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JOY O' KANJI

The Joy o' Kanji Essays

Welcome to Joy o’ Kanji, which will enable you to discover the joy of kanji! Below you’ll find introductions to detailed essays covering every aspect of each Jōyō kanji. Through loads of sample sentences and images containing the character in question, the essays give you the real-world experience you need so you can master kanji. You can download the essays in PDF form. After reading them, you can play games and use flashcards to work with the vocabulary and sentences from the essay.
These essays come from our partner, Joy o' Kanji.
More info about Joy o' Kanji
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endure
JOK: 1104
Explore two interrelated on-yomi and four stunningly similar kun-yomi for 堪. These readings enable you to say, “I can’t take this anymore,” “Let’s hang in there till help comes,” “The cottage will not withstand strong winds,” “I’m dying to see her,” and much more. Find out how the rhetorical question “How can I put up with it if I lose?!” really conveys the bold statement “I will never lose.”
lenient
JOK: 1110
Old copper coins with square holes. The fossilized hipbone of an elephant. Having a generous, benevolent, and magnanimous disposition. Letting your hair down and making yourself at home. Feeling uncomfortable with strangers. Being tolerant of diversity and open to various religions. Begging for forgiveness. Going easy on people.... All of these concepts connect to 寛. Find out how!
remorse
JOK: 1113
After reading this essay, you'll be able to understand scripted apologies devoid of sincerity; lambast something as "utterly deplorable"; say, "Your behavior leaves much to be desired"; and differentiate grudges fueled by resentment from those fueled by regret. You'll also know how the poet Basho made a region complain about its gloominess and how a piano prodigy publicized his regrets.
ogre
JOK: 1128
The oni (鬼), the Japanese devil or demon, is elusive. It's hard to find images of this supernatural creature at temples or elsewhere in Japan. On the other hand, devils and demons work their way into our lives much more than we might realize. In Japanese, 鬼 references are pervasive. Find out when 鬼 is a term of endearment and when it's an insult. Learn about a folktale (in which Momotaro travels to Devil's Island) and the holiday called Setsubun. Finally, see how 鬼 functions as a radical or component in several Joyo kanji.
shine
JOK: 1132
This kanji will make your eyes sparkle with joy! Using 輝, you can discuss the shining moon, shoes that gleam, and buildings ablaze with lights. You can also use 輝く figuratively to talk about shining in public speaking and living a radiant life with a brilliant future. Find out how to say “She has glossy hair,” “A meal without wine is like a day without sunshine,” and “I noticed a glint in her eyes.”
equestrian
JOK: 1133
Find out about a Japanese tradition of shooting at archery targets from galloping horses. Learn the courteous rituals samurai engaged in before killing each other. See what "white knight" means to Japanese businesspeople. Also discover a theory linking the Japanese and Mongols, a military term related to dragons, and a word relevant both to controlling a horse and to nigiri sushi.
chrysanthemum
JOK: 1141
Chrysanthemums are all-important in Japan. The imperial chrysanthemum seal pops up on coins, passports, and battleships. People eat these flowers, drink them, and dress dolls with them. There are mum festivals and a chrysanthemum month. We find 菊 in the names of movies, animals, and a stone. It has worked its way into folklore and is even in slang for a body part!
cram
JOK: 1144
The kanji 詰 shows up in word after word about feeling stuck, being at a loss, arriving at a dead end, giving someone little space (emotionally speaking), and packing people into a tight place. Learn how to talk about being "jam-packed" (think of a Tokyo subway at rush hour), feeling "ill at ease," and being "at a loss for words."
twist
JOK: 1151
Bringing together strands of yarn seems harmless, but with 糾 this act can be menacing. Once just a depiction of twisting strands into a rope, 糾 now also involves criminal investigations, interrogations, and denunciations. The essay explores all that and touches on a dam in the works since 1947, a government policy of abandoning those in need, and communist influence on Japan.
refuse
JOK: 1154
Sometimes you just have to say no. With 拒 you can turn down requests and offers (e.g., marriage proposals), refuse to pay or to take money, reject advice, and refuse to go places. You can also use 拒 to say, "I refuse to answer the question," "The government refuses to bow to public pressure," “They denied asylum to refugees,” and "She automatically dismisses talk of the supernatural."
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Change component list
By default the component builder shows the most common components (themselves joyo kanji, or used in at least 3 other joyo kanji). Select an alternative set of components below.



Full details of all components and their English names can be found here.
Help with the component builder
For detailed instructions, see the Component builder how to guide.
To find any kanji, first try to identify the components it is made up of.
For any components you recognize, if you know the English meaning or name, start typing it in the text area. Full details of all components and their English names can be found here.
Alternatively, count the strokes of the component, and scan the list to find it visually.
Example
To find the kanji :
  • Notice that it is made of several components: 氵 艹 口 夫.
  • 氵 艹 口 all have three strokes, so you could look in the list in the 3 stroke section. 夫 has four strokes.
  • Alternatively, you could start typing 'water' (氵), 'grass' (艹), 'mouth' (口) or 'husband' (夫) in the search area, and the components will be highlighted in yellow.
  • Keep adding components until you can see your kanji in the list of matches that appears near the top.