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Mastering Japanese Kanji Volume 1 By Jeremiah Bourque http://learnoutlive.com/japanese

About The Author • Jeremiah Bourque is a blogger, author, linguist, philosopher, and student of strategy (Sun Tzu and so forth). A former Japanese to English translator who has turned to education to help others help themselves.

Table of Contents • • • • • • •

How To Use This Booklet – 4 Kanji Section – 7 Important Common Adjectives – 43 Special Guest Compound – 44 Verbs For This Lesson – 46 Sentence Exercise Section – 51 Free Sentence Evaluation Offer – 65

How To Use This Booklet • This booklet provides a reference for the first lesson in the “Mastering Japanese Kanji” series. • The first lesson is free. Others are not. • Each kanji comes with a beautifully large, wood background slide for visual power, and an explanation page displaying readings, core meaning, and etymology (background of the character).

Teaching Philosophy 1. FOCUS on a limited number of kanji. 2. VISUAL POWER to create a visceral connection to the symbol. 3. EXPLANATION to get the logical part of the brain involved. 4. PRACTICE makes perfect. 5. EXPANSION in small increments.

Online Exercises • In the future, this book can be used with online exercises at: http://learnoutlive.com/japanese • While you can always flip around and look only at the big kanji, these images can be easily used as part of a flashcard-like training process. • Read further in this booklet for more information about sentence exercises.

(The Kanji) • • • •

(1) “On” Reading (2) “Kun” Reading (3) Core Meaning of the Kanji (4) Etymology (background) of the Kanji (5) Examples, If Space Permits

日 • On: ニチ・ジツ (nichi/ jitsu). Kun: ひ (hi). • Core Meaning: Sun. • A pictograph of the sun, and its reflection on water as the sun rises. (The Pacific Ocean is to the East of China…) • 日々 ( ひび、 hibi): Day by Day (or: Daily, Everyday)

木 • On: ボク・モク (boku/ moku). Kun: き (ki). • Core Meaning: Tree. • This kanji is, quite simply, a pictograph of a tree large enough that its branches offer shelter to creatures beneath it. • 木馬 ( もくば、 mokuba): Tree + Horse = Wooden Horse, such as those used in gymnastics; or, The Trojan Horse.

土 • • • •

On: ド・ト (do/ to). Kun: つち (tsuchi). Core Meaning: Soil. A pictograph of piled soil. I prefer not to use the word earth, not because it is incorrect, but because of easy confusion with “The Earth” which is related to a different kanji.

月 • On: ゲツ・ガツ (getsu/ gatsu). Kun: つき (tsuki). • Core Meaning: Moon. • This is a pictograph of a shimmering crescent moon. • Because Asian nations were originally on lunar calendars, this kanji is also used to indicate months.

森 • On: シン (shin). Kun: もり (mori). • Core Meaning: Forest. • In kanji, a group of three indicates “many.” Thus, this kanji indicates many trees, meaning a dense forest, something larger and grander than a grove. • This kanji is used as part of many Japanese names.

空 • On: クウ (kuu). Kun: そら・から (sora/ kara). • Core Meaning: Sky/ Empty. • The kanji itself is “a hole” above “a connecting pipe.” Thus, it represents the empty space inside a hollow tube. • 空 ( そら、 sora): Sky. The “empty” space above us all.

風 • On: フ・フウ (fu/ fuu). Kun: かぜ (kaze). • Core Meaning: Wind. • This is an insect ( 虫 ) being fluttered by the wind as if it is a cloth (the other part of the kanji). • As a suffix, “fuu” is a figurative term for style (the figurative flow of the air).

水 • On: スイ (sui). Kun: みず (mizu). • Core Meaning: Water. • This is a pictograph of water following a winding course across low ground. • 水色 ( みずいろ、 mizuiro): Lit.: The Color of Water. Fig.: Light Blue.

