Ulrike's Mnemonics

Welcome to Ulrike's Mnemonics! This free, invaluable resource comes to you from the clever mind of Ulrike Narins, who has a passion for creating kanji mnemonics. Her collection of memory tricks will grow until she has provided mnemonics for all 2,136 Joyo kanji. (By the way, if you're wondering how to pronounce her name, "Eureka" is a good approximation. That is, in fact, Ulrike's "Starbucks name"!)

Kenneth Henshall's book A Guide to Remembering Japanese Characters inspired many of Ulrike's mnemonics. After presenting scholarly etymologies, Henshall suggests memory tricks that may have nothing to do with the true history. Taking a cue from his playful ideas, Ulrike prefers mnemonics that are easy to remember over those that adhere closely to the actual etymology.

Ulrike's mnemonics look simple, which is part of their brilliance, but there's actually quite a bit going on in each one. Here's how they work:

• Column 1 contains a kanji number and a kanji.

• Column 2 contains all the Joyo yomi for this kanji (with on-yomi in katakana and kun-yomi in hiragana). 

• Column 3 presents all the meanings of the kanji in question. Capital letters denote definitions that play a part in the mnemonic.

• Column 4 deftly interweaves two mnemonics—one for the shape and meaning and one for the yomi—and presents footnotes. Here is more information about those three features:

Shape-and-meaning mnemonics

Fully capitalized black words refer back to the capitalized definitions in column 3.

Ulrike has broken down each kanji into parts. In the mnemonics for the shape and meaning, these parts appear in parentheses. Words preceding the parentheses indicate what the parts represent. For example, for kanji 1021 (越: to cross over), we see this: "run (走) with spears (戈)."

Yomi mnemonics

• Romanized readings in all capital letters approximate the readings. The actual readings follow in parentheses, again in hiragana for kun-yomi and in katakana for on-yomi. For example, the yomi mnemonic for kanji 6, 音 (オン, イン, おと, ね), is "my blue ONkel (オン: German for “uncle”) from INdia (イン)." Note that the yomi mnemonic features two of the four yomi. Note, also, that Ulrike sometimes uses mnemonics that incorporate German (her native language) and Japanese, as well as English. You'll learn some German on top of everything else!

The yomi mnemonic may appear smack in the middle of the mnemonic for the shape and meaning. Alternatively, the yomi mnemonic may come first or last. For kanji 6, the yomi mnemonic is at the center of the whole thing: "The SOUND that my blue ONkel (オン: German for “uncle”) from INdia (イン) makes when he stands (立) on the sun (日) must be truly horrible."

The yomi mnemonic appears entirely in blue, which isn't just a pretty color. The two mnemonics together should create a striking picture in your mind. When you later recall the whole scene, try to visualize the blue object in the picture. The blue entity may not be an object but rather a distinct sound. Zeroing in on that blue focal point will tell you the yomi. For instance, the mnemonic for kanji 235 (横) is "Yellow (黄) wood (木) on its SIDE. 'OH (オウ), look! A blue YOKO (よこ) Ono is sitting on it!'" It is important that you imagine a piece of yellow wood lying on its side with Yoko Ono sitting on it. Because Yoko Ono represents the yomi, visualize her in blue, possibly in a blue kimono. You need to visualize each scene as vividly as possible with the main features exaggerated or even twisted and infused with emotion. That way you will find the kanji much easier to remember.

Whenever possible, Ulrike distinguishes between short and long yomi (e.g., TO and TOU) by representing the short one with something small or short in duration and by representing the long yomi with the same object in a larger size.

Footnotes

Footnotes for each mnemonic list the parts of each kanji and provide definitions or explanations.

A kanji could have three kinds of parts:

1. Shapes that constitute autonomous kanji, such as the 祭 inside 察 (489: to guess). For such shapes, a link will take you to the row for that particular kanji so that you can find out more about it (e.g., its mnemonic).

2. Shapes that serve as radicals, such as the 宀 (radical 40: "roof") in 察. For such shapes, links will take you to corresponding Radical Notes, if they exist. If they don't yet exist, they will eventually, and links to them will appear at that point.

3. Shapes that are mere components and that appear in a component sidebar on the upper right side of the page. For example, the first two strokes of kanji 2, 右 (right), constitute a component that you should interpret as "hand" for the purposes of that mnemonic, though the proper etymology may say otherwise. The sidebar lists all such components.

Very often, a shape constitutes both an autonomous kanji and a radical. In such cases, we present the shape first as a kanji, then as a radical, also listing its radical number and name, as with 口 (20: mouth; radical 30: “mouth”) in the mnemonic for 右. We have chosen this sequence because an autonomous kanji is likely to have a mnemonic presented in its own row, and you may benefit from following that thread. By contrast, although you'll find a wealth of information in each Radical Note, you won't find a mnemonic there.

When a shape constitutes a radical, we present the actual radical name, but the footnote also suggests how you should perceive a radical in the context of a particular mnemonic, as it fits the story better. Here are some examples:

儿 (radical 10: ”legs”; take as “bent legs”)

攵 (radical 66: "strike"; take as "stick in hand")

耂 (radical 125: "old"; take as "stick in the earth")

A shape may constitute both a radical and a non-Joyo kanji. In that case, we present it only as a radical. That's true of 頁 (radical 181: "big shell"; take as "head"). Although it is also a non-Joyo kanji meaning "page" or "leaf," we say nothing about that in the footnote.

