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Lesson 3: First 10 Kanji

Now it's time to learn some Kanji. The first 10 are chosen not just because they are common Kanji themselves but also because many of them are Radicals. Kanji that are used to form other Kanji. As we mentioned before, each Kanji can have multipe On and Kun-Readings.

For now we will concentrate on learning the meaning of the Kanji and the Primary Kun-Yomi which is a native Japanese word that best represents the meaning of the Kanji. A couple things to notice:
  1. Nouns: All the Kanji except for 言 have a single Kanji for a single word. This is common for Kun-Yomi nouns
  2. Verbs & Adjectives: The Kanji for 言, a verb, also has Hiragana after it. Kun-Yomi verbs and adjectives will have Hiragana after them
For each Kanji we are giving you the meaning, it's frequency (out of the 2,500 most common Kanji), the Primary Kun-Yomi and one On-Yomi word.

After you go over these 10 Kanji first take the Meaning only quiz, then the "Meaning + Kun-Yomi" quiz and finally the "Meaning, Kun-Yomi and On-Yomi" quiz. The quizzes have built in review flashcards you can use for review.

1) 人 (# 5 of 2,500)

Meaning: person

Examples
KunOn
(ひと)
person
外国人
(がいこくじん)
Foreigner


2) 水 (# 223 of 2,500)

Meaning: water

Examples
KunOn
(みず)
water
水曜日
(すいようび)
Wednesday


3) 手 (# 60 of 2,500)

Meaning: hand

Examples
KunOn
(て)
hand
握手
(あくしゅ)
handshake


4) 木 (# 317 of 2,500)

Meaning: tree, wood

Examples
KunOn
(き)
tree, wood
木曜日
(もくようび)
Thursday


5) 口 (# 284 of 2,500)

Meaning: mouth

Examples
KunOn
(くち)
mouth, opening
人口
(じんこう)
population


6) 糸
Why are you learning "thread" as one of the first 10 Kanji? Well it turns out that the Kanji is actually a common radical in other Kanji.

(# 1488 of 2,500)

Meaning: thread

Examples
KunOn
(いと)
thread
NONE


7) 心 (# 157 of 2,500)

Meaning: heart, mind, spirit, heart radical (no. 61)

Examples
KunOn
(こころ)
core, heart
安心
(あんしん)
relief


8) 土
Notice how the top-horizontal stroke is smaller than the bottom stroke. Later on you will learn another Kanji that looks just like this one except the top is wider than the bottom.

(# 307 of 2,500)

Meaning: soil, earth, ground, Turkey

Examples
KunOn
(つち)
earth, soil
土曜日
(どようび)
Saturday


9) 言 Notice how the bottom of this Kanji is the Kanji for Mouth. (# 83 of 2,500)

Meaning: say

Examples
KunOn
言う
(い.う)
to say
言語
(げんご)
language


10) 女 (# 151 of 2,500)

Meaning: woman, female

Examples
KunOn
(おんな)
Woman
女性
(じょせい)
woman


Quizzes
Now it's time to start the Quizzes!! First take the meaning quiz:

(click)

First 10 Kanji


Once you have a space in your brain for the Kanji and it's meaning it will be easier to add Kun-Yomi and On-Yomi words:

(click)

Kun-Yomi


(click)

On-Yomi