The Joy o' Kanji Essays

Show: Sort:
Search for essays:
ditch
JOK: 1824
Through this photo-rich essay (which includes gorgeous pictures of castle towers alongside moats), you'll learn why the Japanese sometimes created dry moats, how moats with lattice bottoms deterred enemies, how moat layout related to socioeconomic strata, how both moats and canals have left marks on Tokyo and Osaka, what it means to "bridge a moat" figuratively, and more!
bustle
JOK: 1825
Find out how to say, “I was on the go all day,” “He is busy with fundraising,” “thanks to his efforts,” and “He ran down the road frantically.” Learn to read between the lines of this sentence: “He disobeyed his parents and ran away from his hometown.” And see how 奔 enables people to slip free of social mores, acting with wild abandon and even doing some “freewheeling” cooking!
flutter
JOK: 1826
The Japanese associate a fluttering flag with 翻, the kanji that heads off 翻訳 (translation). See what bridges the two concepts, as well as the idea of changing one’s mind, adapting a novel, dodging a tackle, rising in revolt, toying with someone, and doing a somersault! Find out how to say, “Everything has to be considered from another angle” and “This word does not translate well.”
simple
JOK: 1827
This cute kanji has a wounding message: you’re not nearly good enough! The essay is about nobodies. Find out how to say, “I saw at a glance that he was an ordinary man,” “I’m not a genius, just a mediocre person,” and “The professor’s idea is far beyond ordinary people’s imagination.” Also learn to talk about stupid mistakes and see why 凡 has a connection to baseball!
flax; flux
JOK: 1829
This essay will be totally rad, man. That is, it's about 麻, which means "hemp" and can serve as the "hemp" radical. The essay presents Japanese terms for "marijuana" and other opiates, as well as "drug addiction," "torpor," "anesthetic," and "paralysis." Oh, and there's also talk of sesame seeds and brown-nosing.
polish
JOK: 1831
The definitions of 磨 present contradictions. Polishing is gentle, but grinding is harsh. With the versatile 磨, you can say you've brushed your teeth, scraped pans, worn out shoes, and improved your skills. This kanji helps form the word for "Daruma." Find out why this popular round doll has crane-shaped eyebrows, a blank eye, and connections to snow and fire, as well as goal setting.
again
JOK: 1835
Though 又 looks simple and has just one Joyo yomi, it's not so straightforward, as it can mean opposite things: "and" and "or." Mostly, it means "again," which also seems simple, but emotionally it's not. When things happen repeatedly, we have strong feelings, as we see in songs such as "When Will I See You Again?" or "I'll Never Love This Way Again." Because people often sing about repeating patterns in life, and because songs are inherently cyclical, I've found musical pairings for each nuance of 'again," much as a sommelier finds wine to accompany any given dish. You'll be tapping your toes and singing along as you read! You'll also learn about 又 as a radical.
erase
JOK: 1836
Find out everything you've wanted to know about matcha (powdered green tea) but were afraid to ask! See who first produced it and when, its role in the tea ceremony, and how matcha differs from a similar tea given for free at restaurants. Discover what people blend matcha with, from salt to beer! Also learn how 抹 relates to incense, whales, erasure, brushstrokes, and Denmark!
ridicule
JOK: 1837
Many 慢 terms involve pride. These words run the gamut from healthy self-regard (in a few cases) to pompous self-importance (much more of the time). However, 慢 also plays a role in 我慢 (がまん: patience), an incredibly positive quality that the Japanese revere. The essay explains how this is possible and examines various views on what 我慢 truly means in Japanese culture.
random
JOK: 1838
There's water in 漫! See why! Also learn why the "man-" of "manga" means "random" and what "manga" used to mean, as well as the history of manga. Discover terms for "yelling at someone for no good reason," "browsing," and other random acts. Also learn to talk about unrestrained speech, out-of-hand government spending, a pervasive smell, and a riot of cherry blossoms.
Kanshudo is your AI Japanese tutor, and your constant companion on the road to mastery of the Japanese language. To get started learning Japanese, just follow the study recommendations on your Dashboard. You can use Quick search (accessible using the icon at the top of every page) to look up any Japanese word, kanji or grammar point, as well as to find anything on Kanshudo quickly. For an overview, take the tour.
×