Blog of Sara Jakša

Why Learning Kanjis is Easy and Fun

I have been learning Japanese language for years. When other people find out about that, they are mostly surprised, that I also know how to read. Like Japanese writing is unattainable for foreigns to learn.

But learning kanjis (the pictograph Japanese writing system) was always a pleasure to me. Sure, there are a lot of letters or kanjis to learn, but in my opinion, it is the most logical and fun writing system to learn.

To explain the above sentence, we will start with, why kanjis are logical. The first misconception is, that kanjis are actually pictures. The one thing, that advice, that did more harm to me than good.

Does 木 looks anything like a tree? 火 like fire? 日 like sun? 子 like child? 月 like moon? It doesn't to me.

But that doesn't mean, that every kanji had to memorized separately. Remember ? from the last paragraph? Now we only use three tree kanjis, and get 森 meaning forest. So three threes means forest.

We are all aware of the old thinking, that women are home and man work on the field. The thinking is outdated this days, but it is still in kanjis. Because when you add 力 meaning power and 田 meaning filed, you get man (男). The man, that is working in the field. I apologize to all man, but based on their writing, you are mostly good for working.

Then we have the kanji 星 meaning star. Witch gets its meaning from 日 meaning sun and 生 meaning live. So a star is a living sun.

But the concrete kanjis are not the only ones that are logical. The one really logical is the kanji 好 meaning like or love. Since woman (女) loves her child (子), together they represent love.

The good example is also kanji for light up (明). As you can see, it is made of two parts 日 meaning sun and 月 meaning moon. Since both the sun and the moon light us up, the kanji means lightning up.

Or to forget (忘). When the memory inside of heart (心) dies (亡), that means a person can no longer remember it.

Of course, the kanjis were made by Japanese and some culture differences are going to be present. One of my favorite is the word for baby (赤ちゃん). Apparently is means red (赤) thing, that is also cute (ちゃん) - the ending mostly used for kids.

So there is no need to be afraid of kanjis. Just find the beauty in the logic of it.

There is also a great system for learning japanese words. If you wanto to have fun with it, you can check my column Why Kanji Make Japanese Words Easier To Learn.