Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Useful Terminology for Learning Kanji

In this post, we explain some Japanese terminology for learning basic Japanese and easily using our site.

Contents (A to Z)


Our site classifies kanji by grade 1 to 6. These are the same grades used by Japanese elementary school children when they learn kanji. Grade 1 kanji are basic and tend to be simple, and the kanji get more advanced as the number goes up.

 Grade 1 - 80 kanji 

*We use a red tag for grade 1 kanji lessons.


 Grade 3 - 200 kanji 

*We use a green tag for grade 3 kanji lessons.

暗 医 委 意 育 員 運 泳 央 横 界 開 感 漢 館 究 急 業 曲 決 研 使 詩 次 事 持 式 習 集 住 宿 昭 消 商 章 神 真 整 昔 全 相 送 想 対 待 談 着 注 帳 調 追 定 登 等 動 発 反 氷 表 福 物 平 勉 放 有 遊 予 陽 様 落 流 旅 両 列 練

 Grade 4 - 202 kanji 

*We use a purple tag for grade 4 kanji lessons.

案 以 衣 位 茨 印 英 栄 媛 塩 岡 億 加 果 貨 課 芽 賀 改 械 害 街 各 覚 潟 完 官 管 関 観 願 岐 希 季 旗 器 機 議 求 泣 給 挙 漁 共 協 鏡 競 極 熊 訓 軍 郡 群 径 景 芸 欠 結 建 健 験 固 功 香 候 康 佐 差 菜 最 埼 材 崎 昨 札 刷 察 参 産 散 残 氏 司 試 児 治 滋 辞 鹿 失 借 種 周 祝 順 初 松 笑 唱 焼 照 城 縄 臣 信 井 成 省 清 静 席 積 折 節 説 浅 戦 選 然 争 倉 巣 束 側 続 卒 孫 帯 隊 達 単 置 仲 沖 兆 低 底 的 典 伝 徒 努 灯 働 特 徳 栃 奈 梨 熱 念 敗 梅 博 阪 飯 飛 必 票 標 不 夫 付 府 阜 富 副 兵 別 辺 変 便 包 法 望 牧 末 満 未 民 無 約 勇 要 養 浴 利 陸 良 料 量 輪 類 令 冷 連 老 労 録

 Grade 5 - 193 kanji 

*We use a brown tag for grade 5 kanji lessons.
圧 囲 移 因 永 営 衛 易 益 液 演 応 往 桜 可 仮 価 河 過 快 解 格 確 額 刊 幹 慣 眼 紀 基 寄 規 喜 技 義 逆 久 旧 救 居 許 境 均 禁 句 型 経 潔 件 険 検 限 現 減 故 個 護 効 厚 耕 航 鉱 構 興 講 告 混 査 再 災 妻 採 際 在 財 罪 殺 雑 酸 賛 士 支 史 志 枝 師 資 飼 示 似 識 質 舎 謝 授 修 述 術 準 序 招 証 象 賞 条 状 常 情 織 職 制 性 政 勢 精 製 税 責 績 接 設 絶 祖 素 総 造 像 増 則 測 属 率 損 貸 態 団 断 築 貯 張 停 提 程 適 統 堂 銅 導 得 毒 独 任 燃 能 破 犯 判 版 比 肥 非 費 備 評 貧 布 婦 武 復 複 仏 粉 編 弁 保 墓 報 豊 防 貿 暴 脈 務 夢 迷 綿 輸 余 容 略 留 領 歴

 Grade 6 - 191 kanji 

*We use a black tag for grade 6 kanji lessons.
胃 異 遺 域 宇 映 延 沿 恩 我 灰 拡 革 閣 割 株 干 巻 看 簡 危 机 揮 貴 疑 吸 供 胸 郷 勤 筋 系 敬 警 劇 激 穴 券 絹 権 憲 源 厳 己 呼 誤 后 孝 皇 紅 降 鋼 刻 穀 骨 困 砂 座 済 裁 策 冊 蚕 至 姿 視 詞 誌 磁 射 捨 尺 若 樹 収 宗 就 衆 従 縦 縮 熟 純 処 署 諸 除 承 将 傷 障 蒸 針 仁 垂 推 寸 盛 聖 誠 舌 宣 専 泉 洗 染 銭 善 奏 窓 創 装 層 操 蔵 臓 存 尊 退 宅 担 探 誕 段 暖 値 宙 忠 著 庁 頂 腸 潮 賃 痛 敵 展 討 党 糖 届 難 乳 認 納 脳 派 拝 背 肺 俳 班 晩 否 批 秘 俵 腹 奮 並 陛 閉 片 補 暮 宝 訪 亡 忘 棒 枚 幕 密 盟 模 訳 郵 優 預 幼 欲 翌 乱 卵 覧 裏 律 臨 朗 論

Total: 1026 kanji (as of the year 2020)

 Hiragana (平仮名)   - Japanese syllabary characters

*We use a light blue tag for hiragana lessons.
Click here for the all Hiragana Playlist
Our Hiragana Page
Hiragana is used for sounds. Hiragana and katakana are sister character sets. They are each comprised of 46 characters plus derived type characters that are created using basic shapes. Each character normally represents one sound.
Hiragana is used in many situations such as particles, inflatable parts of words, etc.

