The KSP Core Kanji list contains eleven kanji with five strokes:
田 rice paddy
‘Eye’ and ‘rice paddy’ have, of course, been met in earlier lessons. The current lesson will introduce two kanji that are widely used in other kanji, ‘stand’ (立) and ‘mother’ (母). The subsequent lesson will introduce the remaining five-stroke core kanji.
‘Stand’ (also known as ‘stand up’) is a basic, Grade 1 kanji that is widely used in other kanji. Its five strokes resemble a combination of ‘lid’ and ‘horns’ but the pattern will soon be recognisable to you as a single element meaning ‘stand’, so it is better not to try to break it down any further. I tend to see ‘stand’ as a cloaked man with arms outstretched, standing before an audience, with the lower horizontal representing the ground, but you really don’t need a mnemonic.
The kanji for ‘mother’ is supposedly a representation of a pair of breasts with dot-like nipples, but is has been turned side on and squared off unnaturally (a bit like ‘eye’ 目). The reduction of motherhood to a pair of breasts is simplistic but evocative in a way that resembles some of the earliest fertility goddesses, one of which is represented in the picture below. (In most cases, when the ‘mother’ primitive is used in other kanji, it undergoes a further transformation with the two dots turning into a single line, as in ‘sea’, 海.)
#598. You don’t need a mnemonic for this, but check out the picture above.
#599. When a person of higher rank enters the room, you stand (立).
#600. The guy at the Indian restaurant asked me how spicy I wanted the curry, so I boasted I could ‘stand’ (立) a ‘ten’ (十).
#601. The performance was so moving, half the audience cried tears of H2O, and the other half gave a standing ovation (立). In fact, it makes me want to cry just remembering it.
#602. There are two ways of viewing this kanji. It could be ‘one’ (一) plus ‘spicy’ (辛), but it also looks like ‘soil’ plus a goat-like primitive – goat-like in the sense that it is like a mountain goat (the left half of ‘sturdy’ 剛), minus the mountain. We’re not ready for goats just yet, so we’ll go with one-plus-spicy. The strokes that make up ‘stand’ within this kanji do not quite match the ‘stand’ kanji because the top drop is to long, but we’ll ignore that for now.
I’m a simple man… One (一) bite of a spicy curry (辛) and that’s happiness (幸) for me.
#603. If you could stand on the sun, you would hear the terrifying sound of a continuous massive nuclear explosion… Or would you? No air there. Hmmm.
#604. When I was a young lad, I loved to stand on the edge of the cliff and let my long hair wave in the breeze. Now I am too old, too scared, and have no hair…
#605. The Superintendent could always be found at the curry (辛) house (宀).
#606. Picture a military ceremony with everybody standing (立) at attention. It is very early (早) and the heroes of the latest battle are receiving their badges (章).
梓 pepper tree | catalpa
#607. Heisig’s proposed keyword for this, catalpa, was completely unfamiliar to me before I started learning kanji, but apparently it is a tree that produces bean pods. If you use ‘pepper tree’, instead, you don’t even need a mnemonic.
#608. If you know the band ‘Tenacious D’, you will know that they are happy rotund fellows… If you don’t know them, think instead of Santa…
Santa’s job of dispensing happiness on Christmas Eve is immense, a logistical nightmare requiring faster-than-light-travel and space-warping as he tries to shoe his rotund frame down every chimney in the world… but luckily he sticks to it tenaciously… Short version: rotund man tenaciously delivers happiness.
#609. Whenever I go to my parent’s house (里) they say I can’t use the computer (里) because I’m a juvenile. Dang it, it’s time to make a stand!
#610. Imagine a day (日) of complete darkness (暗), where you had to get around by sound alone.
#611. When I get a good idea (意), my heart (心) starts to race and I can hear the sound (音) of it thumping in my chest.
#612. The chef at the curry house made the curry so spicy it shredded the customers tongues, and he had to resign.
#613. I have a lovely new axe. I’m just going to stand here at the top of this tree and decide what to do with it.
#614. My hair dresser has a little badge claiming he invented the whole idea of cutting long hair. He even claims to have the patent on scissors.
億 hundred million
#615. In the age of the internet, if you can come up with one good idea, there are a hundred million people out there ready to pay for it.
#616. A pair of breasts indicating a nursing mother.
#617. Some people might want to channel Freud at this point… Let us just say that every mother of young children finds it exhausting and appreciates the chance to recline.
#618. Every mother likes to recline (see above), but they face the scorn of other people, represented by the standing person on the left.
#619. Every bit of H2O goes to the sea.
#620. This kanji represents the views of a religious zealot.
Every (毎) mind (state of mind) is full of sin and must repent.
#621. If every (毎) tree (木) were a plum tree, we’d all be eating plums for free.