KM Scholar N5

Revise your JLPT N5 Kanji here

This revision page is here to help people who have been using Kanji Memories videos to learn N5 Kanji. There are reminders for the more difficult aspects and links to individual YouTube videos for reference. This is the direct link to the main Kanji Memories You Tube Channel.

The First Ten Numbers

One 一. Every character starts with one single line.
One has just a single line.
on and kun readings
一 (ichi) one, 一つ (hitotsu) one
YouTube link 一


Two 二. Always put the shorter one of the two on top.
Two adds a second, slightly shorter line.
on and kun readings
二 (ni) two, 二つ (futatsu) two
YouTube link 二


Three 三. Two is company and three is just one more.
Three effectively adds a 'one' on top of a 'two'.
on and kun readings
三 (san) three, 三つ (mittsu) three
YouTube link 三


Four 四. All boxes have four sides, but only this one has legs.
Four needs you to know this little symbol for 'human' or 'human legs'.
on and kun readings
四 (shi, yon) four, 四つ (yottsu) four
YouTube link 四


Five 五. For five simply take three then add two down.
Five is a relatively easy one to recall using 三 'three' to start and adding two vertical strokes.
on and kun readings
五 (go) five, 五つ (itsutsu) five
YouTube link 五


Six 六. Lid stops eight getting two so makes six.
Six it is useful to know the 亠 symbol which we often call a 'lid' or a 'kettle lid'.
on and kun readings
六 (roku) six, 六つ (muttsu) six
YouTube link 六


Seven 七. Seven teaspoons are similar, but remember to cross them.
Seven just needs to be learned, though our spoons reference can help.
on and kun readings
七 (shichi, nana) seven, 七つ (nanatsu) seven
YouTube link 七


Eight 八. Only eight can divide three times.
Eight is associated with division when it appears in other Kanji, also 8 div 2 = 4 div 2 = 2 etc.
on and kun readings
八 (hachi) eight, 八つ (yattsu) eight
YouTube link 八


Nine 九. A loopy ten with a hook is only worth nine.
Nine is a number that is not quite as valuable as ten, but ten is hiding in there.
on and kun readings
九 (kyuu) nine, 九つ (kokonotsu) nine
YouTube link 九


Ten 十. Make a perfect cross for ten out of ten.
Ten is a natural place to count to if you have ten fingers (thumbs included!).
on and kun readings
十 (juu) ten, 十分 (juubun) enough
YouTube link 十


The Natural World

Sun 日. Hydrogen and helium are the two parts of the sun.
You don't need the science part of the Sun phrase, just remember there are two parts to the Kanji.
on and kun readings
YouTube link 日


Moon 月. The moon is like a little sun on legs.
The Moon naturally looks like the symbol for 'sun' but it is by far the smaller celestial body.
on and kun readings
YouTube link 月


Mountain 山. The mountain has a peak and two minor summits.
Mountain originally had a shape even more like a series of jagged peaks.
on and kun readings
YouTube link 山


Stream 川. Streams have two banks that water flows between.
The Stream symbol is also often used for big rivers (see also 河).
on and kun readings
YouTube link 川


Fire 火. Two twigs leaning together with two sparks make a fire.
The Fire symbol is a simple picture of a small fire.
on and kun readings
YouTube link 火


Water 水. Water drops have four parts.
Water has an outline just like a tear shaped water drop.
on and kun readings
YouTube link 水


Tree 木. Trees need a platform to sit on.
The Tree platform here is the horizontal line, like a platform in a simple treehouse.
on and kun readings
YouTube link 木


Soil or Earth 土. Add ten shovels of earth to ground level to make a perfect pile of soil.
TheSoil symbol is often called a 'pile of soil' as it stands above the lower horizontal ground level.
on and kun readings
YouTube link 土


Rain 雨. Raining cats and dogs? Divide your shelter into two.
Rain contains raindrops and has a divide down the middle.
on and kun readings
YouTube link 雨