*Tips for hiragana

If you master hiragana, it is possible to write all Japanese using them. However in Japanese, it may be difficult to understand because there are cases where there is no space between words, and there are many words with the same pronunciation but different meanings.

This is difficult to understand...

The same sentence written with kanji is easily understood as "a mother laughed 'hahaha'".

Japanese (日本語) - Japanese Language

Japanese normally uses a combination of hiraganakatakana, and kanji.

Kanji: 私, 好
Hiragana: は, が, きです
Katakana: パイナップル

 Katakana (片仮名)   - Japanese syllabary characters

*We use a yellow tag for katakana lessons.
Click here for the all Katakana Playlist
Our Katakana Page
Katakana is used for sounds. Hiragana and katakana are sister character sets. They are each comprised of 46 characters plus derived type characters that are created using basic shapes. Each character normally represents one sound.
All hiragana characters have equivalent katakana characters.

Katakana is mainly used for foreign words, so it is less used than hiragana.

computer: コンピューター
Bob: ボブ
lucky: ラッキー
pineapple: パイナップル

*Tips for katakana

If you already learned all pronunciation from hiragana, the equivalent katakana characters are pronounced the same way. Katakana characters are also modified the same way as hiragana:

はひふへほ = ハヒフヘホ
ばびぶべぼ = バビブベボ
ぱぴぷぺぽ = パピプペポ
ぴゃぴゅぴょ = ピャピュピョ

Remember, you just need to learn 46 characters (until wawon) and you will have mastered all katakana! ;)

Kanji (漢字) - Japanese characters that are derived from ancient Chinese

(*in our site, kanji means Japanese kanji.)
Click here for our YouTube Page
Click here for our website

Many Kanji have multiple pronunciations, which can be classified as onyomi and kunyomi. Although it is said that the total number of kanji is very large, the number of kanji required in daily life (which we call joyo kanji) is 2136.

Kunyomi (訓読み) - Japanese reading

When Chinese characters came from China, Japanese language existed, but had no system of writing. Kunyomi was created by applying Japanese pronunciation to Chinese kanji characters that have the same meaning as Japanese. Due to this reason, there are cases where zero or multiple different kunyomi pronunciations exist for one kanji character. In Japanese dictionaries, drills, etc, they are mostly represented by hiragana (also in our kanji video lessons, too).

*Tips for kunyomi

In order to complete a word, you might need hiragana when it is verb, adjective, or adverb. These are basic forms, but derived forms also exist.

動く (うごく) - move; work (動 is kanji and く is hiragana)

大きい (おおきい) - large; big (大 is kanji and きい is hiragana)

優しく (やさしく) - gently (優 is kanji and しく is hiragana)

Onyomi (音読み) - Chinese reading

Onyomi is derived from the original Chinese pronunciation at the time that the characters came to Japan. There are cases where zero (very rarely) or multiple different onyomi pronunciations exist for one kanji character. This is due to the change of Chinese pronunciation over time, place, etc. In Japanese dictionaries, drills, etc, they are mostly represented by katakana (also our kanji video lessons, too).

*Tips for onyomi

1. If the last pronunciation sound is "ん", it tends to be onyomi.

運 (うん) - luck; fortune
千 (せん) - thousand, etc.

2. If kanji has only one pronunciation, it tends to be onyomi.
線 (せん) - line; wire; beam
駅 (えき) - station, etc.

Radical (部首) - A part of kanji used to classify kanji

Think of radicals as landmarks when categorizing similar kanji.

火 (): fire
This radical comes from the kanji character 火 (hi), which means fire.

燃、爆、煙, etc.

They all contain the 火 radical and mean something similar to fire.

燃える: burn (v)
爆発: explosion; detonation
煙: smoke; fume

Romaji (ローマ字) - Japanese that is written using the Roman alphabet

In our kanji video lessons, we introduce romaji so that people can type Japanese using an alphabetical keyboard (note that you may need to install Japanese romaji input on your computer). Therefore, even though some romaji words are famous in English, we sometimes represent them a different way.

1. When "n" is the last character

Sometimes Japanese input converters don't recognize that a word ends in "ん".

If you type "udon", which is the correct romaji, the Japanese converter will show うどn.
However, if you type "udonn" (with two "n"s), the Japanese converter will show うどん. This is the correct hiragana.

