The Joy o' Kanji Essays

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queen
JOK: 1724
Think you know what a princess is? This essay, which is largely organized around photos, illuminates the meanings of “princess,” “empress,” and “crown princess”; 妃 versus 姫; “regnant” versus “consort”; and much more. We look closely at Japan’s imperial household (especially Princess Masako), as well as royalty in Britain and France, even touching on Monaco and Manchuria!
exposed
JOK: 1726
With 披, it's as if trumpets have sounded. This kanji enables you to unveil plans, make announcements, debut songs, and show what you're capable of doing. Connected with introductions, displays, and performances, 披 pops up in contexts ranging from weddings to kabuki and Noh to sumo. But this kanji also has a sensitive side; with 披 you can pour out your innermost feelings.
shabby
JOK: 1727
Because 卑 means 'base, lowly, vile, vulgar, mean,' it acquaints us with uncouth human behavior. Then again, 卑 can also mean 'humble' (i.e., the opposite of 'arrogant'), which is definitely a positive quality, especially in Japan. With this essay you'll learn Japanese words for "self-deprecation," "vulgarity," "despicable," "low class," and "coward." You'll also encounter an expression that means "Too much humility is pride." After reading about 卑, you'll even know how to say, "my humble opinion," which is kind of like IMHO, but not quite!
door
JOK: 1730
Knowing 扉 will open doors for you! Learn about 扉 as a door to buildings, cabinets, shrines, and even trucks. Discover how the Japanese associate 扉, 戸, and ドア with different types of doors. See how 扉 works as a metaphorical door to the heart, the unknown world, and more. And find out how doors can connect to a goddess, book layouts, filleting methods, and even executions of war criminals.
tombstone
JOK: 1731
Japan abounds in stone monuments of all types. They commemorate individual lives, wars, peace, loyal service, and "aha!" moments that came to poets. By considering the spectrum of stone markers in Japan, we can understand what people have cared about and have sought to preserve. Don't miss this photo-rich essay, which looks at Japan from a very different angle.
quit
JOK: 1732
This kanji can be tough to remember, so the essay presents mnemonics for two yomi and the main meaning of 罷. Learn about the history of strikes in Japan and see how young people now perceive them. Find out how to say that a politician got the sack, British coalminers went on strike, and someone got away with something. Also learn to speculate about worst-case scenarios.
counter for animals
JOK: 1736
See why a horse’s rear appears on the front of this essay, particularly when a horse isn’t small. Find out how lone wolves differ from shut-ins, and see why one Japanese author critiqued Japan as a “lone wolf country.” Learn to say “Her English is as good as the teacher’s” and “He keeps some mice for research purposes.” Discover what it takes to be a manly man in Japan!
ooze
JOK: 1737
Find out what urination and secretion have in common in Japanese, read about the endocrine and exocrine systems, learn which substances we secrete rather than excrete, and see why urology and dermatology are closely associated in Japan. Learn to say, "An excessive lifestyle throws hormones out of balance." Also see which animal secretions you can buy and why you might want them!
drift about
JOK: 1739
Drift on the sea, on land, or in the sky with 漂! Also find out how to say the following: “The boat was drifting in the ocean,” “The balloon floated off to the west,” “The aroma of coffee wafted through the room,” “Smoke from factories hung over the town,” “The mood at the conference soured,” “I wandered around the unknown street aimlessly,” and “The tide carried the boat out to sea.”
seedling
JOK: 1740
Find out about the literal side of 苗 (e.g., all that happens before rice seedlings go into paddies) and the figurative aspects of 苗 (e.g., when the "seedlings" of a culture bear delicious fruits). See how seedlings played key roles in "The Mutiny on the Bounty" and in one Nobel Peace Prize winner's work. Also discover why 苗 can mean "Hmong" and how it relates to smallpox.
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