Electricity 電. In an electric storm, shelter from the rain under the monkey's umbrella.
Electricity uses 申 which we call 'monkey say' as it both means a word for saying things and the Zodiac symbol for Monkey. Think of it as a monkey climbing a pole with an arm and a leg on either side.
on and kun readings
YouTube link 電


Spirit 気. The spirit makes the air flow to cut crops.
Spirit has a top part which seems to have started as moving air, and the X shape can be crops being mowed.
on and kun readings
YouTube link 気


Sky (Heavens) 天. To hold up the sky takes one large person.
Sky simply combinines the Kanji for 大 with the symbol for one 一.
on and kun readings
YouTube link


Directions

Middle 中. Carry the stick in your mouth - no, not that way.
Middle is a mouth 口 with a stick down the middle, you just need to remember whether it is vertical or horizontal.
on and kun readings
YouTube link 中


Above 上. Always point at things above the ground.
Above uses a horizontal line as ground level.
on and kun readings

YouTube link 上


Below 下. Careful pointing down below ground.
Below also uses a horizontal line as ground level.
on and kun readings

YouTube link 下


Outside 外. By evening you must do your fortune telling outside.
Outside has on the left 夕, itself a Kanji, for evening. Also 卜 which we call 'fortune telling' or 'divining' - like a little magician's wand pointing down.
on and kun readings
外科 (geka) surgery, 外す (hazusu) to remove
YouTube link 外


Left 左. To be left-handed is not a sign of witchcraft.
Left and Right are very similar. They both use 𠂇 which has a meaning of 'left hand'. Here this combines with 工 the Kanji for 'craft or construction'.
on and kun readings
YouTube link 左


Right 右. Put your left hand to your mouth - that's right.
Right starts like Left, but combines with 口 'mouth'.
on and kun readings
YouTube link 右


North 北. Two people back to back at the North Pole, one with arms raised and toes curled, like a spoon.
North we need the symbol 匕 which is known as the spoon radical.
on and kun readings
YouTube link 北


West 西. Of the four directions, West is the one with legs.
West we once again meet 儿 as 'human legs' (previously seen for the Kanji for 'four'.
on and kun readings
YouTube link 西


South 南. In the South they hide spicy food under a box.
South combines an upside down box with the symbol 辛, itself the Kanji for spicy.
on and kun readings
YouTube link 南


East 東. The sun rises behind a tree in the East.
East shows the Kanji for 'sun' 日 combined with the one for 'tree' 木.
on and kun readings
YouTube link 東


In front of 前. At full moon stay in front of men with knives and horns.
In front of has 月 'moon', 刂 'sword, knife' with an element at the top we call 'horns'.
on and kun readings
YouTube link 前


Behind 後. Go left, follow the fine thread, then walk behind.
Behind is quite complicated with 彳 as 'going left' and 幺 as 'fine thread' etc
on and kun readings
YouTube link 後


Before 先. Come before the men in cow costumes.
Before has the symbol for 'cow' or 'cattle' 牛, and once again has 儿 as 'human legs'.
on and kun readings
先ほど (sakihodo) a short while ago
YouTube link 先


People

Person 人. Like a person with long legs doing the splits.
Person started as a simple picture of a person, less symmetrical than it is now.
on and kun readings
YouTube link 人


Woman 女. Women like to sit at tables.
Woman was once a complex picture of the female shape, but now looks like a folding table or chair.
on and kun readings
YouTube link 女 女性 (josei) woman, 女房 (nyoubou) one's wife, 女神 (megami) goddess, 女の子 (onnanoko) girl


Man 男. A man was the power in the rice fields.
Man combines the Kanji for 田 'rice field' and 力 'power', making the source of power in the fields.
on and kun readings
YouTube link 男


Mother 母. Mother has a chest with two drawers with little handles.
The picture for Mother was rotated by a quarter turn from its original form, so now it looks like a different type of chest.
on and kun readings
YouTube link 母


