Kanji 692-733. Boxy Primitives

This lesson groups a number of primitives that are boxy in shape. Usually they will consist of three sides of a rectangle, with an opening on the fourth side, but the ‘border’ primitive consists of a complete rectangle (‘border’ is also known as ‘pent in’). In most cases, the box will serve as a container with another element inside it – an exception is ‘face-up’ (), which uses a distorted, empty box as its middle element.

The ‘hood’ element resembles the ‘stamp’ primitive that we have already met, but it is wider, and it always has things inside it, whereas the ‘stamp’ primitive is narrow, empty, and usually has an elongated left side so that it resembles a ‘p’.


#692. The primitive on the surrounds of this kanji is ‘box’. Picture an open box, to distinguish it from other rectangular primitives, such as ‘mouth’ and ‘border’. Although this is constructed from a ‘box’ with ‘human legs’ inside it, it looks very like ‘four’ ().

Four minus 1 equals…? Equals…?


#693. The keyword refers to a ‘ward’ as in a ‘district’, rather than a hospital ward, but it may be easier to keep the false image of a hospital ward to create the mnemonic image of a ward filled with such a deadly contagious disease that it has been marked with a giant red X.


#694. The box primitive is quite distorted in this kanji, so it may not make you think of ‘box’ when you first see it, but the elements are person-box-stamp… Picture your ‘person’ character getting a box to keep all their stamps, and carefully making sure the stamps are ‘face-up’.


#695. The keyword refers to craftsmen, carpenters, mechanics, and so on. It is a pictograph of the artisan’s box and the tool of his trade.

The serial killer was a true artisan, and carried his axe in a polished box.


#696. The doctor carries around a small box filled with darts for testing sensation.


#697. The hinges on the psychiatry ward were made of wood because its designers were paranoid about giving the patients access to any metal… The only problem was, the wooden hinges broke at the first knock, and everyone escaped.


#698. Continuing with the incorrect but useful idea of as a hospital ward, this kanji evokes an image of Europe during the Black Death, when it lacked proper hospital wards.


#699. The upper part of this kanji is the ‘tiger’ primitive, which resembles the ‘tiger’ kanji (). The lower right part looks like an ‘E’, but it is composed of ‘one’ and ‘box’.

With one tiger in a box, I could tyrannize everyone!


#700. I had a ‘grassy’ joint in my right hand, but I was able to hide it in a box just before the police arrived.


#701. The outer rectangle is ‘border’. The kanji shows a person () confined within a rectangle, which is a logical way to depict ‘captured’.


#702. The keyword ‘times’ is a little ambiguous…. The other meaning of this kanji is ‘rotate’, and it began as a pictograph of a wheel. It still looks a little like a wheel with a central axle, once you allow for the usual squaring effect that applies to all round pictographs (sun, eye and mouth, for example). ‘Times’ and ‘rotate’ are combined in the idea of things happening several times, repeatedly.


#703. This kanji combines ‘large’ with ‘border/pent in’. A popular way of remembering it is to see it as an image of the Big Bang, in which the whole large universe was pent in to a tiny border, ready to explode and become the primary cause of everything.


#704. A group of people is usually defined in two ways: by a geographical border, and by some form of cultural glue making them identify with each other.

The kanji depicts a small enclave, with one cultural group remaining glued to their own region, and never venturing outside the border of their neighbourhood.


#705. Treat the ‘border’ as a doorway. The quandary you face is how to get the Christmas tree in through the door.


#706. This is a pirate map, showing the location of buried treasure (the X) next to two landmarks (the two dots).


#707. The well was too dangerous, so we surrounded it with a border fence to keep children out.


#708. Picture a wizened old warrior, who has become hardened by being stationed for many years at the border, defending the borders from attack, far from the comforts of home.


#709. The basic ingredients of a country are a region defined by a border, and some form of ruler who controls it (depicted here as the royal jewels).


#710. Women are usually the ones desiring commitment, and therefore cause matrimony.


#711. A person who has been hardened by years of experience becomes a noteworthy individual… Everyone else is soft, boring and forgettable.


#712. ‘Cause’ up top, and ‘heart’ below… A sign of true grace is when you surrender your heart to a higher cause.


#713. The outer element here is ‘hood’, but in this context it reminds me of the infamous Ned Kelly.

