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Hands on Activities with Kanji cards

Students work through several activities for learning and practicing 69 basic primary and junior secondary school level kanji. The kanji can be categorised according to their meaning and number of strokes, combined to make new words, or used to create simple sentences.

List of 69 kanji

List of 69 Kanji (PDF 111KB)

Kanji cards

Each card has Kanji on one side (in Kyokasho-tai font) and on the back, 1. its reading(s) in Japanese, 2. its readings in Romaji/ the Alphabet and its number of strokes, and 3. its meaning. Select ‘Print on Both Sides’ when printing the Kanji cards, so that page 2 is printed on the back of page 1, and so on. This will allow for the front of the card to show the kanji, and the back of the card to show the reading and meaning of the kanji.

Kanji Card 1 (PDF 326KB)
Kanji Card 2 (PDF 334KB)
Kanji Card 3 (PDF 291KB)

Task 1: Categorise kanji by topic

Students put kanji into groups based on their topic. They may use kanji cards or they may use a chart such as the one below to fill in.

Example topics: numbers, seasons, directions, school, family, etc.

Answers (Example):

Categorise Kanji by Topics Answers (PDF 117KB)

Task 2: Categorise kanji by number of strokes

Students put kanji into groups based on the number of strokes. They may use kanji cards or they may use a chart such as the one below to fill in.


Categorise Kanji by Number of Strokes Answers (PDF 123KB)

Task 3: Make words by combining kanji


月日  This is read 「つきひ」 but in ‘date of birth’ it is read 「せいねんがっ」.
女子  This is read 「じょし」 and means ‘girls’, same as 「おんな」.

Task 4: Write sentences using kanji

Answers (Example):

Task 5: Read Kanji (game)

The kanji cards are laid out face up and one person from each group picks a card. If they are able to correctly read the kanji, their group receives a point.

Task 6: Draw and Design with Kanji

Choose a kanji from the list and decorate T-shirts or bags with this kanji.

It is advisable to wash new shirts first as it makes them easier to write on. If you use ink for Japanese calligraphy or acrylic paint, the kanji will not come off when washed. There are also fabric markers and paints available.

Additional Resources for Teachers

Teacher’s Notes: Font for Kanji

Teacher’s Notes: Font for Kanji (PDF 249KB)

Handwriting style font: Reiko Font

Explanations about Kanji: Introduction to Japanese

Related Resources

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