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The Kanji Readings & Meanings

1) chou, 2) tori - bird

Think of a bird in its nest

焼き鳥 yaki tori - grilled chicken
一石二鳥 isseki ni chou - one stone, two birds - to kill 2 birds with one stone
小鳥 ko tori - a small bird

1) ten, 2) mise - store, shop

開店 kai ten - the opening of a shop
喫茶店 kissaten - coffee shop
店員 ten in - attendant, clerk of the store

1) mon, 2) tou - question, ask, problem

Compare with gate mon []

問題 mon dai - problem
質問 shitsu mon - question
疑問 gi mon - question, doubt, problem

1) tou, 2) fuyu - winter

Think of a cloud dropping two snow flakes

冬眠 tou min - hibernation, winter sleep
冬休み fuyu yasumi - winter vacation
冬季 tou ki - winter season

1) dou, 2) tou, 3) michi - way, road, street, course

曲がり道 ma gari michi - a winding road
帰り道 kaeri michi - the way home
片道 kata michi - a one way (trip)

1) dou - hall

任天堂 nin ten dou - Nintendo video game company
食堂車 shoku dou sha - dining car
食堂 shoku dou - lunch room, cafeteria

1) toku - special

This is a very special kanji so don't confuse it with 'to wait' [- matsu]

特別 toku betsu - special
特に toku ni - especially, particularly
特技 toku gi - special skill

1) niku - meat

Two people [- hito] are walking into a restaurant for meat. Don't confuse with [- uchi]

皮肉 hi niku - irony, ironic
牛肉 gyuu niku - beef
筋肉 kin niku - muscle

1) ya, 2) sho, 3) no - plains, field

On the other side of a village [- sato] there is a field

荒野 ara no - wasteland, wilderness
野球 ya kyuu - baseball
長野県 nagano ken - Nagano prefecture

1) hatsu, 2) abaku, 3) tatsu - depart, start from, to happen

Think of it as a rocket launching to the stars

出発 shuppatsu - depart, leave
爆発 baku hatsu - explosion
発見 hakken - discovery
発明 hatsu mei - invention

1) han, 2) meshi - meal, cooked rice

The left part is from the kanji to eat [- shoku]

御飯 go han - rice, meal
朝ご飯 asa go han - breakfast
炊飯器 sui han ki - rice cooker

1) byou, 2) yamai, 3) yamu - ill, sick

病気 byou ki - sick
病院 byou in - hospital
急病 kyuu byou - sudden illness

1) fu, 2) bu - non-, negative, bad

This is useful for negating the following kanji

不可能 fu ka nou - impossible
不安 fu an - uneasy, unsure
不公平 fu kou hei - unfairness, injustice

1) fuku - clothing, obey

Obey me and wear moon [- getsu] clothing

洋服 you fuku - western style clothes
衣服 i fuku - clothes
服従 fuku juu - obedience

1) butsu, 2) motsu, 3) mono - thing, matter, object

This mono pertains to non human objects. The other mono [] is for people

植物 shoku butsu - plant life
物語 mono gatari - story, legend
食べ物 tabe mono - something to eat

1) bun, 2) mon, 3) fumi, 4) aya - sentence, literature

Someone crossing his legs and reading a book

文明 bun mei - civilization
文化 bun ka - culture
文具 bun gu - stationery
文章 bun shou - a sentence

1) betsu, 2) wakareru, 3) wakeru - separate, another, specially

The bottom left part is from the kanji for sword [- katana] and it thus separates it from other kanji

別荘 bessou - a second house
特別 toku betsu - special
別に betsu ni - it's not that important, not particularly

1) ben, 2) tsutomeru - exertion

It takes power [- chikara] to exert oneself

勉強 ben kyou - study
不勉強 fu ben kyou - idleness
勉強中 ben kyou chuu - in the midst of studying

1) moku, 2) boku, 3) me - eye

Think of a monster with three vertical eyes

一目ぼれ hito me bore - love at first sight
目的 moku teki - purpose, goal
左目 hidari me - left eye

1) you, 2) mochiiru - use, service, business

This is the moon [- tsuki] with a line in the middle

使用 shi you - use
用紙 you shi - paper, form
用意 you i - prepare
用心棒 you jin bou - body gaurd

1) ya, 2) yo, 3) yoru - night, evening

夜逃げ yo nige - flight in the night, fleeing in the night
今夜 kon ya - this evening
夜間 ya kan - night, night time

1) you - weekday

This is found in all 7 days of the week

何曜日 nan you bi - what day of the week?
金曜日 kin you bi - Friday
土曜日 do you bi - Saturday

1) you - the West, western style, ocean

The left means water and the right means sheep [- hitsuji]

洋服 you fuku - western style clothing
洋食 you shoku - western (foreign) food
洋画 you ga - foreign painting

1) ri - logic, reason, truth

Logic is found in the villages [- sato] not in the cities

理由 ri yuu - reason, cause
無理 mu ri - impossible, unreasonable
理科 ri ka - science

1) ryou - fee, materials

The part to the left means 'rice' [- kome] Rice is an essential material to pay for

料金 ryou kin - a charge, a fee
料理 ryou ri - cooking, dish
飲料 in ryou - a drink (written word)

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By Clay & Yumi Boutwell