The Joy o' Kanji Essays

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entrust
JOK: 1555
When we trust another (whether a babysitter or a bank) with what we care about most, 託 plays a key role. By using this kanji, we can consign goods and establish trust funds. This character also leads us into a world of bribery and conspiracy! Read about 託 to find out why a bank chose Peter Rabbit, a vegetable thief, as its mascot!
muddy
JOK: 1558
A lack of transparency holds fascinating secrets, and so it is with the muddiness of 濁. This kanji connects to evasive answers, impure hearts, and "muddy streams" in finance, plus muddied sounds, murkiness in the body and mind, and figurative birds that may or may not muddy waterways. Learn about saké production, and find out what "A bad boy drinks tea" could mean!
however
JOK: 1559
With 但 you can control others! When it means "provided that you do what I say," 但 enables you to lay down rules for other people's behavior! You can also use it to hedge your bets and cite exceptions to rules, saying things like "Free shipping! Remote islands excluded." Side discussions cover ways of interpreting and representing ただ, as well as the grammar of "if-then" statements.
rust; vermilion
JOK: 1563
Find out which hues 丹 represents. (It’s complicated!) Learn to use 丹 to discuss great effort and careful work. See how a mineral gave rise to the shape and meaning of our kanji, and find out why the ancient Chinese fatally consumed this mineral in the pursuit of immortality. Also see why the Japanese revere the peony, and read about its connection to mochi, windfalls, and shrimp.
gall bladder
JOK: 1564
Find out how 胆 and 肝 (liver) enjoy an incredibly close relationship. They're often interchangeable and collectively serve as a metaphor for profound compatibility. These organs supposedly work together to govern our minds and hearts, with the gallbladder supplying courage. Learn about a long-standing theory that bodily fluids such as bile even determine personality traits.
to temper
JOK: 1569
Learn about professionals who shape metal, and find out how to say, "He forged the steel into a sword." As 鍛 has strong ties to physical fitness, discover how to say, "Get in shape while you're young," "I save money, work out, and make movies," and "He showed off his toned body and physical beauty." Also learn to say, "The key to success lies in training" and "She never lacked self-discipline."
podium
JOK: 1571
An altar may be the spiritual center of a Buddhist household, but that doesn't mean it can't be heavily marketed. By studying text and photos used to sell all styles of household altars, you'll become an altar expert. Enjoy colorful photos of temple altars from Malaysia to Japan. Also find out about Edo-era execution methods and how they relate to a figurative expression used today.
immature
JOK: 1576
Although 稚 means 'immature' or 'childish,' this kanji often represents very young people who are no more to blame for their lack of readiness than half-baked bread is. Learn ways of saying things like "They were too naive to understand." Also discover the context behind kids in a festival procession who wear silk costumes and heavy makeup and who may be called "divine children."
store
JOK: 1579
With 蓄 you can stock up on valuable things, both physical and abstract. Learn to say, “The food supply will not last till then,” “He conserved his energy,” and “Save something for a rainy day.” With terms for “vast store of knowledge” and “depth of meaning” you’ll be able to say, “This essay is a distillation of everything he knows” and “She’s good at giving a meaningful answer.”
regularity
JOK: 1580
The 秩 kanji represents a type of orderliness way beyond the Marie Kondo kind. A life can be in order, though a sentence in the essay demonstrates what can happen: "His well-ordered life collapsed when his alcoholic brother showed up." Societies can be orderly, thanks to internalized social mores, the police, or martial law. Even the whole world has an order. Find out about all of this via 秩.
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