Kanji Hacks 漢字の覚え方

How to memorize kanji so they stick

車(くるま、シャ)

Meaning: car

My hack: This looks like a bird’s eye view of a chariot, which was the car of its day I suppose.

Photo by joaquinuy

Photo by joaquinuy

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April 22, 2009 Posted by | 7 strokes, Grade 1, JLPT 4, Radicals | , , , , | 2 Comments

足(あし、た・りる、た・る、た・す、ソク)

Meaning: leg/foot, enough

Components: 口 (mouth), and it looks a lot like 疋 (bolt of cloth)

My hack: To me, this really looks like a cartoon of a person running (“fleet of foot“). That 6th stroke could also remind you of an oversized foot.

April 22, 2009 Posted by | 7 strokes, Grade 1, JLPT 3, Radicals | , , , , | Leave a comment

赤(あか、あか・らむ、セキ、シャク)

Meaning: red

Components: 土 (earth, dirt), 刂(sword)

My hack: In Hawaii there is that red dirt, and not even a sword can get those spots (the last 2 strokes) out of your clothes.

April 20, 2009 Posted by | 7 strokes, Grade 1, JLPT 3, Radicals | , , , , | Leave a comment

貝(かい)

Meaning: shell

Components: 目 (eye), and something close to 八 (eight) or the katakana ハ.

My hack: I remember this one visually, with the horizontal lines representing the lines in the shell. The 2 final strokes are the little “legs” that stick out of the shell, or alternatively they can be water being squirted out of the shell.

clam_1_md

April 20, 2009 Posted by | 7 strokes, Grade 1, JLPT 2, Radicals | , , , , | Leave a comment

花(はな、カ)

Meaning: flower

Components: 艹(grass), 化 (change)

My hack: A flower is a kind of plant, so we have to have 艹, and flowers change more quickly than any other plants (i.e. the blooms die).

OR

the 化 part could be a person on the left, and another person on the right on his/her knees holding a bouquet of flowers behind his/her back.

April 19, 2009 Posted by | 7 strokes, Grade 1, JLPT 3 | , , , , | Leave a comment

見(み・る、み・える、み・せる、ケン)

Meaning: see

Components: 目 (eye), 儿(legs)

My hack: I like to think of the legs as making the eye work (making it into a verb), meaning to see.

OR

My grandma used to say “keep your eyes out on sticks” when looking for something. That’s similar to “see.”

April 18, 2009 Posted by | 7 strokes, Grade 1, JLPT 4, Radicals | , , , , | 1 Comment

町(まち、チョウ)

Meaning: town

Components: 田 (rice field), 丁 (town)

My hack: A town is not as big as a city, so it would not be surprising to find one surrounded by rice fields. Here there is a T-intersection in the town right next to a field.

April 16, 2009 Posted by | 7 strokes, Grade 1, JLPT 3 | , , , , | Leave a comment

男(おとこ、ダン、ナン)

Meaning: man, male

Components: 田 (rice field), 力 (strength, power)

My hack: This is not historically accurate, but the man is the power in the field (i.e., does all the hard labor in the field).

April 14, 2009 Posted by | 7 strokes, Grade 1, JLPT 4 | , , , , | Leave a comment

村(むら、ソン)

Meaning: village

Components: 木 (tree, wood), 寸 (measurement/inch or glue)

My hack: I think of a village surrounded by a wooden fence, with the slats just an inch or so apart.

April 12, 2009 Posted by | 7 strokes, Grade 1, JLPT 2 | , , , , | Leave a comment