• Column 5 lists Joyo kanji that contain the character in question. (If no Joyo kanji include the given shape, column 5 simply says "None.") For example, kanji 886 (若) appears inside 諾 (1557: consent) and 匿 (1664: to hide). If many Joyo kanji contain the given shape, then we list just a few and indicate that others exist. 

Incidentally, when we say that one kanji "contains" another, we don't mean that there's an etymological relationship between the two. Sometimes a shape looks the way it does because of a simplification or miscopying. Thus, there is no real connection between 上 (37: above, up) and 止 (129: to stop), for instance. But this part of the site is about mnemonics, not etymology, so we're casting those concerns aside for now and saying that 上 is inside 止.

Here's another great feature of the mnemonics page. Clicking on a kanji in column 5 changes the whole display significantly, showing how various shapes relate to one another. In column 5 for row 886 (若), choosing (1557) makes that row appear atop the now-indented (886) row. The kanji contains not only but also 言 (274: to say), so that row simultaneously appears, indented as much as row 886 is. Because contains 右 (2: right), the row for kanji 2 displays under row 886, indented more. Finally, includes 口 (20: mouth), so the ultra-indented row 20 appears at the bottom. This hierarchical arrangement (akin to a family tree) lends clarity to chaos in the kanji world.

1
イチ, イツ
ひと, ひと-つ

ONE; "one" radical

If you hold ONE finger horizontally for too long it will start to ITCH (イチ).


The kanji itself is radical 1: "one"

(3: rain)

(327: world)

(1149: hill)

and more

2
ウ, ユウ
みぎ

RIGHT (as opposed to left)

In shock over the illegal U-turn (ユウ), he covered his mouth (口) with his RIGHT hand ().


(20: mouth; radical 30: "mouth")

, take as "hand"

(886: young)

3

あめ, あま

RAIN; "rain" radical

If you take the U(ウ)-Boot (U-Boot: German for "submarine") to AMErika (あめ), then you won’t notice the RAIN. They just know it’s RAINING when the one (一) piece of cloth (巾) they hang out is dripping wet.


(1: one; radical 1: "one")

(1989: cloth; radical 50: "cloth")

The kanji itself is radical 173: "rain"

(180: electricity)

(1444: to shake)

(1940: leak)

and more

4
エン
まる-い

circle; YEN

"Get YEN coins from a teller's window and put the special ones in the blue ENvelope (エン)."


None

None

5
オウ

KING, magnate; "jewel" radical

The KING rules three (三) entities: heaven, Earth, and humans. He is the vertical force ( | ) binding them together. "OH (オウ), no!" screamed the crowd when he turned blue.


(23: "three)

| (radical 2: "rod"), take as "vertical force"

The kanji itself is a variant of radical 96: "jewel"

(299: to preside over)

(330: all)

(1161: lunatic)

and more

 

 

6
イン, オン
おと, ね

SOUND, noise; "sound" radical

The SOUND that my blue ONkel (オン: German for "uncle") from INdia (イン) makes when he stands (立) on the sun (日) must be truly horrible.


(73: to stand; radical 117: "standing")

(62: sun; radical 72: "sun")

The kanji itself is radical 180: "sound"

(224: darkness)

(226: mind)

(1015: rhyme)

and more

7
カ, ゲ
さ-げる, くだ-る, くだ-さる, した, お-りる, もと, さ-がる, くだ-す, お-ろす, しも

BELOW, down; to descend, give; LOW, INFERIOR

The T-bar with the droopy LOWER handle is of such INFERIOR quality that it broke off and fell on the blue CAr (カ) BELOW.


None

(1663: mountain pass)

8

ひ, ほ

FIRE; Tuesday; Mars; "fire" radical

Flames of FIRE shot out of the blue CAr (カ). "HI (ひ: German sound for "sniggering"), hi, hi," chuckled the arsonist.


The kanji itself is radical 86: "fire"

(556: light)

(680: disaster)

(818: ash)

and more

9

はな

FLOWER

HANA (はな) called to her friend, "Look at that beautiful blue CAlla (カ) lily! FLOWERS appear when the plant (艹) undergoes a change (化)."


艹 (radical 140: "grass")

(238: to change)

None

10
ガク
まな-ぶ

study, LEARNING, science

Under an ornate roof (), each child (子) LEARNS about GArlic COOking (ガク) and practices with a blue pot.


, take as "ornate roof"

(25: child; radical 39: "child")

None

11
キ, ケ

SPIRIT, mind; air, ATMOSPHERE, mood; breath; flavor

If you put the big blue KEY (キ) in the keyhole marked with X, a SPIRIT-like vapor (气) will be released into the ATMOSPHERE.


气 (radical 84: "vapor")

None

12
ク, キュウ
ここの-つ, ここの

NINE

The NINE desperately wanted to be a ten (十) but it was about to fall over. So it used a blue hook-shaped Q(キュウ)-tip to lean on.