Stand-Alone Readings 1 • • • • • • • •

日 木 土 月 森 空 風 水

( にち ) (き) ( つち ) ( つき ) ( もり ) ( そら ) ( かぜ ) ( みず )

Stand-Alone Readings #1 • • • • • • • •

日 木 土 月 森 空 風 水

( にち、 nichi) ( き、 ki) ( つち、 tsuchi) ( つき、 tsuki) ( もり、 mori) ( そら、 sora) ( かぜ、 kaze) ( みず、 mizu)

山 • On: サン・セン (san/ sen). Kun: やま (yama). • Core Meaning: Mountain. • This is a pictograph of a finely chiseled mountain. • 山々 ( やまやま、 yamayama): (Figurative) Mountains of something. (For example, mountains of cash.)

川 • On: セン (sen). Kun: かわ (kawa). • Core Meaning: River. • This represents not only a gentle river boring its way through the earth, but the channel that the water creates in the process. • 川下 ( かわしも、 kawashimo): River + Down = Downstream.

天 • On: テン (ten). Kun: あまつ・あめ・あま (amatsu/ ame/ ama). • Core Reading: Heaven. • A line above an outstretched person (the usual character for big, 大 ) indicating what is grander than grand, vaster than vast, i.e. the heavens. The “on” reading can be used even if the kanji is standalone.

気 • On: キ・ケ (ki/ ke). Kun: いき (iki). • Core Meaning: Breath. • Vapor + Rice, such as the vapor rising from steamed rice, used for the concept of breath. However, this is figurative breath: the breath of life, the spirit, vitality, and mood. This kanji can be read stand-alone as “ki” (which is uncommon).

石 • On: セキ・シャク・コク (seki/ shaku/ koku). Kun: いし (ishi). • Core Meaning: Stone. • This is a stone at the base of a cliff. This kanji is used for things like cobblestones, not boulders. • 隕石 ( いんせき、 inseki): Fall + Stone = A Meteorite.

岩 • On: ガン (gan). Kun: いわ (iwa). • Core Meaning: Rock. • A simplified version of a mountain with many rocks strewn about. This implies larger and less tidy objects than stones. • 岩穴 ( いわあな、 iwaana): Rock + Hole = Cavern or Grotto.

雨 • On: ウ (u). Kun: あめ・あま (ame/ ama). • Core Meaning: Rain. • A modern version of a pictograph showing rain falling from the heavens. (Note the top, horizontal line such as in 天 .) • 雨雲 ( あまぐも、 amagumo): Rain + Cloud = Raincloud.

雪 • On: セツ (setsu). Kun: ゆき (yuki). • Core Meaning: Snow. • This combines rain ( 雨 ) with “a broom,” for snow is something that sweeps in and cleanses the earth, eliminating filth. (This kanji comes from pre-industrialization!) • 雪白 ( せっぱく、 seppaku): Snow + White = Snow White, pure, immaculate.

Stand-Alone Readings #2 • • • • • • • •

山 川 天 気 石 岩 雨 雪

( やま、 yama) ( かわ、 kawa) ( てん、 ten) ( き、 ki) ( いし、 ishi) ( いわ、 iwa) ( あめ、 ame) ( ゆき、 yuki)

Important Common Adjectives • • • • • •

小さい ( ちいさい、 chiisai, small) 大きい ( おおきい、 ookii, large) 中々 ( なかなか、 nakanaka, so-so) 少し ( すこし、 sukoshi, a little/ a bit) 多く ( おおく、 ooku, many) 太い ( ふとい、 futoi, fat)

Special Guest Compound • 天気 ( てんき、 tenki): Weather. • Heaven + Breath. The breath of heaven. • 気 is used for many figurative expressions. It is the “ki” in “kibun” for mood. Thus, we might see it as disposition: the disposition (or mood) of heaven.

