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Kanji: Tasks

Students work on two tasks relating to kanji. In the first they look at how a stroke can be added to the kanji for “day” to form a new kanji. In the second, they form kanji compounds using cards.


Task 1

How many kanji can you make by adding one stroke to the kanji 日(ひ)?
Hint: You can add the stroke inside or outside.
(Answers : 田 目 旦 旧 由 甲 申 白)

Task 2 – Find Compounds

How many 2-kanji compound words can you find in the chart below? Kanji compounds may be created by combining with kanji on the left, right, above, below or diagonally.

Task 2 Find Kanji Compounds (Word 25KB)


月日 This is read 「つきひ」 but in ‘date of birth’ it is read 「せいねん
女人 This is read 「にょにん」 and means ‘woman’, but there is no 「男人」.
ぶんすいThis word refers to division of water, as in ‘watershed’, and is often used in place names.
生長(せいちょう) This word means ‘growth’ and is usually written 成長(せいちょう).

Task 3

Kanji formed by two or more components, one representing the sound and another representing the meaning. The component which expresses the meaning of the kanji is called a しゅ(radical). We will deal with these kanji in the next issue.

Task 3 Picture Kanji (PDF 228KB)

Task 4 – Kanji Maze

Make a grid like the one below. Students find their way to the exit by moving only to a kanji which has the same stroke number. Example maze:

Task 4 Kanji Maze (Word 22KB)

Task 5 – Component Kanji

Some kanji may look complicated, but they can be divided into simpler components. For example,「語」looks quite complicated, but it is easier to remember if you break it up into 言 , 五 and 口. You may like to create more tasks such as the ones below.

Task 5 Component Kanji (Word 201KB)

Task 6 – Kanji Categories

Worksheet: Students put kanji into topic groups. They may use kanji cards or you may give them a chart such as the one below to fill in.

Topics かんじ
人(people) 父 母 兄 姉 弟 妹
からだ(body parts) 口 目 耳 手 足 頭
すうじ(numbers) 一 二 三 四 五 六 七 八 九 十 百 千 万
きせつ(seasons) 春 夏 秋 冬
Task 6 Kanji Categories (Word 29KB)

Task 7 – Design with Kanji

Activity: Choose a topic and design a T-shirt or make kanji wrapping paper with kanji from a kanji group.

Task 8 – Kanji Dominoes

Task 8 Kanji Dominoes (Word 46KB)

Students receive a set of Kanji Dominoes cards, and matching the kanji with its reading, they keep connecting them until the last word connects to the first word.

Additional Resources

You may wish to look at the related resource “Kanji: Radicals”.

Kanji Introduction

Teacher’s Notes: Kanji Introduction (PDF 94KB)

Origin of the characters for Kanji, Kanji word-building

Teacher’s Notes: Origin of the Characters for Kanji Kanji Word Building (PDF 75KB)

Country names in Kanji

Teacher’s Notes: Country Names in Kanji (PDF 79KB)

Kanji examination

Teacher’s Notes: Kanji Examination (PDF 57KB)

Resource created by Himiko Negishi-Wood (December 2005).

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