Father 父. Fathers have crossed arms and thick eyebrows.
Father it is suggested be remembered as sternly standing at the door awaiting a late arrival home.
on and kun readings
父親 (chichioya) father, 父子 (fushi) father and child
YouTube link 父


Child 子. Child with long arms and half a Z for a head.
Child is sometimes thought of as a woman carrying a child in a bundle.
on and kun readings
YouTube link 子


Friend 友. Friends hand each other secrets, how could it be otherwise.
Friend looks a little like the ones for 'left' 左 and 'right' 右 which share the 'left hand' 𠂇 symbol. It also needs 'otherwise'又. This is perhaps most easily remembered as looking like a 'small table' where friends might sit.
on and kun readings
YouTube link 友


Time

Now 今. Now is the time to gather - see the hands of the clock.
Now needs 亼 which means 'to gather or assemble' which is used in several other Kanji.
on and kun readings
YouTube link 今


Time 時. Use the sundial at the temple to tell the time.
Time is one of the most complicated of these early Kanji, adding 日 'sun' to 寺 'temple'. In turn, that is made up from 土 'soil' and 寸 'measurement'.
on and kun readings
YouTube link 時


Space 間. Sun shines through the gates from the space beyond.
Space is a simple combination of 門 'gates' and 日 'sun'.
on and kun readings
狭間 (hazama) interval, 間隔 (kankaku) interval, 間近 (majika) nearby
YouTube link 間


Noon 午. Noon is the hour of the horse.
Noon with its association with 'horse' can be remembered by itself or by reference to the symbol 干 'dry'.
on and kun readings
YouTube link 午


Year 年. This year you can ride the horse side-saddle.
Year then simply adds a 'side-saddle' to the horse.
on and kun readings
YouTube link 年



Actions

Enter 入. A person bending to enter a tent.
Enter is very simple, and similar to the 人 'person'.
on and kun readings
YouTube link 入


See 見. An eye with little human legs is rarely seen.
See naturally needs 目 'eye' which combines with our little symbol 儿 for 'human' or in this case 'human legs' as it is at the bottom.
on and kun readings
YouTube link 見


Hear 聞. To hear at the gates, you need big ears.
Hear needs the symbol 耳 'ear' which is added to 門 'gates' and looks similar to 間 'space'.
on and kun readings
YouTube link 聞


Exit 出. The exit path leads up through two mountains.
Exit as being made from 山 'mountains'.
on and kun readings
YouTube link 出


Going 行. To keep going forward, each foot must stop and wait for the other.
Going is like two feet moving forward in turn, or a crossroads where cars meet.
on and kun readings
YouTube link 行


Come 来. Come home to one's loved one and rice.
Come references 米 'rice' and 一 'one'.
on and kun readings
YouTube link 来


Word 語. We say that five mouths make many words.
Word uses 言 'say' and 口 'mouth' along with 五 'five'.
on and kun readings
YouTube link 語


Talk 話. At the Tower of Babel they 'talk in tongues', they say.
Talk uses 言 'say' along with another relevant element, 舌 'tongue'.
on and kun readings
YouTube link 話


School 校. At school, students mingle by the tree.
School is a combination of 木 'tree' and 交 'mingle', which is itself made from 父 'father' with the 亠 symbol which we often call a 'lid' or a 'kettle lid'.
on and kun readings
YouTube link 校


Learning (or study) 学. For learning, children go to the owl house.
Learning (or study) has a main part of 子 'child' along with a little roof with three marks we associate with 'owl claws' making it an 'owl house'.
on and kun readings
YouTube link 学


Read 読. To sell something, first say it then let them read it.
Read combines 言 'say' with the symbol 売 'sell'. That in turn is made from 士 'samurai' (not to be confused with 土 'soil' or 'earth'), a crown and the little symbol 儿 often called 'human legs'.
on and kun readings
YouTube link 読


