Part 1: 人 日 月 火 水 木 金 土 今 何
Read this page briefly and spend most of your time on the drill exercise for quick memorization.
人 : ジン、ニン、ひと
Shape: Symbolizing the shape of a person.
|～人||～じん||person from _ (nationality)||suffix|
にほん人<Japanese person>, カナダ人<Canadian person>
|～人||～にん||counter for persons||suffix|
３人<3 persons>, 5人<5 persons>
日 : ジツ、ニチ、か、ひ
Meaning: the sun, day
Shape: Symbolizing the shape of the sun.
|～日||～にち||_th day, _days||suffix|
Numbers + 日（にち） can mean both date and duration.
15日に いきます。<I go on the 15th.>
15日 かかります。<It takes 15 days.>
Each day of the week is related to one of 7 planets and stars in the solar system - 日<sun>, 月<moon>, 火星<Mars>, 水星<Mercury>, 木星<Jupiter>, 金星<Venus> and 土星<Saturn>.
月 : ガツ、ゲツ、つき
Meaning: the moon, month
Shape: Symbolizing the shape of crescent moon.
|～月||～がつ||_ th month of the year||suffix|
１月<January>, ２月<February>, ３月<March> ...
|～か月||～かげつ||_ months (duration)||suffix|
１か月<1 month>, ２か月<2 months>, ３か月<3 months> ...
Other spellings ～ヵ月 and ～ヶ月 are also used. The reading and the meaning are the same.
火 : カ、ひ、ほ
Shape: Symbolizing the shape of flame.
水 : スイ、みず
Shape: Symbolizing the flowing water.
木 : ボク、モク、き、こ
Meaning: tree, wood
Shape: Symbolizing a tree with branches.
金 : キン、コン、かな、かね
Meaning: gold, money
土 : ト、ド、つち
Meaning: earth, soil
今 : キン、コン、いま
Meaning: now, present
何 : カ、なに、なん
There are two ways of reading なに and なん.
何(なに)をしますか。<What do you do?>
|何人||なんにん||how many people?||n|
|何日||なんにち||what day? how many days?||n|
何日 can mean both date and duration.
今日は何日ですか。<What date is it today?>
何日かかりますか。<How many days does it take?>
|何[曜]日||なんようび||which day of the week?||n|
|何か月||なんかげつ||how many month?||n|
|何～||なん～||what + unit for counting||prefix|
It can be applied for different units such as 何さい<age>, 何かい<floor>, etc.
Handwriting practice improves your character recognition ability.
It is recommended to do the writing practice to get familiar with the shape of letters.
Printable writing practice sheet is available at Kanji Writing Practice page.
Reading of Kanji
Most Kanji symbols have two ways of reading - onyomi and kunyomi.
Onyomi<音読み> is based on the original Chinese pronunciation.
For example, pronunciation of 水 in (ancient) Chinese was "sui". So sui became one way of reading 水.
In many cases, pronuncaton of Japanese onyomi and modern Chinese language are different. Because Japanese incorporated the pronunciation of ancient Chinese.
In general, onyomi is indicated in Katakana in the dictionary.
Kunyomi<訓読み> is the pronunciation of Japanese word which has the same meaning as the Kanji symbol.
For example, Kanji 水 means water. Japanese word for water was "mizu". So mizu became another way of reading 水.
In general, kunyomi is indicated in hiragana in the dictionary.
How to learn the reading
It is recommended to learn the reading of each word, rather than memorizing all onyomi and kunyomi of a Kanji.
For example, you should know the following general rules;
When 人 is after the country name, the reading is じん.
When 人 is after numbers, it reads にん.
When 人 is by itself, it reads ひと.