The Joy o' Kanji Essays

This page provides a synopsis of all 536 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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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.
charming
JOK: 1839
Learn to say that you're attracted to a pile of money, a dress, a woman, opera, or even hornets! Find out how to say things like "Her smile attracts a lot of men," "I was attracted to her at first sight," "The audience was fascinated by his speech," and "The charm of Kyoto lies in the beauty of its old temples." This one should come in handy, too: "I think she's very attractive."
headland
JOK: 1840
Learn about the 16 extremities of the four main islands, and see why Japan has a whopping 5,503 lighthouses. Find out how a powerful novel and a shipwreck changed Japan and how another shipwreck bonded Japan and Turkey. Learn the various kanji for cape names, and see why the 山 radical in 岬 can be a misfit. Discover the locations of coral reefs in Japan and capes in your body!
strange; mysterious
JOK: 1841
This kanji enables you to talk about everything from subtle nuances and delicate situations to strange dreams, a mysterious light, fitting words, an ingenious idea, exquisite building techniques, a clever fraud, and a skillful clown. By studying this versatile kanji, you’ll even learn to say, “At this time, investing in real estate looks quite profitable” and “Strange to say, I didn’t feel any pain.”
sleep
JOK: 1842
Find out about famous sleepers in literature. See what it means when "even plants are sleeping." Learn terms for sound and disturbed sleep, insomnia, drowsiness, and dozing. On the figurative side, find out how 眠 connects to unused bank accounts, hypnosis, silkworms, and death. Also learn to say, "I’m a light sleeper," "I wish I had enough time to sleep," and "Sleep is better than medicine."
halberd
JOK: 1843
This essay will teach you how to talk about inconsistencies, contradictions, and conflicts. You'll also find out why there's a spear through the heart of these problems. The 矛 shape serves as the "spear" radical, appearing in such unlikely places as characters for "gentleness" and "fog," and the essay explains why. Moreover, it provides a useful mnemonic to help you distinguish 矛 from the look-alike 予 (403: in advance).
dream
JOK: 1844
Find out how to talk about sweet dreams, nightmares, and the daydreams you have while studying kanji. Learn to say, "I sacrificed the present moment for the future," "My dream finally came true," and "Never did I dream that ...," as well as "I'm crazy for kanji"! See how the Japanese neutralize inauspicious dreams and which part of a Tokyo temple was built as the result of a sleep dream.
fog
JOK: 1845
Find out how to refer to fog with different terms, depending on time of day and location, and learn to say that a lake is shrouded in mist. See how 霧 worked its way into a term for a baseball scandal. Discover a term for “totally at a loss” and learn how it inspired a clever put-down of those overseeing the upcoming Tokyo Olympics. Also find out how to say that a dream vanished like mist.
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