The ‘fingers’ primitive (扌) resembles a simplified version of the kanji for ‘hand’ (手) – the top stroke has been removed. (Many sources simply list it as an alternative form of ‘hand’, but giving it a distinct name will help prevent confusion). It is a common primitive, and it combines with a large number of kanji to make new kanji. This means that you can revise these kanji as you learn the finger-added version. For each of the kanji below, try to name the kanji that would be represented if the finger element were missing. (For a couple of them, the result of subtracting the fingers does not produce a kanji we have met – which are they?)
打 扱 抄 批 抜 扶 択 折 抑 抗 抹 抱 招 拓 拍 拘 拐 担 拙 披 拒 抵 拠 挑 指 持 括 哲 捨 描 接 採 授 控 探 揮 換 損
The answers will become clear as we go through each of the new kanji.
#748. Unfortunately. Heisig’s suggested keyword is ambiguous. It has nothing to do with industrial action – Jisho.org lists the following meanings of this kanji when it is used as a verb: to hit; to strike; to knock; to beat; to punch; to slap; to tap; to bang; to clap; to pound. We can keep the reference to industrial action to help distinguish this kanji from other kanji, like ‘hit’ (当), but take note that this is part of the mnemonic, not part of the underlying meaning.
The workers at the factory are sick of losing their fingers (扌) because of the lack of finger-guards on the equipment. They’re out in the street (丁), striking their signs loudly, with their fingers, saying they’re on strike.
#749. Fingers (扌) reaching out (及) for a handle.
#750. The goodies were protected by a security grill, but with my skinny fingers (扌) I was able to extract a few (少).
#751. Don’t take this as a criticism, but when I compare (比) my fingers (扌) with yours I can’t help noticing that yours are all ugly and stubby whereas mine are slender and beautiful.
抜 slip out
#752. He slips out at night to meet his friend (友) and play finger (扌) games with her.
#753. We inherited our dexterity (our finger-skills) from our monkey ancestors, who used them climbing branches (支).
#754. She couldn’t open the jar, so her husband (夫) came to her aid, showing off his strong manly fingers (扌).
#755. If you know the colloquial meaning of shaku, this mnemonic writes itself.
Fingers (扌) or shaku (尺), she said, you choose.
#756. Hold this while I chop it with the axe (斤). You might want to fold your fingers (扌) out of the way.
#757. This kanji is very similar to ‘face-up’ (仰), except that the ‘person’ element has been replaced by ‘fingers’ (扌).
Picture a brutal dictatorial regime that represses dissent by removing the fingers (扌) of dissidents, putting them into a small box, stamping them and posting them to their families.
#758. Two people speaking sign-language are having a major confrontation. The result is a whirlwind (:whirlwind:) of fingers (扌).
#759. If you hurt one of your extremities 末 (such as stubbing your toe), you rub it with your fingers (扌) until the pain subsides.
#760. An embrace is when you use your fingers (扌) as a wrapping (包) for a loved one.
#761. Beckoning is a gesture you do with your fingers (扌) when you want to seduce (召) someone into to doing something.
拓 clear the land
#762. Clearing the land of stones (石) with your fingers (扌).
#763. My fingers (扌) were covered with cold white (白) snow, so I clapped them together to warm them up and get all the white stuff of my fingers.
#764. I got arrested and charged with bad language for making a rude phrase (句) with my fingers (扌).
#765. Kidnap is confusingly similar to beckon… It has the same elements, but mouth (口) and sword (刀) are switched. In ‘seduce’ (召), the sword is in the higher position – the joyo kanji does not include any kanji consisting solely of mouth above sword. Think of ‘kidnap’ as a twisted, upside-down version of ‘beckon’, and combine them in a single creepy image, of a kidnapper beckoning with his fingers, pretending to be friendly and seductive, but his true intent is hidden and he is going to turn things upside down.
(It could also be useful to think about what you would have to do to your victim if you were a kidnapper: you would bind their fingers, gag their mouth, and threaten them with a knife.)
#766. We were shouldering the mountain (that is, climbing over the shoulder), when we got to a tricky bit. I had to hold on with my fingers all night, waiting for daybreak.
(If you use this mnemonic, make sure you take note that ‘mountain’ is not part of the kanji.)
#767. Freddy Fingers the Bungling Burgler could never manage the exit, and always got his fingers caught in the door.
#768. What’s that caveman doing with his fingers (扌) under his pelt (皮)… Oh no, he’s planning to expose himself.
#769. To repel tourists from the town, the locals constructed a giant statue of a middle-finger… but it had the undesired effect of becoming a tourist attraction.
#770. This kanji is very similar to ‘lower’ (低) but replaces ‘person’ with ‘fingers’. The other elements are ‘family name’ (: family name:) and ‘one’. Many people combine ‘family name’ and ‘one’ to mean ‘business card’, which is a more concrete version of ‘family name’ (and the ‘one’ could be the card, viewed side on).
When you get a new business card, try to resist plucking it out of your pocket with your fingers and showing it to everyone.
#771. This kanji is the logo of a new rock-climbing magazine called ‘Foothold’. The magazine advocates a new form of rock climbing in which you dispose of all finger holds, and try to climb difficult peaks just with footholds.
#772. The wannabe palm-reading champion issues a challenge: merely from reading fingers, and without even looking at the palm, they can read the portents better than any of the established masters of palm-reading.
#773. This kanji combines ‘fingers’ and ‘delicious’ to make ‘finger’, which makes any mnemonic somewhat circular. Just think of licking your fingers after eating a delicious sundae.
#774. When you enter the temple, as a sign of respect, you must not hold anything in your fingers.
#775. I fastened the stickers on with my tongue and fingers.
#776. I had to give up philosophy, because I couldn’t fold my mouth around all the multisyllabic terms.
#777. The cottage was so old and dilapidated that you could push it over with your fingers, so we discarded it.
(Imagine the sketch as particularly crude and clumsy because no brush was used, just fingers).
#779. A pictograph of a woman standing with a vase balanced on her head, and touching her fingers to the vase to steady it.
#780. Picking fruit from a tree with your fingers, while remaining wary of the clawed vulture hovering above you.
#781. The meeting of fingers, on the ceiling of the Sistine chapel, as God imparts life with one finger and Adam accepts (受) it with another.
#782. I tried to withdraw some money from the automatic teller machine, but my fingers came away empty (空).
#783. Miss World (crowned as such because of her long, shapely human legs) is trying to get away from all the fingers trying to grope for her, so she has climbed atop a tree.
#784. The army (軍) was very poorly provisioned, and had no weapons except their own fingers, but they brandished them is such a menacing way that everyone was scared.
#785. I’d like to get my fingers on four large (four grand)… I saw the local drug dealer hide four large under a trapdoor at the bus interchange, so I should be able to get my fingers on them soon.
#786. Another employee damaged their fingers at work… I wonder if this will lead to a 打.