Kanji 181-205. Core kanji with three strokes

The next few lessons will deal with core kanji containing three strokes. This lesson will introduce five new core kanji – dry (), woman (), child (), bow () and evening () – as well as some combinations using those kanji.



#181. It could be argued that does not need to be considered a core kanji, because it contains ‘one’ and ‘ten’, but it occurs often enough that it is useful to consider it as its own symbol. You can remember that the lower horizontal is the longer one by noting that this kanji looks like an upside down version of ‘samurai'(). To create mnemonic images, picture a clothesline.

Dry one item in ten minutes on the clothesline.
We hung the samurai upside down to dry him.


#182. This kanji looks like a lily pad, with the horizontal stroke at the top representing the actual pad. The keyword ‘even’ refers to equality, as in an even distribution.

There’s an even covering of water lilies on the pond.


#183. The element on the left refers to ‘meat’, because this is another body part. This time, it’s the body part that benefits the most if you stay ‘dry’ – as in, abstain from alcohol.


#184. This kanji combines ‘mouth’ with a hooked version of the ‘even’ lily pad.

To hook a frog, follow the calls from its mouth as it sits on the lily pads.

two-mat area

A two-mat area is all you need to pitch a tent but make sure the ground () is even ().


#186. Picture a block of flats, where each occupant is granted space at the front to park a car () and a small space out the back for a clothesline ().


#187. The kanji is supposed to represent a woman sitting cross-legged, but it requires some imagination. It is best remembered as an arbitrary sequence of strokes, starting with L for ‘Lady’. To remember the order of strokes, it might also be helpful to remember that a female ninja is known as a kunoichi (くノ一), consisting of three strokes in order, that make up the kanji for woman: く (ku, hiragana) ノ (no, katakana) (ichi, the kanji for ‘one’).


#188. The keyword ‘guy’ is somewhat misleading; this is a term that refers to a man, but it has an element of contempt.

Some guy stole my woman () so I kicked him in the crotch ().


Whereas men’s mouths vary according to the presence of a beard and the shape of the mustache, etc, all women’s () mouths () are of a likeness.



If a guy () wants to obtain some power () in his company, he will need to toil for many years first.

younger sister

My younger sister is not yet () a woman ().


#192. The upper element is a simplified version of ‘west’. Picture a sexist cowboy from the Wild West declaring he needs a woman.


#193. A pictograph of a child with his arms outstretched.


#194. It could be argued that this should be a core kanji, and that the kanji for ‘child’ () is not a core kanji because it is derived from ‘complete’ () plus one (). Because the kanji for child is so widely used in compounds and also features so often as an element within other kanji, KSP has instead promoted ‘child’ to the list of core kanji and considers ‘complete’ () to be a modified version of child.
I know this looks like an incomplete version of the kanji for child, but in fact it is ‘complete’.


#195. The child crawled into a small cavity and the fire department had to rescue him with a hook.


#196. A woman is naturally fond of her child.

filial piety

The upper part of this kanji has featured before, when it was used in conjunction with the ‘spoon’ primitive and meant ‘old man’ (). We can also take the soil+diagonal combination to mean ‘old man’ when it is used in other kanji. We have seen this before in the kanji for ‘someone'() (the ‘old man’ thinks of the ‘day’ when he used to be ‘someone’). In the next installment of the story, the old man’s son, who is just a child () shows filial piety () by carrying the old man on his back.


#198. This is an odd looking kanji, with some similarities to water () but it also features the 7-like shape of ‘complete’ (), as well as three horizontals. All of these elements can be combined in a single image:

To get someone to acquiesce, dunk them completely () in the water () three times ().


#199. A pictograph of an archery bow. To make a mnemonic, choose your favourite bow-wielding hero: Robin Hood, Legolas, the Mocking Jay from the Hunger Games.


#200. A pictograph of a bow and arrow, a weapon you activate by pulling the string.


#201. When the famous archer died, his last arrow was laid upon his bow and the arrangement was framed and offered to his family to wish them condolences.


This is a simplified version of the moon kanji, an indicates a moon in the sky in the evening.


#203. Although the element on the right is usually regarded as a wand, it has been said that this is a pictograph of an old wall with a crack in it on the right, and the kanji represent a view past the wall to the outside, where the evening moon is visible.


Many moons ago…


#205. In the evening, it gets to dark to recognise people, so you have to open your mouth and say your name.