Are you having trouble learning the kanji alphabet?
OK, so there isn’t exactly a “kanji alphabet” but kanji are made up of building blocks (sort of like letters) called radicals: 部首 (ぶしゅ). There are 2,136 kanji that every Japanese student learns in school and each of these kanji has a particular radical along with other “parts” that make up the whole character. So just like our dictionaries are organized alphabetically, a Japanese kanji dictionary is organized by radical! Obviously, an online kanji dictionary means you can cut and paste a kanji or even draw the kanji you want to look up. But before the days of the internet, you would find a kanji by its radical. That’s why we include the radical in every kanji we post every day!
Can you see all the parts in this kanji? If you go to Nihongo Master’s kanji dictionary, you can also look up any kanji by its radical or any of its parts. Last week, we learned a lot of kanji with the radical for human (人) but this week we used a lot of different radicals. If you’re really struggling to remember meaning or context of kanji, or to find a kanji online, the radical can help! There are 214 kanji radicals in total (though not all are commonly used), and we will go through all of them in an upcoming post!
Week 23: From “Together” to “Participate”
How many different radicals did you spot in our kanji this week?
Knowing the radical of a kanji can help you with meaning and with stroke order as well. Downloading the printable practice sheets we post each week can make a big difference! These are only for premium members, but trust us, they’re worth it!
If just the practice sheets aren’t enough, we highly recommend subscribing to the Kanji Challenge email where you will receive FREE PRINTABLE FLASHCARDS!! These aren’t available anywhere else on the site, so make sure you join the list to get access. The flashcards include kanji meanings, different pronunciations, and common words that use the kanji. Learning kanji in the context of vocabulary is the only way to truly understand how a kanji is used is Japanese. So don’t wait another minute! Learn the kanji alphabet by joining the kanji challenge today!