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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free time
JOK: 1050
Find out which famous author called himself Godzilla's egg! See how two terms for "to give vacation time" can also mean "to fire" and "to divorce one's wife"! Learn to talk about filling free time, being unable to spare any time, killing time, not wasting a moment, and taking a paid day off. Also discover how to say "Firefighting is a feast-or-famine job" and "I was out of town on vacation."
shoes
JOK: 1052
How did Japan come to make shoes from straw and wood? Why is the "leather" radical all but useless in 靴? How can you say "break in shoes," "tie shoelaces," and "wear two hats (actually shoes!)" in Japanese? How can "red shoes" not be shoes, and who in Japan famously wore red shoes? How have Japanese shoes indicated status? Find out all of these answers and much more!
item
JOK: 1054
Have you been confused about -箇 versus -個 as a counter? If so, you're not alone. This problem has existed for millennia! To complicate matters further, the Japanese generally replace -箇 with -か, -カ, -ヵ, -ケ, or -ヶ. And one doesn't even pronounce -ケ as け! This essay sorts out all such muddles and puts 箇 "in its place," showing how to use it to mean "place" and how to count places.
work
JOK: 1055
This Jekyll and Hyde character represents both hard work and thievery, and the samurai may have given 稼 its shady connotation! Learn to say, “I earn my keep,” “Losing their breadwinner was a shock to that family,” “I’ll make a little money, and Mr. White will never know,” “The factory is running at full capacity,” “It seems you're raking in the money,” and “I wish I earned more money.”
everyone
JOK: 1064
Find out about a kanji that invites you to make sweeping statements. Rich in sample sentences, this essay teaches you to say, "They were all confused," "Our professor paid for us all," "I don't like any of them," "How's everyone at the Hong Kong office?" and "May I please have your attention." See how 皆 connects to Buddhist thought, fabric dyeing, health insurance, and eclipses.
clod
JOK: 1065
If you're a 'lump' of something in Japanese, you have too much of one quality, as if you were actually made of that thing. When lobbing such criticism, people combine 塊 with abstract nouns. For instance, "利己心の塊 (りこしんのかたまり: lump of selfishness)" means that someone is the very incarnation of selfishness. Learn about lumps, from the literal to the metaphorical. Also find out how to talk about clusters in space and time.
shore
JOK: 1069
Do you consider the horizon to be far away or close to you? It seems that English and Japanese have opposite takes on this issue. Find out about that in this investigation of 涯, which means "horizon." It also means 'outer limits,' so this character gives a sense of the lines that circumscribe one's world. For instance, if it's your lot in life to be stuck living near dreadful relatives, you can convey that with 涯 (well, actually, with 境涯).
regret
JOK: 1070
News stories can make one feel despair laced with outrage, and 慨 represents that mix as no English word does. This kanji helps to express broad concerns about the state of the nation or the “evils of the times,” while also conveying one’s indignation about being mistreated. Learn to say, “He deplores the frivolous trends of modern society” and “He resented his friend's behavior.”
above-stated
JOK: 1071
Find out how to say that something qualifies as X or is not applicable. Learn the Japanese for these sentences: “I’m a complete amateur regarding the matter in question,” “The said proposal has already been turned down,” and “Even officials in the relevant government office don’t know anything about the system.” Also see how ostriches connect to the themes of the essay!
approximate
JOK: 1072
People caution against generalizing, but to hell with that! The kanji 概 invites us to speak in generalities. Learn to say "in general," "on the whole," and "as a rule." Find out how to make approximations and rough estimates. And get the big picture with terms for all types of overviews, including summaries of film plots, introductory courses, and concluding remarks at lectures.
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