Tampa Japanese Meetup Message Board Benkyou Kai › Grade 1 Kanji

Grade 1 Kanji

Esther (.
Group Organizer
Tampa, FL
Post #: 144
What say we learn a few kanji? How about the numbers from 1 to 10 and the abbreviations for the days of the week!

These are very useful kanji. They let you know when good stuff will be happening (click on pictures to enlarge).

1st grade kanji: Shows all the kanji kids learn in first grade. Once we've learned the kanji in this discussion, we'll be about a quarter of the way through. We're smarter than first graders...we can do it!

botan: This is a poster for a peony exhibit. Peony is "botan" in Japanese. The show runs from April 10 (Saturday) to May 9 (Sunday), see?

hours: Can you tell when you'd find this business open? 営業時間 (えいぎょうじかん) = business hours, 祝 (いわ) = abbreviation for "holidays," 年中無休です (ねんじゅうむきゅう です) = open every day of the year, literally "whole year without rest."

shinobazu: This is the Benten shrine (goddess of wealth & music) on the island in the middle of Shinobazu Pond in Ueno Park in Tokyo. The sign tells you when there will be a festival on the grounds. 初巳 (はつみ) = First serpent day of the year, 縁日 (えんにち) = Temple Festival, 正月 (しょうがつ) = New Year's Day / January. Usually the months in Japan are referred to as the number plus "gatsu" 月 for month. Snake or serpent day must come from the old Chinese Lunar calendar. Can you find the year on the sign? It's 2010 or Heisei 22 (the 22nd year of the current Emperor's reign.) Hint: 年 = Year.

calendar: Look for the abbreviations for the days of the week! This year is Heisei 24. This month is 八月-Hachigatsu (the poetic, old name for August is Hazuki, the month of leaves.)

Esther (.
Group Organizer
Tampa, FL
Post #: 145

The links below will take you to a dictionary site that shows stroke order and the different pronunciations for each kanji. Maybe we can talk about the many pronunciation of kanji at the next Benkyou Kai. Here are some possible mnemonics for helping you remember what the symbols mean. If you can think of a more obvious one, maybe you can share it with us too!

 link ichi (Easy-peasy, it's ONE line!)

 link ni (TWO lines...)

 link san (THREE lines...)

 link yon, shi (A box has FOUR sides. Don't ask me why those socks are in the box, though...)
"Shi" is pronounced the same as a word meaning death, so "yon" is used more often.

 link go (Looks like how Mondrian would draw a FIVE to me.)

 link roku (Uh...maybe...SIX is two less than 8. There are 2 marks at the top and 八 is 8...)

 link nana, shichi (It's an upside down SEVEN. You know how some people write 7 with a line across the middle...?)
"Shichi" = proper place to die, so "nana" is used more often.

 link hachi (Think of EIGHT as an upright infinity symbol. Hachi looks like a road going off into infinity, doesn't it?)

 link kyuu, ku (NINE is ten 十 with one piece dropped off--that's the line dropping from the right arm of the plus.)
"Ku" = suffering or pain, so "kyuu" is used more often.

 link jyuu (When things "add" up to TEN, it's nice and neat and even just like a plus sign.)

The Japanese days of the week are named after heavenly objects & gods, just like ours. No, Really!


 link nichi (short for nichi youbi 日曜日) "Sun" for Sunday

This is an easy one to remember, so I'll talk about the youbi part:

曜 is "you" (long yoh sound) and means "day of the week"
日 is "bi" (told you kanji had different pronunciations) and means "sun or day"
SO..."youbi" means "day of the week...day" (^_^)
The kanji have been squared off over the years. Originally 日 looked like a circle with a dot in the middle--the symbol for the sun.


 link getsu (getsu youbi) "Moon" for Monday

Get it...MOON day?
Yes, it's GEtsu when you're talking about Monday, but GAtsu when you're talking about a month.
This is supposed to look like a crescent moon.


 link ka (ka youbi) "Fire" for Tuesday

Named for Mars (or Tiew - -Nordic name for Mars) Tiew's Day
Mars is the fiery god of War!
Maybe this looks like a campfire--piled sticks with a couple of flames.


 link sui (sui youbi) "Water" for Wednesday

Mercury (or Woden -- Nordic name for Mercury) Woden's Day
I like to think of Woden (Odin) as being the god of the Vikings--masters of the water!
If you know the kanji for river 川 then this looks like a pinched river. Squeeze a river, and you get water.


 link moku (moku youbi) "Wood" for Thursday

Jupiter (or Thor -- Nordic name for Jupiter) Thor's Day
Think of Thor's hammer having a wooden handle.
This kanji also means "tree." It has 3 branches and 3 roots...if you use your imagination.
If you chop down a tree (Whack! 本 See the hatchet mark on the roots?), you can make a book out of it. 本 = hon = book. It also means "origin" (books are often the origin of knowledge, right?) So Nihon 日本 means "Origin of the Sun" or "Land of the Rising Sun" JAPAN!


 link kin (kin youbi), "Metal or Gold" for Friday

Venus (or Freya -- Nordic name for Venus) Freya Day
Freya is the goddess of, among other things, Gold!
Gold day--Friday--is the day most people get their paycheck!
I think this kanji looks like a little wishing well, where you'd throw coins (metal, gold).


 link do (do youbi) "Earth or Soil" for Saturday

Saturn is the god of agriculture--tilling the earth, Saturn Day
Saturday's your day off when you go outside and play in the dirt.
A person with outstretched arms standing on a wide line representing the ground (soil, earth).
Esther (.
Group Organizer
Tampa, FL
Post #: 152
BTW, I first learned about the days of the week being named after Nordic gods from "The Japanese Page." Clay and Yumi Boutwell used to send out daily emails for 100 kanji, and I read about it there. I'm pretty sure the "do" mnemonic is directly from one of those emails!

http://thejapanesepag...­ Lots of good Japanese learning resources!
http://www.thejapansh...­ Their online shop
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