Key Verb: 見る ( みる ) • 見る (miru). To See. • Not to be confused with 見える (mieru, to be visible) or 見せる (miseru, to show). • Conjugations follow in katakana: 

見る • • • • • • •

Plain Present: 見る ( みる ) Polite Present: 見ます ( みます ) Plain Past: 見た ( みた ) Polite Past: 見ました ( みました ) Plain Negative: 見ない ( みない ) Polite Negative: 見ません ( みません ) Plain Neg. Past: 見なかった ( みなかった )

見る • Polite Neg. Past: 見ませんでした ( みませ んでした) • Continuative: 見て ( みて ) • Conditional: 見れば ( みれば ) • Volitional: 見よう ( みよう ) • Passive & Potential: 見られる ( みられる ) • Causative: 見させる ( みさせる ) • Imperative: 見ろ ( みろ )

Other Verbs For This Lesson • • • • •

行く ( いく、 iku, To Go) 戻る ( もどる、 modoru, To Go Back) 帰る ( かえる、 kaeru, To Return) 来る ( くる、 kuru, To Come) 歩く ( あるく、 aruku, To Walk)

Sentence Practices • “Mastering Japanese Kanji” was originally meant for intermediate students seeking to master kanji that had been learned, but which were “floating around” in the head. • This is an extremely common problem that has not been adequately addressed by most books and programs. • This section is meant to prod the student to form his or her own sentences.

Help For Beginners • Those who are not intermediate students, or who are still uncomfortable with Japanese sentence structure, go right ahead and visit: http://learnoutlive.com/japanese • The tutoring offered runs from Zero to Hero, complete beginner status on up. Field-tested lessons are available to provide real help for the real world.

The Mixed Language Method • It’s simply not possible to master basic kanji and have all the words we would want to go with these kanji ready for action. Therefore, we must substitute English as required, chiefly in two areas: • 1. Verbs • 2. Nouns • We will, however, strive to respect Japanese grammar at all times.

Readings Recap #1 • • • • • • • •

日 木 土 月 森 空 風 水

( にち、 nichi) ( き、 ki) ( つち、 tsuchi) ( つき、 tsuki) ( もり、 mori) ( そら、 sora) ( かぜ、 kaze) ( みず、 mizu)

Readings Recap, #2 • • • • • • • •

山 川 天 気 石 岩 雨 雪

( やま、 yama) ( かわ、 kawa) ( てん、 ten) ( き、 ki) ( いし、 ishi) ( いわ、 iwa) ( あめ、 ame) ( ゆき、 yuki)

Important Common Adjectives • • • • • •

小さい ( ちいさい、 chiisai, small) 大きい ( おおきい、 ookii, large) 中々 ( なかなか、 nakanaka, so-so) 少し ( すこし、 sukoshi, a little/ a bit) 多く ( おおく、 ooku, many) 太い ( ふとい、 futoi, fat)

Verbs For This Lesson • • • • • •

見る ( みる、 miru, To See) 行く ( いく、 iku, To Go) 戻る ( もどる、 modoru, To Go Back) 帰る ( かえる、 kaeru, To Return) 来る ( くる、 kuru, To Come) 歩く ( あるく、 aruku, To Walk)

Fill In The Blanks • In this section, I (the sensei) will offer up a sentence with a ____. • That is, a blank. • You will be called upon to fill this blank (or blanks, multiple) with the vocabulary you have been striving to retain and master. • Our default character for sentence purposes is named Hiroshi.

Hiroshi Looks • Hiroshi looks at the ____. • There are many valid answers from this lesson. You can try to fill this blank with any of the possibilities, and try this multiple times to remember the standalone readings of the kanji.

Hiroshi Saw • Hiroshi saw the ___ and ___.

Hiroshi Is Looking At • Hiroshi is looking at the ___ ___.

Hiroshi Went To • Hiroshi は ____ に行きました。

Hiroshi Walks To • Hiroshi は ___ ___ に歩く。

Free-Form Sentences • You can use Hiroshi, or any 1st person pronoun, to create your own sentences as well. Why not try it out?  • When you’re ready, read on: 

Free Sentence Evaluations • If you are a reader and Japanese student and have formed your own sentences, why not give the author a look for a free evaluation? • Subject to a reasonable limit (5 to 10) • Constructive criticism only  • jeremiahbourque@gmail.com

Master Japanese One Step At A Time • Please consider Learn Out Live’s Japanese department for your Japanese learning needs. • http://learnoutlive.com/japanese • Thank you very much.


Mastering Japanese Kanji Volume 1