Artemis Learns Kanji (2)

There is now a Google Spreadsheet with my overall progress! Feel free to comment suggestions and corrections.

It’s another week, and if I’m going to be serious about this, I really need to commit to writing these recaps or I might just fail. Last time, we went over a ton of numbers and some of the easier kanji for me to read. But the easy ones are now out of the way, we need to start expanding our vocabulary and kanji that we can at the very least recognize. The format will be the same for all of these posts.

Again, I’m going to put the disclaimer: This is not an instructional guide. This is just me learning, having fun, and being casual.


  • 女 : Woman
    • jo, onna

Looks like I left this one out of last week’s post. I learned man and woman together.


  • 子 : Child
    • shi | ko

You may remember this as being part of the 学 kanji from last week. Well, it’s back and I can remember to read it (at least, better than last time). I just remember this one as being ko as it is at the end of 男の子 (meaning ‘boy’) and 女の子 (meaning ‘girl’). The kanji for the adult is at the beginning of each set so it’s not hard to keep track of the gender.


  • 金 : gold
    • kin | kane

I readily read this one as gold. This one is actually pretty easy for me to remember. To me, it looks like a person in a house hugging something close to their body. What else would we hoard but our precious metals, or gold? Certainly not children. Who would want to hug those? I readily read this as kin more often than not. Probably because I have read it most frequently in 金曜日 which is ‘Friday’. And this is hilarious to me, because it kind of means ‘Golden Weekday’ and thinking of Friday as the ‘Golden Day’ is just amusing to me.


  • 私 : I
    • tsu | watashi

I read this as ‘watashi’ as it is often the first kanji of the sentences I construct to tell myself about what I am doing or what I will do. It’s actually not terribly difficult to remember. The radical on the right actually looks like ending of the kun reading, し. And since I see it so often, I think this one will cement itself nicely.


  • 外 : outside
    • gai, ge | hoka, hazu

I find this one often in 外国人 (meaning ‘foreigner’). I readily read this with its ‘on’ readings; I haven’t come across too many ‘kun’ readings yet. The radical (which is actually its own kanji) on the left, 夕 actually means evening. On the right, we see the katakana ト (to). I remember this one by remembering the infamous scene in ‘The Shining’. To me, 夕looks like a guy raising an axe above his head, and the ト looks like a door. So axe wielding Johnny is outside the door.


  • 夕 : evening
    • seki | yuu

I first came across this when I started looking at ghost stories. To me it looks like the katakana タ so that can get confusing in a vacuum but since katakana is used for ‘foreign words’ it’s not a problem. I can use common sense to tell me “Oh, that’s not a weirdly placed ‘ta’, it’s ‘yuu’.” Or at least I often read it as yuu.


  •  名 : name
    • mai | na

Keeping with the trend of using kanji with 夕 in them, this one means name that I will often pronounce as namae. At the end of kanji it seems to take the ‘on’ reading such as in 学校名 (gakkoumei, meaning ‘school name’).

I suppose while we’re here we can talk about 学校名 because it’s a great set of kanji to illustrate what I’ve learned. So I’m not so clear on the middle kanji. However, from last post we see that 学 means study and 名 means name. *Does a search*  校 means school. So what we have is study or learning + school + name. So I can deduce the word’s meaning from the kanji used in it. As far as pronunciation, well… like I said in the last post, I’ve only seen 学 pronounced in its ‘kun’ reading in one example, so I’ll always use its ‘on’ reading ‘gaku’ for it as a first guess. And ‘mai’ is another ‘on’ reading to name. And ‘kou’ only has ‘on’ readings. So what we have are three kanji that are all read using their ‘on’ readings. It also suggests the existence of a rule – in which if the last syllable of one word begins with the same consonant as the next, we insert a short pause in the pronunciation.

So base pronunciation for 学校名 is:

gaku + kou (or kyou) + mei  | がく + こう (きょう)+ めい

But ‘ku’ and ‘kou’ have the same sound at the beginning, so we add a pause and the pronunciation is:

ga + (pause) + kou + mei     | がっこうめい

(I realize it’s difficult to see but the っ above is actually shorter than the other characters, because it denotes a pause)


  • 電 : electricity
    • den

This one is so much fun to look at and write. It only has the ‘on’ reading and it means electricity. I come across it a lot because the news articles I read often mention train and  電車 (densha) means train. It comes up again in 電話 (denwa) which means phone. It just looks like something with a wire coming out of it. It’s beautiful. I love it.


  • 中 : middle, in
    • chuu | naka

I see this one a lot because the articles I have been reading lately about the Middle East     中東 (chuutou). It looks like something ground through the middle of the 口 (kuchi) kanji or alternatively putting something in the 口 (kuchi) kanji. Remembering of course that 口 means ‘mouth’.


Again, I’m just learning and if anyone wants to comment on corrections, tips, etc. on what I’ve posted above, please do so. I’m very much interested in any advice. My current methods are reading newspapers and using flashcard quizzes. But that’ll be it from me for today. Thanks for reading.

Artemis Hunt

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Artemis Learns Kanji (2)

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