(33: ten; radical 24: "cross")

(253: research)

(687: miscellaneous)

(1125: rut)

and more

13
キュウ
やす-まる, やす-む, やす-める

to REST, sleep; DAY OFF

This very CUte (キュウ) person (亻) all dressed in blue RESTs against a tree (木) on her DAY OFF.


亻 is a variant of (39: person; radical 9: "person")

(69: tree; radical 75: "tree")

None

14
コン, キン
かな, かね

metal (esp. GOLD); money; Friday; Venus; "metal" radical

He presented two GOLD nuggets ( \ / ) covered () with earth (土) to the blue KINg (キン).


\ /, take as "two nuggets"

, take as "cover"

(60: earth; radical 32: "earth")

The kanji itself is radical 167: "metal"

(353: iron)

(462: mirror)

(611: to record)

and more

15
クウ
あ-く, から, そら, あ-ける

EMPTY, void, vacant; SKY

I work (工) to create a hole (穴) in the roof to see the EMPTY SKY, but instead I see a big blue KUH (クウ: German for "cow").


(113: manufacturing; radical 48: "katakana e"), take as "to work"

(849: hole; radical 116: "hole")

(1258: to hold back)

16
ガツ, ゲツ
つき

MOON, month; Monday; "moon" and "flesh" radicals

A pitted crescent MOON shone down on them. She whispered to him, "Do you have the GUTS (ガツ) to go to the graveyard? The nugGETS (ゲツ) on Grandpa’s grave will look blue in the moonlight." 


The kanji itself is radical 74: "moon" and radical 130: "flesh"

(208: bright)

(316: to extinguish)

(401: to possess)

and more

17
ケン
いぬ

DOG; "animal" radical

The big (大) spotted (丶) DOG named KEN (ケン) is standing on his hind legs.


(53: big; radical 37: "big")

丶 (radical 3: "dot"), take as "spotted"

The kanji itself is radical 94: "animal"

(528: as such)

(717: status quo)

(1219: offering)

and more

18
ケン
み-る, み-せる, み-える

to SEE, LOOK AT; opinion; visible; "seeing" radical

I bend down (儿) to LOOK AT KEN (ケン), who is lying on the floor all blue. I want to SEE with my own eyes (目) that he is alive.


儿 (radical 10: "legs"), take as "bent legs"

(72: eye; radical 109: "eye")

The kanji itself is radical 147: "seeing"

(149: parent)

(439: to memorize)

(445: view)

and more

19

いつ, いつ-つ

FIVE

On this strange chair with a cover, you can only sit until you are FIVE. The cover is blue and doubles as a GO (ゴ) board.


None

(112: language)

(1239: to understand)

20
ク, コウ
くち

MOUTH, OPENING; "mouth" radical

Saying "KUCHI KUCHI (くち) coo" to a baby makes it OPEN its MOUTH with delight. But then its lips turn blue because COld (コウ) air gets in.


The kanji itself is radical 30: "mouth"

(2: right)

(166: a stand)

(655: phrase)

and more

21
コウ

SCHOOL; to revise, proofread

It's easy to recognize the SCHOOL. Its roof features six (六) wooden (木) crosses (乂) COAted (コウ) with blue paint.


(76: six)

(69: wood; radical 75: "tree")

乂, take as "cross"

Alternate interpretation: (115: association)

None

22

ひだり

LEFT

She grabbed the I-beam (工) with her LEFT hand () to divert attention while she HID A RIbbon (ひだり) in her blue SAri (サ).


, take as "hand"

(113: manufacturing; radical 48: "katakana e"), take as "I-beam"

(1283: support)

(1540: laziness)

23
サン
み-つ, み, みっ-つ

THREE

When her SON (サン) is feeling blue, she writes beautiful THREE-line poems.


None

寿 (1351: longevity)

(1586: casting)

24
サン
やま

MOUNTAIN; pile; "mountain" radical

This is the triple-peaked MOUNTAIN that my SON (サン) climbs when he is feeling blue.


The kanji itself is radical 46: "mountain"

(249: boulder)

(358: island)

(1801: to crumble)

and more

25
シ, ス

CHILD; noun suffix; sign of the rat; "child" radical

A long-armed CHILD named SUE (ス) is lying on a blue COtton (こ) SHEet (シ).


The kanji itself is radical 39: "child"

(10: study)

(101: teaching)

(1752: floating)

and more

26

よ-つ, よん, よ, よっ-つ

FOUR

FOUR corners of the square were supposed to be marked, but SHE (シ) ran out of steam after two.


None

None

27

いと

THREAD; "thread" radical

Skeins of THREAD are laid out on a blue SHEet (シ).


The kanji itself is radical 120: "thread"

(132: paper)

(785: to knit)

(1701: truss)

and more

28

あざ

CHARACTER, letter; word; SECTION OF VILLAGE

A child (子) at her home (宀) in a remote SECTION OF THE VILLAGE studies the Chinese CHARACTERS embroidered on her mother’s blue JEAns (ジ).


(25: child; radical 39: "child")

宀 (radical 40: "katakana u"), take as "home"

None

29

みみ

EAR, hearing; "ear" radical

This EAR looks just like the one on my blue robot MIMI (みみ).