Note that some clever Japanese input conversion functions may recognize the single "n" and convert the input correctly.

2. When the next character is "n" or "y"

Japanese contains "nya" (にゃ), "nyu" (にゅ), "nyo" (にょ) sounds.

If you type "onyomi", which is the correct romaji, the Japanese converter will show おにょみ.
However, if you type "onnyomi" (with two "n"s), the Japanese converter will おんよみ or 音読み. This is the correct hiragana and kanji.

Note that some clever Japanese input conversion functions may recognize the single "n" and convert the input correctly.

Yojijukugo (四字熟語) - Four-character idiom

If you translate each kanji character in 四字熟語,

四 means four,
字 means character,
and 熟語 means idiom.

Yojijukugo are idioms that are always represented by four kanji characters.

春夏秋冬 (しゅんかしゅうとう): four seasons; one year

春: spring
夏: summer
秋: fall
冬: winter

一日千秋 (いちにちせんしゅう): the feeling of a very long day; the feeling of waiting is remarkably strong

一: one
日: day
千: thousand
秋: fall

十人十色 (じゅうにんといろ): different people like different things; different strokes for different folks

十: ten
人: person
十: ten
色: color


Monday, November 11, 2019

Learn Kanji: Numbers 1- 10

In this post, we introduce how to write and read numbers kanji from 1 - 10. All of these kanji are classified as Grade 1 kanji.

*In our blog posts, we use hiragana for representing Japanese pronunciation. If you want to learn hiragana, please visit our website for hiragana or visit our YouTube Hiragana playlist.


First of all, like reading "1" and "one" in English, Japanese numbers are pronounced the same whether written in kanji or Arabic numerals. For example, "一" and "1" are both pronounced "いち" in Japanese. ;)

Specific Numbers Kanji Lessons

Let's study kanji numbers 1 - 10 from video lessons to begin! Kanji has multiple pronunciations, and you can basically study each pronunciation by each example.

*Tip: It ’s easier to remember when you write them on paper and say them aloud :)

 Kanji Lesson  (Grade 1 
1 (one)

 Kanji Lesson  (Grade 1) 
2 (two)

 Kanji Lesson  (Grade 1) 
3 (three)

 Kanji Lesson  (Grade 1) 
4 (four)

 Kanji Lesson  (Grade 1) 
5 (five)

 Kanji Lesson  (Grade 1) 
6 (six)

 Kanji Lesson  (Grade 1) 
7 (seven)

 Kanji Lesson  (Grade 1) 
8 (eight)

 Kanji Lesson  (Grade 1) 
9 (nine)

 Kanji Lesson  (Grade 1) 
10 (ten)

2 Ways of Reading Numbers

As you can see in the videos above, kanji has multiple pronunciations. There are multiple ways to pronounce numbers as well.

For example:
The kanji "一" has four pronunciations, いち, いつ, ひと, and ひとつ. The pronunciations used to count this number are いち and ひとつ.

There are two major ways of reading numbers because we have both "onyomi" (on reading) and "kunyomi" (kun reading) for kanji in Japanese.


(*used for mathematics and for reading any number.)
  1.  一 (いち)
  2.  二 (に)
  3.  三 (さん)
  4.  四 (し /よん)
  5.  五 (ご)
  6.  六 (ろく)
  7.  七 (しち / なな)
  8.  八 (はち)
  9. 九 (きゅう / く)
  10.  十 (じゅう)


(*used when reading numbers 1 - 10)
  1.  一つ (ひとつ)
  2.  二つ (ふたつ)
  3.  三つ (みっつ)
  4.  四つ (よっつ)
  5.  五つ (いつつ)
  6.  六つ (むっつ)
  7.  七つ (ななつ)
  8.  八つ (やっつ)
  9. 九つ (ここのつ)
  10.  十 (とお)

You learned the 10 basic kanji numbers and 2 ways of reading numbers! Great job! :)

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

"Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind" - Learn Kanji from Japanese Anime!

We believe learning in a fun and interesting way is the best way to study. Also, it tends to be easy to remember something when you enjoy it.

So we're introducing kanji lessons from Japanese anime in this corner! yay :)

The first is "Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind", one of the famous Ghibli masterpieces.

We will introduce mostly grade one and two level kanji today.

The Japanese title of "Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind" is "風の谷のナウシカ". In this title, 風 and 谷 are kanji.

 Kanji Lesson 風 (Grade 2) 
The main meaning of the kanji "風" is "wind". 風 represents also "wind" in this title.

You can check the kanji stroke order, example words, and pronunciation in the kanji lesson 風 video!

Here's the kanji lesson 風 video:

 Kanji Lesson  (Grade 2) 
The kanji "谷" represents either valley, or depressed place or condition. In this anime title it means valley.