Write 書. To write well use your old brush on Sunday.
Write is far simpler, with 聿 'brush' over the element 日 'sun'.
on and kun readings
YouTube link 書


Rest 休. When a person needs a rest, a tree is best.
Rest combines the form of 人 as used on the left of other Kanji ⺅ 'person' with 木 'tree'.
on and kun readings
YouTube link 休


Eat or Food 食. Lift a lid to uncover good food to eat.
Eat or Food looks complex at first but is easier once you learn the Kanji 良 'good'.
on and kun readings
YouTube link 食


Life or Living 生. Life shoots out of the earth, then a bloom appears.
Life or Living references 'barley shoots' which in turn come from 土 'earth'.
on and kun readings
YouTube link 生


Name 名. Identify yourself in the evening by mouthing your name.
Name combines the symbol 夕 'evening' with 口 'mouth'.
on and kun readings
YouTube link 名


Vehicle or Car 車. This vehicle can carry four and needs a carrying pole at each end.
Vehicle or Car makes more sense as an early way of carrying four people, complete with carrying poles.
on and kun readings
YouTube link 車


Book 本. One tree is the origin for a book.
Book is mainly made from a 木 'tree' with just 一 'one' added at the base to mark the roots.
on and kun readings
YouTube link 本


Properties

Large 大. A man standing with arms outstretched is large.
on and kun readings
YouTube link 大


Little or small 小. Just three drops make little difference.
on and kun readings
YouTube link 小


Long 長. Three strands of hair so long it needs a hair tie and two clips.
on and kun readings
YouTube link 長


Tall or Expensive 高. This tall tower has two openings, one hidden under a box and one just under the lid.
on and kun readings
YouTube link 高


Part 分. Division into parts is done with a sword
Part has the symbol 刀 'sword' or 'knife' with 八 'division' ('eight') at the top, which makes sense.
YouTube link 分


Circular, Round or Yen 円. Yen coins are circular so roll out of an upside down box.
Circular, Round or Yen from its use with money.
on and kun readings YouTube link 円


Every 毎. Every person needs a mother to support them
Every is of course mainly the Kanji 母 'mother' with 𠂉 as one form of the 人 person symbol above it.
on and kun readings
YouTube link 毎


White 白. The first drop of sun in the morning is pure white.
White just needs 日 'sun' with a little drop extra.
on and kun readings
YouTube link 白


Country 国. Every country puts jade in a simple box.
Country needs you to know 玉 'jade' which has a box around it.
YouTube link 国


What 何. What is a person allowed to do?
What needs you to know 可 'allow'.
on and kun readings
YouTube link 何


Gold or Metal 金. The King keeps two bars of gold at the foot of his covered bed.
Gold or Metal uses 王 'king'.
on and kun readings
YouTube link 金


Misc. numbers

Half or Midway 半. Headless cow is divided, then you get half
Half or Midway combines 牛 'cow' and 八 'divide' or 'eight'.
on and kun readings
YouTube link 半


Hundred 百. One hundred means one has white hair
Hundred is mostly 白 'white'.
YouTube link 百


Thousand 千. Ten people join for a thousand years
Thousand can be thought of as 'ten' 十 combined with (100 year old) people using the 亻form for people.
on and kun readings
YouTube link 千


Ten thousand 万. Ten thousand dollars might make you lose direction a little bit
Ten thousand can be seen as 方 'direction' without the top dot.
on and kun readings
YouTube link 万


Notes

[1] Kanji have evolved over a long period. Their original forms are usually very different from their modern ones, and the original meanings are often based on aspects of culture that nowadays have little relevance. This means that almost every aspect of a Kanji invites argument among experts.

[2] The Kanji Memories descriptions above and elsewhere are therefore entirely aimed at aiding recognition of Kanji for students. They are not intended for use for any other purpose, and students are recommended to study more scholarly works to gain a fuller understanding of Kanji origin and evolution.

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