easy to discern from the other かたいs. This かたい is hard as in DIFFICULT. Also, this kanji is rarely read as "katai," but usually むずかしい or ナン (in combo with something else).

Grammar:

Usually written in hiragana, -にくい at the end of a masu-stem of a verb means "hard to (verb)." Take the masu stem (turn the verb into formal present tense: 食べるー>食べます, and then take off the ます) and put a にくいat the end and you have a very useful construction.

難 is the origin of this construction, but it is usually used as hiragana. This is a good thing, because, as we see in 信じ難い, sometimes it's read as かたい.

References:

http://www.kanjinetworks.com/indices/radindex.html
http://www.thejapanesepage.com/node/kanji/7.htm

固 - It's HARD To Think With This TIGHT Headband on my Skull

Readings & Meanings:

かた(い)



かた(める)

かた(まる)

solid, firm, hard

Common Usage:

固める

凝固剤

固定

Examples:

ゼリーを固める。

チーズには凝固剤が入っている。

棚を壁に固定する。

Translations:

The jelly is firming up.

I'm putting the coagulation agent into the cheese.

I'll fix the shelves to the wall.

Radical:

The box that surrounds this kanji is Kunigamae, 囗.

You probably recognize the inner kanji: 古. It's the same as in 古い, meaning old. But did you know that it's a pictograph of a skull? Skulls are old, indeed.

Part of 古's meaning is "hard." Another is "dried up."

Together, they depict something enclosed so tightly it can't move.

Important:

We're going to look at a lot of かたい words today.

This かたい has to do with being fixed or solid. Use it when you refer to something that is tightly fixed (with adhesive) to a surface, or use it when referring to solidity (picture molecules binding tightly to each other.

References:

http://www.kanjinetworks.com/indices/radindex.html
http://www.thejapanesepage.com/node/kanji/7.htm

Friday, May 2, 2008

肩 - SHOULDER of Meat


Readings & Meanings:

かた

ケン

shoulder

Common Usage:



肩甲骨

路肩(ろかた)

Examples:

肩が凝る。

肩甲骨にひびが入った。

路肩に草が生えている。

Translations:

My shoulders are stiff.

A crack has entered my shoulder blade.

Grass is growing on the shoulder of the road.

Radical:

月 radical, otherwise known as Tsuki. This is a case where the 月 kanji is standing in for the 肉 kanji, and it refers to flesh. When you see 月 hidden in a kanji, remember, it's probably a word for a body part.

The pictograph in 肩 is pretty straightforward. It's a limb hanging from a shoulderblade.

References:

http://www.kanjinetworks.com/indices/radindex.html
http://www.thejapanesepage.com/node/kanji/ka.htm

片 - Stay on Your SIDE of This PIECE of the Pallet

Readings & Meanings:

かた

ヘン

fragment, one-sided

Common Usage:

片付ける

片方

断片

片仮名

Examples:

部屋を片付ける。

片方の目に出来物ができた。

記憶の断片に残っている。

片仮名を覚えなさい。

Translations:

I'll tidy up the room.

I got an infection in one eye.

I still have a fragment of memory (of that incident).

Please remember katakana.

Radical:

片 is its own radical! Kata-hen is its name.

This is really funny: 片 is the reverse of 爿, a kanji that means a long, wooden sleeping pallet. They both show a log split in half. Therefore, "one side."

References:

http://www.kanjinetworks.com/indices/radindex.html
http://www.thejapanesepage.com/node/kanji/ka.htm

型 - The Prisoners Use Clay MOLDS for this TYPE of Cup

Readings & Meanings:

かた

ケイ

type

Common Usage:



模型

Examples:

型にはまった考え。

ケーキの型を買う。

飛行機の模型を作る。

Translations:

A cookie-cutter way of thinking.

I'll buy a cake mold.

I make model airplanes.

Radical:

土, Tsuchi, is our radical, way down on the bottom.

刑 is on top. It means "punish." If you remember 形, you'll see the same "frame" on the left. On the right is 刀, knife, emphasizing that it's an uncomfortable frame, like a prison.

So, when you have a "frame" and confine clay in it, the clay takes on that shape. Hence, it's a mold.

References:

http://www.kanjinetworks.com/indices/radindex.html
http://www.thejapanesepage.com/node/kanji/ka.htm

形 - Frame Your SHAPES

Readings & Meanings:

かたち

かた

ケイ

ギョウ

shape, form, type

Common Usage:



三角形

人形

Examples:

形のよいリンゴ。

三角形を書く。

五月人形を飾る。

Translations:

A good-shaped apple.

I draw a triangle.

I am displaying the Boy's Day dolls.

Radical:

Ah, a radical I've always wondered about! See the three hatchmarks on the side of 形? Those are the radical!

彡, さんづくり, or Sanzukuri, means pattern, typically, and shows a pattern of hatchmarks.

The left-hand phonetic is a version of a pictograph meaning frame. So these two abstract ideas combine to mean a general shape.

References:

http://www.kanjinetworks.com/indices/radindex.html
http://www.thejapanesepage.com/node/kanji/ka.htm

数 - COUNT Your Female Slaves


Readings & Meanings:

かず

スウ



かぞ(える)

count, number

Common Usage:



数える

数字

Examples:

リンゴの数を数える。

数字を覚えるのが苦手だ。

Translations:

Count the number of apples.

I have difficulty remembering numbers.

Radical:

攵, Bokuzukuri, is our radical. It just indicates an action.

