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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daughter
JOK: 1846
See how to use 娘 as "daughter" versus as "young woman." Find out what it means when people say "A bug landed on the daughter-in-a-box" or how a young woman can figuratively be a signboard. Learn why the Japanese would write "parent and daughter" in an ateji way, rather than as 親子. See how various performers and manga characters have connections to 娘, as do Amazonian troops!
inscription
JOK: 1847
This kanji often gives items a stamp of approval. Inscriptions on metal vases, pottery, or swords convey authenticity. The prefix 銘- deems products (e.g., cakes and sakés) 'exclusively made' and 'of high quality." The term for "brand name" includes 銘, drawing on the connection between 銘 and reputation. And a great product engraves itself on your mind - again involving 銘!
destroy
JOK: 1848
With 滅 you can cut a wide swath of destruction. A generous supply of sample sentences will teach you to talk about everything from wiping out whole towns to eradicating diseases, as well as the fall of the Roman empire, the crumbling of traditions, and the extinction of species. You'll also learn terms for "recklessness" and "chaos," even finding out how to say "I'll make it up to you."
overgrown
JOK: 1850
Learn to talk about overgrown gardens, elephants hiding in thickets, and Bruce Willis's sparse hair! Enjoy profiles of celebrities with 茂 in their names, from visionary architect Shigeru Ban to baseball great Hideo Nomo to Shigeru Miyamoto, the creator of Donkey Kong. Read a fun folktale about a tanuki and a tea kettle. Also find out about a place name that pops up all over Kyoto.
delusion
JOK: 1851
Live on the wild side with rash acts, thoughtless words, and reckless decisions! Learn to say, “A person with good sense will not blindly believe others' opinions,” “Everyone is annoyed by my mother's rash actions,” and “He failed because of his reckless decision.” Also find out how to say, “His words shattered my illusions” and “That girl is under the delusion that she is a princess.”
silent
JOK: 1856
Silence plays a special role in Japanese, where one must often intuit what isn’t said, but that’s just one type of silence. The essay looks at many kinds, such as tacit agreements, unwritten rules, acquiescence, clamming up during quarrels, awed speechlessness, remaining silent after an arrest, silent tributes to the dead, mutism, and viewing a disturbing sight but doing nothing about it.
chin
JOK: 1858
See what the idioms "to put out one's chin" and "dried-out jaw" really represent, and discover chin/jaw expressions that mean "to push someone around" and "all expenses paid." Learn terms for "beard," "double chin," "cleft chin," "protruding chin," "jawbone," and "TMJ." Also find out how to say, "His beard made him look 10 years older" and "I hit him once on the chin.”
pleasure
JOK: 1861
Find out how to say "He is not a cheerful guy, to say the least," "The more, the merrier," 'I'm really unhappy about this,' and "Nothing offends people more than broken promises." Learn how 愉 stacks up against 楽 and why they're sometimes interchangeable. Peruse covers of books that teach people how to enjoy life more even if they're aging or are unappealing to the opposite sex.
permanence
JOK: 1866
It’s hard to know how 悠 came to represent three unrelated ideas, but that enables us to say a range of things, including these: “He left the place quietly,” “I will still easily make it by the time we set,” “She remained calm even as others panicked,” “This certainly isn't a job where you can take it easy,” “You're being too relaxed about things,” and “a long, long time ago.”
kiln
JOK: 1881
This photo-rich essay brings you into the fascinating world of kilns in Japan, where people have fired pottery for 10,000 years! One kiln is named for a snake. Another climbs hills and requires people to stoke the fire around the clock for weeks. Find out about "kiln effects," wherein flying ash enhances a pot's beauty. Also learn to talk about baking food in ovens and building your own wood oven!
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