Kanji Hacks 漢字の覚え方

How to memorize kanji so they stick


Meaning: year

Components: ノ (katakana), 干 (to dry), or 三 (three)

My hack: “No way will I finish in 2 and a half or 3 years.” The first line is ノ, then 二 where the short vertical line is the “half,” and the final horizontal line makes it 三. The final stroke you’ll just have to remember, I guess.

I also have a hack to remember the stroke order since this one is tricky: start at the top left, and pretend you are Harold with the purple crayon and you have the draw all the steps to get down (“down” being the final vertical line).


March 31, 2009 Posted by | 6 strokes, Grade 1, JLPT 4 | , , , , | Leave a comment


Meaning: to dry (something)

Components: 二 (two), 丨(walking stick)

My hack: If you want to dry something, just stretch it over 2 sticks (and let it air dry).

March 31, 2009 Posted by | 3 strokes, Grade 6, JLPT 2, Radicals | , , , , | Leave a comment


Meaning: character, letter

Components: 宀 (no particular meaning) and 子 (child)

My hack: When you’re thinking about how many characters you have to memorize, you say, “oo (ウ) child! (That’s a lot of kanji!)”

March 31, 2009 Posted by | 6 strokes, Grade 1, JLPT 3 | , , , , | Leave a comment

宀 (うかんむり)

Meaning: there is no official meaning to this one, so just come up with a way to remember this as a set. Make up your own meaning if it helps.

My hack: it looks kind of like the katakana ウ without the tail on the end.

NOTE: don’t confuse this one with 亠 (pot lid)!

March 31, 2009 Posted by | 3 strokes, Radicals | , , , , | 1 Comment