The kanji itself is radical 128: "ear"

(200: to hear)

(301: to take)

(721: employment)

and more

30
シチ
なな-つ, なな, なの

SEVEN

SHE CHEAted (シチ) and turned the SEVEN upside down. "NA-NA (なな: German "scolding" sound)," scolded her partner.


None

(156: to cut)

(1488: to steal)

31
シャ
くるま

CAR, vehicle; train; wheel; "vehicle" radical

He saw a blue two-wheeled rickSHAW (シャ) and decided to make it into a CAR.


The kanji itself is radical 159: "vehicle"

(466: armed forces)

(601: wheel)

(607: to take along)

and more

32
シュ
て, た

HAND, arm; performer of an action; manually handled; means; skill; trouble; "hand" radical

A HAND with fingers spread out will never fit in the tiny blue SHOE (シュ).


The kanji itself is radical 64: "hand"

(458: to raise)

(1209: attack)

(1402: palm of the hand)

and more

33
ジュウ, ジッ
とお, と

TEN; complete; cross; "cross" radical

A roman numeral TEN (X) is balancing on its TOEs (とお) until they turn blue.


The kanji itself is radical 24: "cross"

(105: plan)

(349: straightaway)

(905: needle)

and more

34
スイ, シュツ
だ-す, で-る

to exit, leave, go out, COME OUT, put out, protrude

When I DARE (でる) to COME OUT from behind the bamboo SHOOTS (シュツ), I see mountain (山) upon mountain (山).


(24: mountain; radical 46: "mountain")

(1188: to bend)

(1189: to dig)

(1487: unskillful)

and more

35
ニョ, ジョ, ニョウ
おんな, め

WOMAN, female; "woman" radical

The kneeling WOMAN with the outstretched arms was the one who dated short, blue-haired JOE (ジョ).


The kanji itself is radical 38: "woman"

(223: peaceful)

(859: to like)

(1278: marriage)

and more

36
ショウ
ちい-さい, お, こ

SMALL; minor; young; "little" radical

In his magic SHOW (ショウ) he uses a blue COat (こ) to turn a hook (亅) into two SMALL needles ()—and says he is not CHEAting (ちい(さい)).


亅 (radical 6: "barb"), take as "hook"

, take as "two small needles"

The kanji itself is radical 42: "little"

(99: capital)

(143: small quantity)

(695: to show)

and more

37
ショウ, ジョウ
かみ, あ-がる, のぼ-せる, うわ, あ-げる, のぼ-る, のぼ-す, うえ

ABOVE, UP

That bar has a handle that sticks UP ABOVE the baseline. Whenever JOE (ジョウ) is blue he tries to balance on the handle on one foot.


None

(129: to stop)

(1250: to consent)

(1663: mountain pass)

and more

38
シン
もり

FOREST, woods

Blue-haired MORRIs (もり) said that a FOREST has at least one tree (木) more than a grove (林).


(69: tree; radical 75: "tree")

(75: grove)

None

39
ニン, ジン
ひと

PERSON; "person" radical

This headless, armless PERSON works as a blue NINja (ニン).


The kanji itself is radical 9: "person"

(419: preposition)

(1310: umbrella)

(1353: prisoner)

and more

40
スイ
みず

WATER; Mercury; "water" radical

The WATER of incredibly blue SWIss (スイ) rivers squeezes through narrow banks.


The kanji itself is radical 85: "water"

(915: spring)

(1657: to step on)

尿 (1675: urine)

and more

41
セイ, ショウ
ただ-す, ただ-しい, まさ

right, CORRECT, exact; justice; regular, formal

Whenever he reaches a blue stop sign, SEIji (セイ) tells himself, "To stop (止) at the line (一) is the CORRECT thing to do."


(129: to stop; radical 77: "stopping")

(1: one; radical 1: "one"), take as "line"

(724: politics)

(1397: symptoms)

(1472: to subjugate)

and more

42
セイ, ショウ
お-う, は-やす, い-きる, なま, い-ける, う-む, は-える, き, い-かす, う-まれる

LIFE; birth, to GROW; raw; student; "birth" radical

A GROWING plant serves as a symbol for LIFE in the SHOW (ショウ) on the stage on the blue SEE (セイ: German for "lake").


The kanji itself is radical 100: "birth"

(154: star)

(491: to give birth)

(723: gender)

and more

43
ショウ, セイ
あお, あお-い

BLUE, green; youth; PALE; "blue" radical

The PALE plants that grow () on the SHOre (ショウ) of the blue SEE (セイ: German for "lake") appear BLUE when the moon (月) shines.


, take as twist on (42: to grow; radical 100: "birth")

(16: moon; radical 74: "moon")

The kanji itself is radical 174: "blue"

(155: to clear up)

(519: quiet)

(719: emotion)

and more

44
セキ
ゆう

EVENING; "evening" radical

A clear moon indicates that EVENING has arrived. And YOU (ゆう) want to celebrate by hitting the slopes at night on our blue SKIs (セキ).


