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Most of the examples include kanji not learned yet (probably), but I think it is good for you to be exposed to kanji that you will later study. My suggestion is to look carefully at each kanji spending time reading the pronunciations and then carefully copying the examples to paper. Think of it as art and it can be fun, really!
The pronunciations in italics are the ''Chinese'' pronunciations and the boldface are the native Japanese readings. The pronunciations in
red are recommended to learn as they are the most useful.
Click here for the graphics version of this page


The Kanji Readings, Meanings & Examples

1) jitsu, 2) nichi, 3) hi, 4) ~ka (suffix for counting days) - the sun, day

Don't ask me why it isn't round!

ある日 aru hi - one day (as in: one day when I was a student...)
毎日 mai nichi - everyday
今日 kyou - today [irregular]
日曜日 nichi you bi - Sunday

1) gatsu (month names), 2) getsu (other times), 3) tsuki - month, the moon

This is a sun () with legs -- the moon runs faster around the earth, therefore it needs legs

一月 ichi gatsu - January [lit. 1st month]
今月 kon getsu - this month
tsuki - the moon
月曜日 getsu you bi - Monday

1) ka, 2) hi - fire, light

Think of it as sparks coming from a person

花火 hana bi - fireworks [note how the hi becomes a bi]
火花 hi bana - sparks [sometimes you can reverse kanji and get a different meaning - note here how the hana becomes bana]
火山 ka zan - volcano [lit. fire mountain]
火曜日 ka you bi - Tuesday

1) sui, 2) mizu - water

Squeeze a river (kawa) and you get water (mizu)

大水 oo mizu - flood [lit. big water]
水着 mizu gi - swimsuit, bathing suit
水曜日 sui you bi - Wednesday

1) moku, 2) boku, 3) ki - tree, wood

This is a tree with 2 low hanging branches

木登り ki nobori - tree climbing
松の木 matsu no ki - pine tree
木曜日 moku you bi - Thursday

1) kin, 2) kon - gold; 3) kane - money

Think of gold being buried deep within a hill

お金 okane - money [note: the o is added for 'respect.' You will see more of this o]
賞金 shou kin - prize money
金曜日 kin you bi - Friday

1) do, 2) to, 3) tsuchi - earth, ground, soil

It's a cross in the ground

粘土 nen do - clay
土地 to chi - ground, area, soil
土曜日 do you bi - Saturday

1) hon - book, counter for long, slender objects

Just as the kanji is made from ki () so is a book made from trees

日本 ni hon - Japan
絵本 e hon - a picture book (for children)
hon - a book

1) kyuu, 2) yasu(mi or mu) - rest, vacation

This is a picture of a person (left) resting against a tree

夏休み natsu yasumi - summer vacation
昼休み hiru yasumi - lunch break
お休みなさい oyasuminasai - 'Good night!'

1) go - word, speech, a language 2) katari - narration, 3) kata(ru) - to tell, to speak

I know this one looks difficult, but learn it! It is actually fun to write. You may recognize the parts. To the left is () which means to speak. The top right is () which you have learned to be 5 and the bottom is () which means mouth

日本語 ni hon go - Japanese
物語 mono gatari - a story, tale, legend
国語 koku go - national language (in Japan, Japanese)

1) nen, 2) toshi - year

一年 ichi nen - one year
二年前 ni nen mae - two years ago
去年 kyo nen - last year

1) go - noon

Be careful to not confuse this one with ushi (cow)

午後 go go - afternoon (PM)
午前 go zen - morning (AM)
午後二時 go go ni ji - 2 O'clock in the afternoon

1) zen, 2) mae - before, in front of, previous

Remember: there is a month in there

名前 na mae - name
前書き mae gaki - preface [lit. before the writing]
二年前 ni nen mae - two years ago-

1) go, 2) kou, 3) ushi(ro) - behind; 4) nochi - after

最後 sai go - the last, the end, conclusion
後ろ ushiro - behind
後書き ata gaki - postscript, afterword [lit. after the writing]

1) ji, 2) toki - time

The sun is very important in telling time:

時間 ji kan - time
時々 toki doki - sometimes [the character means to repeat]
江戸時代 e do ji dai - the Edo period
何時ですか? nan ji desu ka? - What time is it?

1) kan, 2) ken, 3) aida - interval, space 4) ma - interval, room, time

The is the kanji that means 'gate.' So in the interval of the gate there is a sun.

時間 ji kan - time
昼間 hiru ma - daytime
居間 i ma - living room

1) mai - every...

Every time you draw this kanji say, 'every'

毎日 mai nichi - everyday
毎朝 mai asa - every morning
毎週 mai shuu - every week

1) sen, 2) saki - previous, ahead

It has two legs so it always walks ahead

先生 sen sei - teacher
どうぞ、お先に douzo, osaki ni - Please go first.
先日 sen jitsu - the other day

1) kon, 2) kin, 3) ima - now, the present

It looks like someone with a hat is eating with his mouth wide open now

今月 kon getsu - this month
今晩は kon ban wa - Good night [lit. as for this night]
今度 kon do - next time [you would think this means this time!]

1) ka, 2) nani, 3) nan - what, how many

This is a useful one

何人 nan nin - how many people?
何か nani ka - something
何? nani? - What?
何時ですか? nan ji desu ka? - What time is it?

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By Clay & Yumi