Lesson 23: Kanji Part 3

Lessons 17 and 20 focused on teaching you some kanji characters. This lesson will serve as a follow up to those lessons and help you add more kanji to your vocabulary. Keep in mind that you should review the previous kanji lessons—this will help you keep those kanji fresh in your mind, even if you are not using them right away. Kanji is definitely necessary for serious students of Japanese! Keep practicing until you learn all of these new kanji, but remember to refresh your memory on the older kanji as well!

First look at the chart below, then read through the paragraphs that follow. Move on to the exercises when you feel comfortable with the kanji. The answer key is below the assignment as always.

1. ひがし East
2. 西 にし West
3. みなみ South
4. きた North
5. ぐち/くち Mouth/exit
6. To exit
7. みぎ Right
8. ひだり Left
9. ふん Minute
10. がい Outside


The kanji in the chart above have their most common readings listed beside them. The English for those readings are found in the final column. Keep in mind that kanji can have multiple meanings. Read the paragraphs below for some more details on each individual kanji.

The first kanji character, which means “east,” is used when talking about the direction, but it is also used to write the word “Tokyo.” In kanji, “Tokyo” is written as 東京. This kanji can be combined with kanji number five to write the word for “east exit” (東口). The hiragana for “east exit” is ひがしぐち.

The second kanji is used alone to write “west,” but it is also combined with kanji number five. This forms the word for “west exit.” It is written 西口in kanji.

Kanji number three is used to write “south,” “south east,” and “south exit.” You can write “south east” by combining this kanji with the kanji for “east” (南東). You can write “south exit” like so: 南口.

Kanji number four works like kanji number three does. You can write “north” and “north exit.” “North exit” would be 北口.

Kanji number five can be used to write ぐち or くち. ぐち means “exit” and くち means “mouth.” The kanji symbol stays the same even though the meaning and pronunciation differ.

The sixth kanji is used to write 出る(でる) (to exit), 出口 (でぐち)(exit), and 出す (だす) (to take something out).

The seventh symbol is read みぎand means “right” (as in the direction). You can also say “right turn” by saying 右折 (うせつ). Likewise, the eighth kanji symbol on the list is the word for “left” and is read ひだり. You can say “left turn” by saying 左折which is read させつ.

Kanji number nine is often read as ふん. This symbol is used to represent minutes. For example, if you want to say ten minutes, you would say じゅっぷん which is written as 十分. The reading of the kanji symbol will change depending on how many minutes you are talking about. Five minutes, for example, is read as ごふん and written as 五分.

The final kanji symbol is the symbol for “outside.” It is normally read as がい but can sometimes be read as そと. Use it to write “foreign country” (外国, read asがいこく), “foreigner” (外国人, read asがいこくじん), and “outside” (外, read asそと).

Once you have read all of the kanji notes and thoroughly studied the chart, move on to the exercises below. As you learn more and more kanji, be sure to review the previous lessons, including this one, by reading over the charts and filling in the exercises again!

Practice I

  1. Write each kanji symbol out ten times, making sure to follow the correct stroke order. It’s also a good idea to write the English meaning beside the symbols, and sometimes the hiragana (if you don’t know how to pronounce a kanji).

Practice II

Write the correct kanji for the following English definitions.

  1. North
  2. South
  3. East
  4. West
  5. To exit
  6. Mouth
  7. Minute
  8. Left
  9. Outside
  10. Right

Practice III

Write to following words in Japanese, using kanji where appropriate.

  1. Foreign country
  2. Left turn
  3. Foreigner
  4. Exit
  5. Right turn
  6. North exit
  7. Tokyo
  8. West exit
  9. South exit
  10. East exit


Answer Key

Practice II

  1. 西

Practice III

  1. 外国
  2. 左折
  3. 外国人
  4. 右折
  5. 北口
  6. 東京
  7. 西口
  8. 南口
  9. 東口

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