The kanji itself is radical 36: "evening"

(71: name)

(91: outside)

(1844: dream)

and more

45
セキ, コク, シャク
いし

STONE; "stone" radical

A square STONE at the base of the cliff fell on my blue SKI (セキ) and caused my ISCHIas (いし: German for "sciatica") to flare up.


The kanji itself is radical 112: "stone"

(249: boulder)

(634: assurance)

(767: tear, break)

and more

46
セキ, シャク
あか-い, あか-らめる, あか, あか-らむ

RED; "red" radical

The fire () glowed RED. It melted all the snow, exposing the earth (土) below and making him feel silly for wearing blue SKIs (セキ).


, take as twist on (8: fire; radical 86: "fire")

(60: soil; radical 32: "earth")

The kanji itself is radical 155: "red"

(1080: to intimidate)

(1336: to pardon)

47
セン

THOUSAND

"A picture is worth a THOUSAND words," said the SENator (セン) in the blue suit, studying an image of Jesus with a cross (十) in one hand and a whip (丿) in the other.


(33: ten; radical 24: "cross")

丿 (radical 4: "katakana no"), take as "whip"

(221: talk)

(244: active)

(732: tongue)

and more

48
セン
かわ

RIVER; "curving river" radical

A big rod ( | ) is floating down the RIVER, right in the CENter (セン) between the banks ().


| (radical 2: "rod")

, take as "(river) banks"

The kanji itself is radical 47: "curving river"

(409: flow)

(506: sequence)

(656: instruction)

and more

49
セン
さき

AHEAD; before; LAST (week, etc.), recently; tip; DESTINATION

The blue-haired SENator's (セン) legs (儿) carried him AHEAD toward his DESTINATION, but his mind was on LAST week and the birth () of his son.


儿 (radical 10: "legs")

, take as twist on (42: life; radical 100: "birth")

(916: to wash)

50
ソウ, サッ
はや-い, はや-める, はや-まる

early; QUICK

Judging from the sun (日), it must be 10 (十) already. Time goes by QUICKLY when you are SEWing (ソウ) a blue quilt.


(62: sun; radical 72: "sun")

(33: ten; radical 24: "cross")

(162: grass)

(318: written passage)

(902: barrier)

and more

51
ソク
た-りる, た-す, あし, た-る

FOOT, LEG; step; to walk; counter for pairs of footwear; SUFFICE; "foot" radical

A FOOT with a heel () and a kneecap (口) constitute half a LEG. It SUFFICES that the blue SOCKs (ソク) go up only to the marker on the shin ().


, take as "foot with heel"

(20: mouth; radical 30: "mouth"), take as "kneecap"

, take as "marker on shin"

The kanji itself is radical 157: "foot"

(415: route)

(1536: to stimulate)

(2056: to catch)

and more

52
ソン
むら

VILLAGE

It is blue-haired SONia's (ソン) job to measure (寸) all trees (木) in the VILLAGE.


(909: measurement; radical 41: "inch")

(69: tree; radical 75: "tree")

None

53
タイ, ダイ
おお, おお-いに, おお-きい

BIG; general, very; university; "big" radical

This boy who is trying to look as BIG as possible wears DEIne (ダイ: German for "your") blue TIE (タイ), which hangs to his knees.


The kanji itself is radical 37: "big"

(614: cause)

(1668: to pierce)

(1920: to return)

and more

54
ナン, ダン
おとこ

MAN, male

When strength (力) is needed in the rice field (田), the MAN in blue DUNgarees (ダン) comes to help.


(74: strength; radical 19: "strong")

(59: rice field; radical 102: "rice field")

(592: brave)

(1903: captive)

(2124: to well (up))

55
チュウ, ジュウ
なか

MIDDLE; in; among; during; throughout; CHINA; to hit the target

The CHINESE arrow (丨) with blue CHEWing (チュウ) gum on the tip hits the target (口) right in the MIDDLE.


丨 (radical 2: "rod"), take as "arrow"

(20: mouth; radical 30: "mouth"), take as "target"

(934: intermediary)

(936: sincerity)

(1583: offshore)

56
チュウ
むし

INSECT; worm; belittling term; "insect" radical

I pinned the INSECT () to the bottom of the showcase with a little sign (中) but someone obscured the writing with blue CHEWing gum (チュウ).


, take as "insect"

(55: middle), take as "sign on pin"

The kanji itself is radical 142: "insect"

(100: strong)

(198: wind)

(763: alone)

and more

57
チョウ
まち

TOWN

The TOWN where the blue-haired CHOsen (チョウ) one lived was built around a rice field (田) with a statue of a giant nail (丁) in the middle.


(59: rice field; radical 102: "rice field")

(346: town subsection), take as "nail"

None

58
テン
あま, あめ

SKY, heavens; weather; nature; top; Uranus

The blue-haired AMErican (あめ) TENor (テン) looked up in awe while singing this aria: "Above us all there is one (一) big (大) SKY."


(1: one; radical 1: "one")

(53: big; radical 37: "big")

(688: silkworm)

(918: to play music)

(1631: to add to)

and more

59
デン

RICE FIELD; (oil, coal, etc.) field; "rice field" radical

When the DENtist (デン) feels blue, he strolls along the paths that cross the RICE FIELD.


