Chinese Characters: Kanji

The following charts contain simple kanji — the numbers one through ten, characters used when writing the date, and other simple characters used in people and place names. To the right of the characters are the pronunciations and the meanings in English.

Kanji characters used for dates Kanji characters used for names
for people and places
one ichi, hito(tsu) one mountain san, yama mountain
two ni, futa(tsu) two origin hon, moto book/origin
three san, mi(ttsu) three mouth kô/ku, kuchi mouth
four yon/shi, yo(ttsu) four jun jun, — purity
five go, itsu(tsu) five ko ko, shi/su child
six roku, mu(ttsu) six middle chû, naka middle/inside
seven shichi, nana(tsu) seven east tô, higashi east
eight hachi, yat(tsu) eight west sei/sai, nishi west
nine kyû/ku, kokono(tsu) nine day kyô/kei, — capital
ten jû, tô ten      
month getsu/gatsu, tsuki month/moon      
day nichi/jitsu, hi day/sun      

Classroom Exercises

Using the above charts, try writing the following:

  1. The number 20 is written (two/ten). The number 14 is written (ten/four). Try writing your age.
  2. January is written (one/month), February (two/month) etc. The date May 16th is written (five/month—ten/six/day). Try writing these dates and then write your birthday.
  3. The following surnames are common in Japan:
      • Yamaguchi (mountain/mouth)
      • Tanaka (rice field/middle)
      • Honda (origin/rice field)
  4. Junko (purity/child) is a common name for a girl, and Junichi (purity/one) is a common name for a boy. The number "one" in a boy's name indicates that he is the first born son. Try to write these names.
  5. The capital of Japan is Tôkyô (east/capital). Trying writing this.

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