Saturday, March 25, 2006

山 looks like mountain!

The blow 5 kanji made from their shapes.
Click the picure to expand.
Can you guess which kanji describes which picture?

There is the answer in the blow explanations.

These are simple, basic and important kanji.
Japanese people learn them for first year of elementary school.
These kanji almost look like pictures!
Don’t you think so?

By the way, the above kanji, especially , and are often used in Japanese family names because a lot of Japanese people decided their family name depend on where they lived.
Do you have any Japanese friends with these kanji?

These are example words including the above kanji.


田んぼ(tanbo):rice field
田植え(taue):rice planting


門番(monban):doorkeeper, gatekeeper

川原(kawara):riverbank, river side
ナイル川(nairu gawa):Nile river

There are a lot of kanji made from the shape.
But some of them are too difficult (actually almost impossible!) to tell the meaning from the kanji.

means "old"
This kanji (should) look like old person who cannot stand straight.

means "meat"
This kanji (should) look like meat with nerve.

means "egg"
This kanji (should) look like eggs of fish or frog.

Hmm... what do you think!?


  1. The Kanji for meat looks like meat that was hung up to dry (or hung up in a smokehouse). That's how I remember it.

    (do a google image search for "smokehouse" to see why I think this).

  2. I took this photo for the Kanji symbol for bird...

    I think it looks like a small bird... what about you?

    I just started working on making a flash card slide show in Macromedia Flash. I will use photos that I take along with the Japanese word.

    Seeing a picture with the Japanese word really help me to remember it... much better than just seeing the word by itself.

    Once I have a few flash cards made, I'll send you the link...

  3. I can definately see those basic 5 kanji being what they're representing. Some, in my opinion, require a bit of imagination. For example, according to my textbook Nakama, 私 is supposed to look like a grain stalk and a sickle. The idea being that the person who cuts down the grain stalk is yourself, since you'll be eating of that grain. That somehow doesn't seem belivable, since I'm not a farmer so its hard to see that picture. If you think hard enough on it, you can see this idea in your head.

    Once you get the hang of it, I think other more complicated kanji become easier to see. 愛 is another one our teacher helped us remember. Unfortunately, he's a little perverted so I won't repeat how he got us to remember it (it was very weird to hear him talk about such stuff in class).

    -Christopher (who now has a blogger account)

  4. 富士山 : fuji-san

    rich, earth(ground) Mountain?

    My wife's parents hometown is Kumagaya... which the kanji symbols mean "bear valley"...

    were there bears in japan at one time?

  5. >Andy in San Diego and Elsewhere

    Since I read your comments, the kanji for meat looks meat...!
    Also the kanji for egg looks like strung eggs .
    Don't you think so?
    I'll try to teach my students these kanji with drawing from now on. (^ ^)

    >Life in the superStructure

    The kanji of your photo for bird looks like bird!
    That's an sign for a restaurant, right? (^ ^)
    I think it's a good idea to remember kanji with pictures, too.
    Looking forward to your new photos for kanji.
    I'll try to write more blog about kanji from the shape, too.

    There are still some wild bears in Japan.
    (Maybe in Kumagaya, too!)
    We sometimes hear news about bears, like people were attacked by bear and they haven't found the bear yet... something like that...
    That's scary, isn't it!??
    Are there bears in your hometown?

    >Christopher who now has a blogger account

    Congratulations on having blogger account! (^o^)

    In my dictionary, the explanation for the kanji 私 (watashi) is almost same as your explanation, too.

    The left part describes "crop, grain".
    The right part describes "holding, monopoly".

    I didn't know the history of the kanji 私, in spite of using the word everyday!

    About the kanji for love, 愛 (ai), the hisory is quite complecated...
    My dictionary says the kanji describes "a person feels sad, so it's difficult to him/her to walk straight".

    By the way, what does it mean? (^ ^;)

    >it was very weird to hear him talk about such stuff in class

  6. well my home town is in Florida, there are still black bears. But I just moved to Japan from Alberta, Canada were last year a few people were killed by bears.

    This is a link to a movie I would like to see about a man who got a little to close to the Grizzly bears....

  7. Wow!
    That movie seems scary but interesting, too!