Here's the kanji lesson 谷 video:

Let's study more kanji! 

We found a sentence from the Japanese version of "Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind".


The English translation is "A bird person who loves trees, talks about insects, and invites winds".

The Japanese part "木々を愛で" translates to English as "loves trees".


々 is a symbol that represents repetition of the previous character, and is not kanji. If we write 木々without the "々" symbol, it would be 木木. Furthermore, the pronunciation of the second character in 木木 becomes a muddy sound, so it's pronounced "kigi".

 Kanji Lesson  (Grade 1) 
木 means a tree or wood, and 木々 represents "trees".

Here's the kanji lesson 木 video:

 Kanji Lesson 愛 (Grade 4) 
愛 is a fairly advanced kanji.
愛 means "love" as a noun.

When making this into a verb or abject form in Japanese, we normally use

kanji + hiragana.

Thus, we need to know that the combination of 愛 and で becomes a verb tense in this case. The basic style of 愛で is 愛でる and it represents the verb form of "love" or "admire".

Here's the kanji lesson 愛 video:

The next sentence, "虫を語り", means "talk about insects" in English.

 Kanji Lesson  (Grade 2) 
The basic style of 語りis 語る, and means "talk".

Here's the kanji lesson 語 video:

 Kanji Lesson  (Grade 1) 
The next kanji, "虫", means "insect" or "insects".

Here's the kanji lesson 虫 video:

2 more kanji to go!

The last sentence, "風をまねく鳥の人", means "a bird person (鳥の人)" and "invite winds (風をまねく)" in English.

 Kanji Lesson  (Grade 2) 
鳥 means "a bird" or "birds"

Here's the kanji lesson 鳥 video:

 Kanji Lesson  (Grade 1) 
We learned "winds" at the top of this post. The last kanji, "人" means "person" in English.

Here's the kanji lesson 人 video:

You learned 8 kanji today!
Nicely done! :)

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Tips for studying with our videos

Learn Kanji videos include multiple pieces of information. This guide will help explain them so that you can use them for your study. :)

Video titles
Multiple Kanji Examples
Hiragana and Katakana
Red and White Text
English Translations
Abbreviations in English Translations
3 Caveats for English Translations

Video Titles
Titles show the kanji that the video lecture focuses on, the reading of the kanji in hiragana or katakana, one or more English translation of the kanji, and the number of variations that the video will introduce.

If the kanji that the lecture focuses on doesn’t make sense without other kanji, you’ll see --- in the place of the English translation. This means that there really isn’t an English translation for the kanji on its own.

Multiple Kanji Examples
Most kanji can be read multiple ways.
In Learn Kanji videos, we focus on one kanji and give examples of each different way of reading the kanji. We don’t normally include advanced or special readings. If there are multiple important words that can be read the same way, we may introduce them as well.
The examples are ordered easy to advanced if possible.

Hiragana and Katakana
There are two categories of kanji readings: onyomi (音読み), which is the Chinese reading, and kunyomi (訓読み), which is the Japanese reading.

Chinese readings are written in katakana.
Japanese readings are written in hiragana. 

This is a format commonly used in Japanese kanji dictionaries, drills, etc for Chinese and Japanese readings.
(*In general usage like manga, picture books, or textbooks, etc, hiragana is attached to kanji as furigana (振り仮名). Furigana are phonetic symbols written above some kanji so it is different from onyomi and kunyomi.)

Red and White Text
The red font highlights the pronunciation of kanji that the video is focused on.
The white font highlights the pronunciation of other kanji or okurigana (送り仮名), which is the part of word written in kana.

We put romaji (and hiragana, katakana) in video to help you understand how to read the kanji. They will also help you type the kanji in Japanese using an alphabetical keyboard.

English Translations
We try to introduce translations that are easy to understand and as close to the Japanese meaning of the kanji as possible.

Meaning of abbreviations in English translations
We sometimes include abbreviations in the English translations to clarify the type of word:

(n) - noun
(v) - verb
(adj) - adjective
(adv) - adverb
(prep) - preposition

3 Caveats for English Translations
Some kanji have multiple meanings even though they have the same the character and are read the same way.
For example, when 一時 is pronounced “ichiji”, the meaning can be “one o'clock,” “short period of time,” or “some time ago,” etc

Some kanji can be pronounced multiple ways even though the meaning is the same.
For example, 一時 can be read ichiji, isshi, ittoki, and hitotoki. These words all sound different but mean the same thing, like “short period of time”, “some time ago,” etc. 

Some kanji can’t always be used for all of the same English words. 
For example, 四日 represents only the fourth day of the month, not the fourth item in a sequence.

To make things easier to understand, we plan to post details of each kanji in the Learn Kanji website!

If you would like to learn more about kanji seriously or deeply, the website will help your study. :)