Kanji Hacks 漢字の覚え方

How to memorize kanji so they stick

冂(えんがまえ)

Meaning: same

My hack: I like to think of this as a little enclosure, like a fence. You draw an enclosure around things that are the same; so the sheep are in this pen, pigs in another, cows in another….

June 14, 2009 Posted by | 2 strokes, Radicals | Leave a comment

𠆢 (やね)

Meaning: roof

My hack: not much need for one, since it looks like a roof. Think of a park pavilion.

May 16, 2009 Posted by | 2 strokes, Radicals | 5 Comments

冖(わかんむり)

Meaning: cover

My hack: it looks like a cross section of a box lid.

April 24, 2009 Posted by | 2 strokes, Radicals | , , , | Leave a comment

刀(かたな、トウ)

Meaning: sword

My hack: Some took a sword and cut off the power (as in 力).

Other versions: 刂

This actually looks a lot more like a sword than the main version. Go figure.

April 20, 2009 Posted by | 2 strokes, Grade 2, JLPT 1, Radicals | , , , , | Leave a comment

匕(さじのひ)

Meaning: spoon

My hack: To me this looks like a baby sitting on the floor with arms reaching up. Maybe he’s waiting for someone to feed him with a spoon.

April 19, 2009 Posted by | 2 strokes, Radicals | , , , , | Leave a comment

丁(チョウ、テイ)

Meaning: town, street

My hack: it looks like a T intersection of 2 streets in a little town.

April 16, 2009 Posted by | 2 strokes, Grade 3, JLPT 1 | , , , , | Leave a comment

Meaning: elbow

My hack: It does kind of look like an elbow. Imagine a stick figure lifting weights. (See option C below).

April 8, 2009 Posted by | 2 strokes, Radicals | , , , , | Leave a comment

Arrow (“mini-radical”)

arrow2

This is not a real radical, but since it comes up so often it is handy to have a meaning for it, even if it is made up. I believe Heisig calls this an “arrow” (does anyone know?) and that’s how I think of it.

My hack: The first stroke is the string on the bow where you pull the arrow back, and the horizontal line is the arrow.

OR

You could remember it as “no one” since it looks like the katakana ノ and the kanji 一.

April 3, 2009 Posted by | 2 strokes, Radicals | , , , , | Leave a comment

儿 (legs)

Meaning: legs

My hack: not that there is a need for one, but imagine stick figure legs. The right one is wearing an elf shoe.

March 24, 2009 Posted by | 2 strokes, Radicals | , , , , | Leave a comment

亠(なべぶた)

Meaning: pot lid

My hack: Well, it does look like a pot lid, doesn’t it?

March 20, 2009 Posted by | 2 strokes, Radicals | , , , , | Leave a comment

十(とう、と、ジュウ、ジッ)

Meaning: ten

My hack: the Roman numeral for 10 is X; just rotate it a bit.

February 27, 2009 Posted by | 2 strokes, Grade 1, JLPT 4, Radicals | , , , , | 3 Comments

力(ちから、リョク、リキ)

Meaning: power, strength

My hack: It kind of looks like the right side of a picture of a body builder showing off his strength.

Cover the left side of this photo:

February 27, 2009 Posted by | 2 strokes, Grade 1, JLPT 4, Radicals | , , , , | 2 Comments

八(や、よ、ハチ)

Meaning: eight

My hack: Um, these simple ones are harder to do. If you hold your hands up  with the fingertips close together, you get 4 fingers plus 4 fingers =8. It’s a stretch, I know.

February 27, 2009 Posted by | 2 strokes, Grade 1, JLPT 4, Radicals | , , , , | 2 Comments

入(い·る、はい·る、ニュウ)

Meaning: to enter, to go in, insert

My hack: I’m imagining a person shouting “I’m going in!” and then striding really fast. That little extra bit at the top is the hair streaming behind.

February 26, 2009 Posted by | 2 strokes, Grade 1, JLPT 4, Radicals | , , , , | Leave a comment

人(ひと、ジン、ニン)

Meaning: person

My hack: It’s a person walking, like those sand drawings they used to have on Sesame Street.

You should also know that when this is a radical it looks like this: 亻  Just rotate the original a bit, or you can imagine it’s a side view of a person bowing slightly.

February 26, 2009 Posted by | 2 strokes, Grade 1, JLPT 4, Radicals | , , , , | Leave a comment

二(ふた、ニ)

Meaning: two

Again, kind of self-explanatory.

February 26, 2009 Posted by | 2 strokes, Grade 1, JLPT 4, Radicals | , , , , | Leave a comment

九(ここの、キュウ、ク)

Meaning: nine

Components: fish hook and katakana ノ.

My hack: No(ノ) way is a Hawaiian fish hook necklace considered dressing to the nines.

February 26, 2009 Posted by | 2 strokes, Grade 1, JLPT 4 | , , , , | Leave a comment