The kanji itself is radical 102: "rice field"

(131: to think)

(424: stomach)

(627: fruit)

and more

60
ド, ト
つち

soil, EARTH, ground; land; Saturday; Saturn; Turkey; "earth" radical

This sturdy plant grows in the EARTH even if DOgs (ド) keep peeing on it.


The kanji itself is radical 32: "earth"

(258: to leave)

 (372: slope)

(612: pressure)

and more

61

ふた, ふた-つ

TWO; "two" radical

"Hold TWO fingers horizontally and lift your blue FOOT Up (ふた) to touch the opposite KNEE (ニ), also blue."


The kanji itself is radical 7: "two"

(906: humanity)

(950: second)

(1470: well)

and more

62
ジツ, ニチ
か, ひ

DAY; SUN; Japan; Sunday; "sun" radical

The HEAt (ひ) of the SUN powers NIETZSCHE’s (ニチ: German philosopher) blue CAr (か) by DAY.


The kanji itself is radical 72: "sun"

(6: sound)

(1481: past)

(1816: cap)

and more

63
ニュウ
い-る, はい-る, い-れる

to ENTER, COME IN; put in; contain; accept; emphatic verbal suffix; "enter" radical

The blue-eyed NEW (ニュウ) Yorker ENTERED the teepee (入) only after the Native American called out in an EErie (い(る)) voice, telling him to COME IN.


The kanji itself is radical 11: "enter"

(1275: to move inward)

64
ネン
とし

YEAR

Every YEAR, blue-haired NENa (ネン) brings the person () guarding the well () a blue TOSHIba (とし) laptop.


, take as twist on (39: person; radical 9: "person")

, take as twist on (1470: well)

None

65
ハク, ビャク
しろ, しろ-い, しら

WHITE; blank; unblemished; clear; to say; "white" radical

A WHITE ray () of sunshine (日) falls on the bowl of blue HUCKleberries (ハク).


, take as "ray"

(62: day; radical 72: "sun")

The kanji itself is radical 106: "white"

(915: spring)

(1695: beat (rhythmic))

(1696: to stay overnight)

and more

66
ハチ
や-つ, よう, や, やっ-つ

EIGHT; many; specific time of day; "eight" radical

The teacher had a special nose. It would always sneeze EIGHT times—four on the left side and four on the right—always with a tremendous HATSCHI (はち: German sound of a sneeze).


The kanji itself is radical 12: "eight"

(122: valley)

(199: to divide)

(277: public)

and more

67
ヒャク

HUNDRED; various

"What? HE's YAKUza (ヒャク)? No way! Only about one (一) in a HUNDRED of the white (白) males in this town has ties to those gangsters."


(1: one; radical 1: "one")

(65: white; radical 106: "white")

None

68
ブン, モン
ふみ

SENTENCE, letter; language; "literature" radical

Blue-haired MONica (モン) tells her students to dot their i's and cross their t's (亠) in all SENTENCES. Otherwise she is going to cross out (乂) everything they've written.


亠 (radical 8: "lid"), take as "to dot the i's and cross the t's"

乂 (to mow), take as "to cross out"

The kanji itself is radical 67: "literature"

(336: to)

(1056: mosquito)

(1857: pattern)

and more

 

69
モク, ボク
こ, き

TREE, wood; Thursday; Jupiter; "tree" radical

This TREE with the sweeping branches has a blue KEY (き) on top so that the blue BOCK (ボク: German for "buck") cannot reach it.


The kanji itself is radical 75: "tree"

(832: desk)

(1304: label)

(1389: bed)

and more

70
ホン
もと

BOOK; basis, origin; this; main; real; counter for cylindrical objects

Under the blue sky of HONolulu (ホン) he wonders how much of a tree (木) it takes to make one (一) BOOK.


(69: tree; radical 75: "tree")

(1: one; radical 1: "one")

(165: body)

(1705: bowl)

71
メイ, ミョウ

NAME; fame; excellence; counter for people

Blue-haired MEI (メイ) stands at the window (口) each evening (夕), calling her lover's NAME.


(20: mouth; radical 30: "mouth"), take as "window"

(44: evening; radical 36: "evening")

(1847: inscription)

72
モク, ボク
め, ま

EYE; to look; point of view; aim; item; ordinal number suffix; "eye" radical

An upright EYE painted on the blue MElon (め) seemed to MOCK (モク) people.


The kanji itself is radical 109: "eye"

(18: to see)

(530: mutual)

(1816: cap)

and more

73
リュウ, リツ
た-てる, た-つ

to STAND, be independent; erect, establish, rise; start; "standing" radical

He is STANDING there, staring at the huge blue RITZ (リツ) Hotel in front of him.


The kanji itself is radical 117: "standing"

(6: sound)

(421: rank)

(563: double)

and more

74
リキ, リョク
ちから

power, ability; STRENGTH; force; influence; energy; "strong" radical

RICKY (リキ) turned blue from all the effort of showing off the STRENGTH of his biceps.


The kanji itself is radical 19: "strong"; take as "biceps"

(314: to help)

(431: addition)

(795: duty)

and more

75
リン
はやし

FOREST, grove

Blue-haired RINgo (リン) was the only person who called the two trees (木) in his front yard a FOREST.


