Japanese Phrase Picks

No.181 (2/11/11)

Kanji Part 5

By Nao H. Kauffman
Chief Editor

In 1981, the Japanese ministry of education officially announced Jouyou Kanji, which was a list of 1,945 Kanji characters. Those standardized characters were generally used and taught in primary and secondary schools in Japan after World War II. Namely, that was the era when the second baby boomers started having better formed school curriculums in order to study hard in academic battles so-called “Jyuken Sensou (test wars).” It was not long before when those were revised to a total of 2,136 in 2009. Generally speaking, language changes as time goes by. This could apply to many languages in the world especially when many different languages are exchanged nowadays, and typing keyboard or text messaging would deeply relate to language change.

I have heard learning Kanji can be a very simple start for children or foreigners in contrast to their enormous numbers of characters and complication. Many characters look like images that hold a few of meanings instead of just a sound of each letter in Hiragana or Katanaka, which you need to learn the combination in order to create a word and do not dominantly use them in phrases or sentences once you transform words in Kanji characters. Typically, the first grade students learn about 80 Kanji characters.
I would like to start introducing some simple Kanji.

白 Haku, Shiro, Shira, Shiroi (White)
赤 Seki, Aka, Akai, Akaramu, Akarameru (Red)
青 Sei, Ao, Aoi (Blue)
口 Kou, Ku, Kuchi (Mouth)
目 Moku, Me (Eye)
手 Shu, Te (Hand)
耳 Mimi (Ear)
足 Soku, Ashi(Feet,) Tasu (Add)

What's today?
February 11 is a holiday called “Kenkoku Kinen no Hi.” In short, it is known as the National Foundation Day, in honor of the day that the first emperor, Jimmu, was crowned in the year of 660 B.C.

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