Ned Kelly's metal hood
Ned Kelly’s metal hood

Once the Kelly gang put their hoods on, they all looked the same, and you could only tell which one was Ned when he opened his mouth.


#714. A pictograph of a TV with an aerial, for picking up signals from yonder.


#715. This kanji is very like the kanji for ‘yonder’ () and should be memorised at the same time. Use ‘TV’ to represent ‘yonder’ – this is a combination of ‘yonder’ and ‘little’.

I have little esteem for people who watch TV all the time.


#716. A den is a place where a group of animals share the same water.

torso | trunk

#717. The ‘meat’ element indicates that this is a body part. Heisig used the keyword ‘trunk’ for this kanji, which makes me think of elephants. The word refers to the torso (chest and abdomen). This is a part of the body that is usually covered, so we are given the impression that they are all the same. Throw in the ‘moon’ element to create a more vivid image – once a month, under a full moon, everyone strips off for a moon dance and you realise their torsos are not all the same.


#718. A paulownia (kiri) tree is a particular type of tree in Japan, that you have probably not heard of… This kanji is used to represent that tree, but it is not particularly useful for forming other vocabulary. Memorise it anyway…

Any tree that Paul owns will look the same, as he owns a tree-cloning company. Its logo is the Paulownia tree.


#719. This is modified from a popular mnemonic from koohii.com: Two little aliens in a trenchcoat and top hat, trying to look TALL. The bottom one, in the space helmet (hood), is under the coat. The top one has his top hat pulled down in disguise, so all you can see is his mouth. [adapted from Danieru]

make a deal

#720. This kanji combines the elements ‘stand’, ‘hood’, ‘human legs’, and ‘mouth’.

From scottamus at koohi.com: Slick Willy standing on the motorcycle helmet he’s trying to sell you to demonstrate how rugged it is. His legs crash through the top of it and after a moment of awkward silence his mouth opens and says, “hey, we can still make a deal.”


#721. Trust me, copper is really the same as gold…


#722. The combination of horns on a mountain evokes the idea of a mountain goat, and hence ‘mount’. The ‘hood’ could be a climbing helmet you wear in case of falling goats.


#723. The lower element in this kanji resembles ‘hood’, but in this context it is known as ‘belt’. The key difference between ‘hood’ and ‘belt’ is how they combine with other elements. Whereas ‘hood’ has things inside it, this element hangs off the vertical line of another element. (If it were a hood, the vertical line would be smashing the roof of the hood, so it must be a belt instead.)

A seatbelt keeps a person inside the vehicle.

third class

#724. The seatbelts in the third class carriage don’t work, so a person is likely to hit his head on the ceiling.


#725. Inside a person is meat… The arrow-head points to the meat inside the person.

This kanji was the original ‘flesh’ element that has evolved to look like ‘moon’ in various kanji referring to body parts.


#726. Ceiling, belt and mountain. The ‘belt’ is a rock-climbing harness, and it is shown above the mountain to show that the summit has been reached – only the ceiling of the sky is above. But who was first to reach the summit, the climber or his guide? Let’s be diplomatic and say ‘both’.

The symmetry of this kanji also also conveys the idea of ‘both’.


#727. The strokes of this kanji can be grouped in various ways, but it is a combination of ‘belt’ and ‘king’. To remember the stroke order, concentrate on starting with ‘one’ and ‘belt’, then adding whatever is needed to complete ‘king’.

The belt-maker made ‘one’ ‘belt’, but then he had to do it all over again when he realised the belt was for the ‘king’.


#728. Unfortunately I am a third-class game designer. I joined this fantastic new computer game company but they stuck me in a back room designing digital trees.


#729. South of the belt is the route to happiness.

Take the chance to recall hat ‘happiness’ looks like… (“happiness:)


#730. Life from a herbivore’s perspective: if you have consumed both H2O and grass, you’re full.

camphor tree

#731. Tree and south. The camphor tree grows in southern Japan. You travel to southern Japan and you’re asked what ya came fer. Ya say ya came for a view of the famous southern came-for tree.


#732. In the south, they sacrifice dogs as offerings… Before heading south with his dogsled team, the explorer made a small offering.


#733. This kanji refers to the foul cave of some beast that stores its meat by adhering the meat to the walls of the cave, waiting for it to tenderise by rotting.