(69: tree; radical 75: "tree")

(1830: to rub)

(1831: to polish)

(1832: demon)

and more

76
ロク
む, むっ-つ, む-つ, むい

SIX

Whoever wins this game of rock (丶), paper (一), scissors (八), using a blue ROCK (ロク), will get the SIX-pack.


丶 (radical 3: "dot"), take as "rock"

(1: one; radical 1: "one"), take as "sheet of paper"

(66: eight; radical 12: "eight"), take as "scissors"

None

77
イン
ひ-ける, ひ-く

to PULL; attract; catch (a cold); cite; withdraw; subtract; take over; CONSULT (a written source); apply; emphatic verbal prefix

Blue-haired INgrid (イン) CONSULTS the archery manual before PULLING the string (丨) of her bow (弓).


丨 (radical 2: "rod"), take as "string"

(836: bow)

None

78
ウン
くも

CLOUD

The dark CLOUDS over the blue lagOON (ウン) that look like two (二) noses (ム) promise rain (雨).


(61: two; radical 7: "two")

厶 (myself; radical 28: "katakana mu"), take as "nose"

(3: rain; radical 173: "rain")

(1672: cloudy)

79
オン, エン
とお-い

DISTANT

In her travels (辶) to a DISTANT land (土), she made sure to have enough food to put in her mouth (口), comfortable clothes (), and of course her blue TOY (とおい).


辶 (radical 162: "movement"), take as "travels"

(60: land; radical 32: "earth")

(20: mouth; radical 30: "mouth")

, take as twist on (420: clothing; radical 145: "clothing")

None

80

なん, なに

WHAT, which, WHATEVER

"WHAT can (可) a person (亻) say to the president?" asked the blue-haired NANNY (なに). "WHATEVER you say," he replied, "don't mention blue CAlla (カ) lilies!"


(816: can)

亻 is a variant of (39: person; radical 9: "person")

(239: load)

81

academic subject; DEPARTMENT; CRIME, sin

Using dippers (斗), they filled the director's blue CAr (カ) with grain (禾). Half the DEPARTMENT was in on the "CRIME."


(1633: dipper; radical 68: "dots and cross")

禾 (two-branched tree; radical 115: "grain")

None

82
ゲ, カ
なつ

SUMMER

You see a lot of lanterns () and crossed legs (夂) in a SUMMER dance around a blue CAr (カ) filled with NUTS (なつ).


, take as "lantern"

夂 (radical 34: "winter"), take as "crossed legs"

None

83
カ, ケ
や, いえ

HOUSE; FAMILY; professional; someone performing an action; territory

Blue-haired KEvin's (ケ) FAMILY has a fancy roof (宀) on their HOUSE, but the inside looks like pigs (豕) live there.


宀 (radical 40: "katakana u"), take as "roof"

豕 (radical 152: "pig")

(1049: wife)

(1055: earning money)

84

うた-う, うた

SONG; POEM

In this picture, blue-haired UTA (うた) has her mouth wide open. It is possible (可) that she is yawning (欠). But it is also possible (可) that she is singing a SONG or reciting a POEM.


(816: possible)

(471: lack; radical 76: "yawning")

None

85
カク, ガ

PICTURE; to draw a line; plan; kanji stroke 

To preserve his PICTURES, blue-haired GArfield (ガ) attaches each one to a wooden lattice (田) that hangs (丨) from a rod (一) in an open box (凵).


(59: rice field; radical 102: "rice field"), take as "lattice"

丨 (radical 2: "rod"), take as "to hang"

(1: one; radical 1: "one"), take as "rod"

凵 (radical 17: "open box")

None

86
エ, カイ
まわ-す, まわ-る

to GO AROUND; return; TIME; round, game, inning; Islam

"To build this blue KIte (カイ), make this square nut GO AROUND the bolt at least 10 TIMES," said blue-haired Emile (エ).


None

(1571: platform)

87
エ, カイ
あ-う

MEETING; party; association; collecting; fortune

"OW (あ(う))!" said the two (二) people who bumped elbows (ム) at a MEETING under the awning ().


(61: two; radical 7: "two")

ム (radical 28: "katakana mu"), take as "elbow"

, take as "awning," is a variant of (39: person; radical 9: "person")

(89: picture)

88
カイ
うみ

sea, OCEAN; Neptune

"Every (毎) drop of water (氵) flows to the OCEAN," muses blue-haired KYle (カイ).


(206: every)

氵 is a variant of 水 (radical 85: "water")

None

89
エ, カイ

PICTURE

At the party (会) the blue-haired twins KYle (カイ) and Emile (エ) gave out colorful threads (糸). The guests had to arrange them to make a PICTURE of the hosts.


(87: party)

(27: thread; radical 120: "thread")

None

90

かい

SHELLFISH; seashell; "small shell" radical

A SHELLFISH with protruding legs becomes tangled up with a sunken blue KIte (かい).