The phonetic here has been simplified. The older version of this kanji was 數. So the phonetic is 婁. It contains 母, 中, and 女, and refers to female slaves being pulled along.

I guess, if you have female slaves, you'd better know how to count them.

References:

http://www.kanjinetworks.com/indices/radindex.html
http://www.thejapanesepage.com/node/kanji/ka.htm

Thursday, May 1, 2008

賢 - WISE in the Ways of Slaves and Shellfish


Readings & Meanings:

かしこ(い)

ケン

wise, clever, smart

Common Usage:

賢い

ずる賢い

賢明

賢人

Examples:

彼は賢い子供だが、時々ずる賢くもある。

彼はB大学に行かずにA大学に行く事に決めた。賢明な選択だ。

地元の賢人をたたえて、銅像を立てた。

Translations:

He is a very smart child, but also very cunning and street-smart.

He decided to go to College A and not College B. A wise choice.

We establish this bronze statue in memory of the local wise man.

Radical:

貝, Kai-hen, is our radical here.

臤 is our phonetic.

臣 is a pictograph of an eye looking down at the ground (suggesting a slave or servility). 又 is a hand, or, an action indicator. Unfortunately, breaking 臤 apart will do little to help us understand it, because its meaning of "wise" is borrowed and has nothing to do with its components.

I guess the addition of 貝 indicates a shrewdness on par with top economists...?

Bonus:



References:

http://www.kanjinetworks.com/indices/radindex.html
http://www.thejapanesepage.com/node/kanji/ka.htm

額 - What's the AMOUNT of People with Hard FOREHEADS?


Readings & Meanings:

ガク

ひた(い)

amount, forehead

Common Usage:

額 (ひたい)

額縁

金額

Examples:

この発明は、研究者が日々、額に汗して得た成果だ。

表彰状を額縁に入れる。

レジのおつりの金額が間違っていたので、差額を返した。

Translations:

This invention was the result of researchers every day sweating from their brows.

I'm putting the certificate into a frame.

The register's balance amount was not correct, so I had to make up the difference.

Radical:

Oogai is our radical this evening, 頁. It means "head." It's a pictograph of a kneeling person with a prominent head.

Our phonetic is 客, which is just an U-kammuri 宀 on top of our friend 各 (see previous posts).

各 can lend us the sense of "hard," and the forehead is the hard part of the head (for some more than others).

Amount comes from another meaning, "notice board." 額 could mean notice board, very rarely, and from a notice board you can read the amount of seating capacity. (So sayeth KN.)

References:

http://www.kanjinetworks.com/indices/radindex.html
http://www.thejapanesepage.com/node/kanji/ka.htm

革 - RENEW Your LEATHER Coat


Readings & Meanings:

カク

かわ

leather, reform

Common Usage:



皮革製品

革命

税制改革

Examples:

革のジャケットを買った。

皮革製品は手入れが面倒だ。

ロシア革命はマルクスの社会主義理論に基づいて遂行された。

与党主導の税制改革は失敗に終わった。

Translations:

I bought a leather jacket.

The repair of leather goods is troublesome.

The Russian Revolution was based on and accomplished by Marx's Socialist theory.

The government party's leader's tax reform ended in failure.

Radical:

革 is its own radical! Call it Kakunokawa.

The pictograph is of a stretched animal hide, with head and horns at the top and tail at the bottom, legs splayed out to the left and right.

References:

http://www.kanjinetworks.com/indices/radindex.html
http://www.thejapanesepage.com/node/kanji/ka.htm

確 - I'm CERTAIN That Bird Has a Stone


Readings & Meanings:

カク

たし(か)

たし(かめる)

make certain, certain

Common Usage:

確かめる

確認

確か

確定

Examples:

それが本当かどうか確かめる必要がある。

それが本当かどうか確認する必要がある。

これだけ勉強すれば、日本語検定2級合格は確かだ。

就職先が確定した。

Translations:

It's necessary to ascertain whether it's true or not.

It's necessary to confirm whether it's true or not.

If you only do this to study, passing the second-level of Japanese certification will be certain.

My next job has been decided.

Radical:

Ishi-hen, 石, will be our radical tonight.

The phonetic element is 隺. 隹 is a pictograph of a bird (a short and squat bird, not one with a long tail, like in 鳥). The cover 冖 adds the sense of that squat little bird flying over the horizon. A barely-visible speck in the sky.

石 is stone, of course. But think of it like a cold, hard fact. So you're investigating something hard to see and getting cold, hard facts, so as to be certain.

References:

http://www.kanjinetworks.com/indices/radindex.html
http://www.thejapanesepage.com/node/kanji/ka.htm

格 - That Tree's STATUS Wouldn't Be So High If Not For That Stick Propping It Up


Readings & Meanings:

カク

コウ

norm, status

Common Usage:

合格

人格

格が違う

Examples:

日本語検定2級に合格したい。

そんな事をいうなんて、彼の人格を疑うね。

俺は貴様のような奴とは格が違う。

Translations:

I want to pass the second-level Japanese certification test.

If he says such things, you have to doubt his character.

I am different (in class, in intelligence, on all levels) from people like you.

Radical:

Radical 木.

Phonetic 各. (see previous posts) Alone, 各 means each/every, but the pictograph shows a leg hitting a hard box. Take from that the idea of "hard."

So you've got a tree, which is supported by a hard something to be propped up.

References:

http://www.kanjinetworks.com/indices/radindex.html
http://www.thejapanesepage.com/node/kanji/ka.htm