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Strategies for Learning Kanji
  * Stories
  Physical/Emotional Response
Stroke Order
Strategies for Managing Learning

Using Stories as a strategy means inventing a story about the kanji. This story may draw on the traditional meaning of the elements which make up the character, the meaning of the radical contained in the kanji, or else you can make up one that means something to you.


1 I make up my own stories according to what the kanji looks like to me
e.g.1 歌(うた song)Two speakers with a person dancing beside. The person has headphones on.
e.g.2 片付ける (かたづける to put in order) Looks like rooms with a hall between. The rooms need to be tidied.
e.g.3 寝る (ねる to sleep) Under the roof inside the house, the bed has pillows piled on top, and the person is standing beside the bed putting on pyjama bottom and top.
e.g.4 温かい (あたたかい warm) and the 温 out of 温泉 (おんせん hot spring). “The water radical, which I think of as sweat, then the sun and underneath it looks like a little heater” (student).
e.g.5 残る (のこる to leave e.g. food) The RH element looks likes fish bones left over on the plate. The LH element looks like 夕(ゆう)meaning evening. Evening meal.
e.g. 6 酒(さけ alcohol) It has the ‘water’ radical and it looks like a sake bottle with a bit of sake in it.

2 I make up my own stories according to the component elements of the kanji
e.g.1 道具 (どうぐ tool) Eyes (目) and legs are needed to use the equipment.
e.g.2 者 (もの person) The person is in the middle separating the ground (土) and the sun (日).
e.g.3 傘 (かさ umbrella) Four people (人) running to get under the same umbrella.
e.g.4 卒業 (そつぎょう graduation ) Ten (十) people (人) graduating under the same roof.
e.g.5 知る (しる to know) a “know-all” is a person (人) with a big mouth (口).
e.g.6 仕事 (しごと work) A person (人) next to a Saturday (土) – Japanese people are the only people who go to work on a Saturday.

3 I use stories told to me by my teacher
e.g.1 春 (はる Spring) Three (三) people (人) walking in the sunshine (日)
e.g.2 右 (みぎ right) 口 looks like a square – it has right angles
e.g.3 聞く (きく hear, listen) Ear (耳) at the gate (門)

4 I use stories I find in reference books on how to remember kanji
e.g.1 星(ほし star) ”A star (星) born (生) from the sun (日)” (Shingakusha Kanji Drillbooks 2-2:7).
e.g.2 作る(つくる to make) cPerson with saw about to make something” (Henshall 1988:35).
e.g.3 桜 (さくら cherry) “A tree(木)in bloom is like a beautiful woman (女)with a hair decoration” (Takebe 1993:9).