The Joy o' Kanji Essays

This page provides a synopsis of all 535 kanji that have so far been featured by Joy o' Kanji. Each section provides the ability to purchase and download a kanji essay (), study flashcards for the essay content (), play entertaining study games (), or view the kanji's details on Kanshudo ().
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enlightenment
JOK: 1239
Do you know how to talk about preparing for the worst outcome or selling items at a loss? Can you translate the following: "At last he realized that he was mistaken," "I noticed some kind of glint in her eyes," "They were ready to run the risk of being shot by the enemy," and "How can one become enlightened?" Find out about all this and much more, including baseball players' wisdom.
cavity
JOK: 1241
It makes sense to find our kanji as “hole” in terms such as “nostril,” “porous,” “perforation,” “vent,” and “buttonhole.” What a surprise, though, to discover its connections to Confucius on the one hand and peacocks on the other. By studying peacocks we end up contemplating ancient Indian beliefs, ferns, malachite, and the dining habits of medieval elites from Europe to Japan!
stream
JOK: 1244
This essay immerses you in Edo (the old name for Tokyo) and its cultural, linguistic, and botanical legacies. Read about Edo-style sushi (which you likely love!), see what characterizes a true Edoite/Tokyoite, and find out what "Little Edo" and "Big Edo" mean now. Learn to read 江 in several names, some famous. Also meet the alligators and dolphins associated with the Yangtze River!
pit
JOK: 1245
Japan is rich in minerals (learn why), and its mines have influenced the nation's history, economy, and activism, from the environmental movement to strikes and unions. Learn what the Yamashita Treasure is, and see how people use "canary in a coal mine." Find out why Ashio Copper Mine is on a par with Minamata and has mattered to Soseki, Haruki Murakami, and Jay Rubin.
again
JOK: 1248
See how the four Joyo yomi of 更 will take you in very different directions. With ふ•ける and ふ•かす, you can stay up late. With さら, you can talk about what's new. By adding hiragana to さら, you produce adverbs, such as one for 'furthermore.' Finally, コウ means 'change' in terms for 'renewal,' 'revision,' and 'rehabilitation.' As a bonus, learn what it means to change clothes in Japan!
agreement
JOK: 1250
You’ll be nodding your head in agreement as you discover terms for “consent” and “affirmation,” as well as “self-esteem.” Learn to say, “The author received a bunch of positive reviews,” “The answer was yes,” “There are many positive opinions about the original plan,” “I cannot agree with that opinion,” and “He nodded as he listened attentively to my speech.”
constancy
JOK: 1251
Find out what's "fixed" about a star - and why a planet conversely seems confused! Then come back to Earth to focus on steady livelihoods, annual events, constant wars, and permanent peace. See how "constant river sand" traveled from India through China into Buddhism and even further from there. And learn how a poisoning scandal from 1955 could help Fukushima victims.
flood
JOK: 1252
Learn how floods pose a serious threat in ultra-rainy Japan, which now has the world's largest underground flood-prevention facility. Find out how to talk about real and figurative floods. Hear Okinawan "flood myths," and see what the Japanese say about Noah's flood. Examine 洪 in the names of a huge bell, famous ship, well-known doctor, star athlete, and two countries.
suburbs
JOK: 1254
The difference between cities and suburbs is hard to discern in Japan. A Japanese city includes the surrounding area, even if it is mountainous or rural. Read about that and learn to talk about city outskirts and suburbs. Also discover a term for any city located 1 to 1.5 hours by train from a metropolis, see where the Japanese do urban farming, and find out about so-called new towns.
fragrance
JOK: 1255
With a plethora of photos, this essay shows how 香 conveys the scent of everything from coffee to flowers in signs from around the globe. This kanji also means "incense" (which has played an important role in Japanese culture and religion for centuries), as well as 'perfume' (which hasn't). On top of that, 香 factors into two notable place names and some food terms. It's even a radical!
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