The kanji itself is radical 154: "small shell"

(193: to buy)

(728: blame)

(742: rule)

and more

91
ゲ, ガイ
ほか, はず-れる, そと, はず-す

OUTSIDE; foreign; to exclude; OTHER; detach; MISS

Because it was already evening (夕) and quite dark OUTSIDE, our blue-haired GUIde (ガイ) MISSED the sharp right turn (ト). We should have gone with the OTHER guy.


(44: evening; radical 36: "evening")

ト (radical 25: "katakana to"), take as "sharp right turn"

None

92
カン, ケン
あいだ, ま

interval; SPACE; between; relationship; timing; room

When MA (ま) has the blues, she appreciates the SPACE in the gate (門) that lets sun (日) into the room.


(211: gate; radical 169: "gate")

(62: sun; radical 72: "sun")

(829: simple)

(2121: dark)

93
ガン
かお

FACE, EXPRESSION

You should have seen the EXPRESSION on the lad's (彦) FACE when I showed him the blue GUN (ガン) made of big shells (頁).


彦 (lad)

頁 (page; radical 181: "big shell")

None

94

STEAM

"Water (氵) turns into STEAM (气) when heated," blue-haired KEIth (キ) explained.


氵 is a variant of 水 (radical 85: "water")

气 (spirit; radical 84: "steam")

None

95

しる-す

to WRITE DOWN; record; MEMORY; symbol

Blue-eyed KEIth (キ) says (言) he himself (己) WROTE DOWN the sequence of events from MEMORY.


(274: to say; radical 149: "word")

(855: self; radical 49: "oneself")

None

96

かえ-す, かえ-る

RETURN; homecoming; to conclude; FOLLOW

Blue-haired KEIth (キ) RETURNED triumphantly with sword (刂) in hand (彐), FOLLOWED by blue-eyed KAEla (かえ(る)), who covered (冖) her head with a delicate cloth (巾).


刂 is a variant of 刀 (radical 18: "sword")

彐 (pig's head; radical 58: "katakana yo"), take as "hand"

冖 (to cover; radical 14: "katakana wa")

(1989: cloth; radical 50: "cloth")

None

97
ギュウ
うし

COW

"The COW with a broken horn? I call her USCHI (うし)."


The kanji itself is radical 93: "cow"

(387: thing)

(632: to solve)

(760: special)

and more

98
ギョ
さかな, うお

FISH; "fish" radical

In the middle of the rice field (田) he made a fire (灬) and roasted the FISH that was still on the hook (). Then he said, "Now hand me the spices from the blue SACK, ANNA (さかな)."


(59: rice field; radical 102: "rice field")

灬 is a variant of 火 (radical 86: "fire")

, take as "hook"

The kanji itself is radical 195: "fish"

(459: fishing)

(1208: whale)

(1501: fresh)

99
ケイ, キョウ

CAPITAL, metropolis; Tokyo; Kyoto

In the back of the blue KIOsk (キョウ), in a small (小) opening (口) covered by a lid (亠), they hide the map of the CAPITAL's secret passages.


(36: small; radical 42: "little")

(20: opening; radical 30: "mouth")

亠 (radical 8: "lid")

(469: scene)

(890: to start)

(1906: refreshing)

and more

100
キョウ, ゴウ
つよ-い, つよ-める, つよ-まる, し-いる

STRONG; to force; emphasize

"At the blue KIOsk (キョウ) they're displaying an insect (虫) that can use its incredibly STRONG nose (ム) to pull the string of a bow (弓)," says blue-haired HuGO (ゴウ).


(56: insect; radical 142: "insect")

ム (radical 28: "katakana mu"), take as "nose"

(836: bow; radical 57: "bow")

None

Components

Below you'll find a mix of real etymology and fanciful interpretations.

1 STROKE
horizontal hook
corner
mark; ray; eyelash; dollar bill
hook; corner
corner
three
prop
person
2 STROKES
hand
hand
cross; crossed out; mesh
lid; roof
person; broken tip
hook; bent body
side of town
plump buttocks
2 small needles
person
ladle
insect
chair
plow
stooped person
heavy lid
(river) banks
nose; elbow; kneeling person; kneeling
horizontal nail
four
chair
3 STROKES
cover; cap; roof
child almost dead
3 hanging ropes
hand
hand
foot with heel
marker on shin
table
twist on hiragana e; zigzag path
oddly shaped dam
stand

hair; 
fallen petals;
drip irrigation system

table

umbrella

4 STROKES
eaves
growth; plants
foot
4-line poem
big man with broken arms and a broken leg
clothes
2 times 十 plus 一, which is "21"; spit with a pig
handy tool
hand
roman numeral for two
sticks; drops of sweat; sparklers
double roof
bent body
hand
plants
5 STROKES
fence
ornate roof
crown

waves with horizon in the background; rays
broom
saw
doorsteps
half a row
almost use
correct
ornate building
protruding bones
funny tree
brother
3 times 十 is "30"
6 STROKES
upside-down guy
3-branched tree
3 times 十 plus 一, which is "31"; spit with a pig
double wheels
scissors
7 STROKES
lantern
watchful eye
rice plants
splayed feet
hands
8 STROKES
wheat sheaves
ladder on the table
9 STROKES
heartless
10 STROKES
14 people
12 STROKES
bird with open beak
almost business