Kanji 206-231. Small and Large

Here we add two more core kanji consisting of three strokes: small and large. These two kanji are very common in their own right, and they also feature as elements in many other kanji.


#206. A small bird, with its wings at its side, sad because it is still too small to fly.
Kanji for small


#207. You probably don’t need a mnemonic for this one if you already know ‘little’ (), because it is clearly a variant on little. On the other hand, someone over at Reviewing the Kanji pointed out that this kanji looks like a face with a sloping mouth, and commented ‘Only a few people can make an ugly face like that.’


#208. This kanji has two meanings, ‘show’, which is the keyword, and ‘altar’, which is a pictographic mnemonic hook for when the kanji appears as an element within other kanji. The combination of ‘two’ () and ‘small’ () lends itself to puns:

I showed God my sacrifice on the altar, but it must have been ‘two small’ because my prayers weren’t answered.


#209. If you have few () muscles (), then you may have a sense of inferiority.

too much

#210. There was too much stuff on the altar, so we had to contain it all with an umbrella-shaped lid.


#211. Only a few women can be considered exquisite.


#212. When out on a relaxed walk, make sure you stop () every few () steps to take in the view.


Most people make the uncle creepy when they make mnemonics for this kanji. I’m going to try a different tack, using ’71’ to stand in for the ‘crotch/bikini’ primitive:

My uncle is a little () above () 71 ()…


#214. This kanji combines hook and eye. Imagine visiting a prefecture where the local cuisine consisted mostly of eyeballs, and as you wandered through the prefecture you see all the restaurants proudly displaying small () eyeballs () on hooks (L).


#215. This kanji combines ‘too much’ () and ‘mata’, the bikini radical ().

They were about to confer the Miss World title on Martha, but when she turned up to the formal awards ceremony still in her bikini (), they decided they had seen too much () of her.


#216. You focus your attention when you keep your eyes fixed on fewer objects.


#217. A person stretching their arms out to explain how large something is (like, the fish that got away).


#218. A large, plump guy, dripping sweat.


#219. A man stretching his arms as he throws a ball (the drop) for his dog.


#220. I always see this as the start of a joke:
Two () men () went to heaven…

(Note, there is a primitive known as ‘sapling’ that looks very like the kanji for ‘heaven’, but it has the first stroke running from right to left, with a downward slope. It is shown in the kanji for ‘annexed’, below, and we’ll meet it properly later. But be warned that some online mnemonics mentioning ‘heaven’ actually refer to ‘sapling’, because Heisig made no distinction between the two).



#221. The husband is normally the big one ( ) in the household.


#222. Like husband, but with an extra stroke. I see this as a husband losing his toupee, which has fallen off his head.


#223. Like heaven, but with an extra stroke that looks like a drop. Picture darts dropping down from heaven.

Note that care is taken to distinguish this from lose (), which has a head poking up at the top (the head that has lost its toupee).


This kanji combines large and mouth. Picture a large monster with a huge mouth in the center of its head. Don’t confuse it with ‘middle'().


#225. Person and dog. Picture a dog prostrated before its owner.


#226. What is that strange man doing poised above the railway tunnel? Is he about to jump? Throw a bomb?


#227. Nara is famous for its large altar.


The best mnemonic I have heard for this kanji is this one, from Kanji Koohii:
I should know. After all, I did graduate from Dartmouth!


#229. Nose and large. Something that stinks makes a large impression on your nose.


#230. Sun, center, reflect.
Picture a parabolic mirror reflecting the sun’s light, focusing its into the center to cook a sausage or boil water.


#231. Consider the irony that he finest, most heavenly fabric is made by a lowly insect: the silkworm.