Joy o' Kanji - Individual Kanji Essays and Thematic Bundles

Welcome to Joy o’ Kanji, which will enable you to discover the joy of kanji!
The Joy o' Kanji essays are a series of beautifully presented in-depth essays covering every aspect of each Jōyō kanji. With a wealth of sample sentences and images containing the kanji in question, the essays give you the real-world context and background you need to master a kanji.
Once you've accessed an essay, it's part of your Kanshudo account forever. You can play games using vocabulary and example sentences in the essay, as well as generate flashcards for study.
Below you will find various ways to identify essays you'd like to read. We highly recommend Thematic Bundles - thoughtfully grouped sets of four essays, connected by a common theme.
Thematic Bundles
The best way to access Joy o' Kanji essays: thematically related bundles of four essays, each focused on a single kanji. The kanji are typically of a similar difficulty level, and are all connected in some way.
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View the entire list of available kanji essays. Sort by kanji usefulness, by Joy o' Kanji ID, or by most recently added. Read essays to which you already have access.
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You can also find all kanji with essays available using the special search keyword jokessay:true, and if you know the Joy o' Kanji ID (the number under the kanji in the display below), you can use the special keyword jok:1009.
Sample essays
To give you a feel for the Joy o' Kanji essays, we have made three essays available as free samples. You can download these essays without a subscription or essay credits.
JOK: 99
Learn to associate the キョウ, ケイ, and キン readings of 京 with very different contexts. Find out which three cities this character can represent. See how 京 pairs with all cardinal directions—but how “western capital” and “southern capital” aren’t what you’d expect. (One has a relationship to miso, the other to peanuts!) And learn about the people of Tokyo and Kyoto through old proverbs.
JOK: 110
See why 午 means both “noon” and “sign of the horse,” thanks to its role in a number system based on 12, not 10. (Jupiter inspired the system!) Learn to say, “first thing in the afternoon” and “I slept the whole afternoon away.” Find out about the Hour of the Horse, the Year of the Fire Horse (and its link to murderous wives), and the significance of the first Day of the Horse in February.
JOK: 1970
Some sources call 俺 rough, arrogant, vulgar, and disagreeable. Others say it is informal and intimate. It conveys manliness, which could imply control over emotions, but it is also the pronoun men use when they lose their cool. All these contradictory statements are true! The mere idea of adding 俺 to the Joyo list provoked a bitter battle. Find out how and why men use this charged word.
Kanji radical notes
Kanshudo also features synopses of Joy o' Kanji's 'Radical Notes', free essays on most of the 214 standard radicals. To find out more visit our radicals page. For more information on Joy o' Kanji, visit the Joy o' Kanji website ⇗.
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