Category: Vocabulary

17 Feb


Juju Kurihara Japan, Vocabulary Tags: 0 Comments

Kanji (漢字) is one of the Japanese wrting system along with Hiragana and Katakana. Both Hiragana and Katakana were made from Kanji by simplifying the character. Kanji was first created in China and is an ideogram. During 5th-6th century, Kanji was imported from China to Japan by Japanese monks and students who studied there. Traditionally kanji were mostly used by men or well educated women, and Hiragana was invented for women to use.

One Kanji usually has more than one way of reading and there are more than 10,000 kanji. Obviously it's imporssible to remember all characters so that Japanese people use special Kanji dictionary. 

The Japanese Ministry of Education announces a list of official Kanji characters which is called Joyo kanji (usual use kanji). According to the latest announcement in 2010, 2136 kanji are set as joyo kanji.

This dictionary contains 14,313 individual kanji which is more than enough for to read the newspaper.


kanji dictionary

This is the complete version of Kanji dictionary which includes 50,000 individual kanji and 500,000 phrases.

I like to have them just to decorate my book shelf.

daikanwa jiten


16 Feb


Juju Kurihara Japan, Vocabulary Tags: 0 Comments

Katakana (カタカナ) is one of the Japanese wrting system along with Hiragana and Kanji. As well as Hiragana, Katakana is phonetical and is a simplified form of Kanji.

Katakana is mainly used in modern Japanese language when a word describes foreign language or names.

Ex: Television – テレビ (terebi)

       Coffee – コーヒー (koohii)

       Penelope Cruz – ペネロペ・クルス (Peneroepe Kurusu).


Katakana chart

katakana chart



More about Japanese language


Onomatopoeia with Mado Michio

Onomatopoeia with Taro Gomi

Kazoe uta


16 Feb


Juju Kurihara Japan, Vocabulary Tags: 0 Comments

Shokunin (職人・craftman) are those who are skilled and create things by hands in the industrial field. Traditionally shokunin are respected in the society, and in fact, in Edo periodo they were considered to be a higher social class than merchants. 

In modern Japan, the word shokunin applies to wider professions. As well as those who dedicate handicraft, carpenter (大工・Daiku), plasterer (左官・Sakan) and gardener (庭師・Niwashi), those who deal with food such as shushi chef or baker.

The most respected shokunin were those who manage metal. Japan used to bring many metal shokunin from Korea as they were known to have excellent skill.




14 Feb

Kenkoku no Hi (建国の日)

Juju Kurihara Japan, Vocabulary Tags: 0 Comments

Kenkoku no Hi, celebration parade.


The 11th of February is the National Foundation Day since 1966 in memory of the foundation of Japan in and as the day to grow love towards the country. According to the Japanese second old mythology, "Nihon Shoki", Japan was founded on this day in 660BC.


After the World War II, it had been prohibited to celebrate this day as GHQ was cautious about Japanese people getting too patriotic by worshipping the Emperor but with the desire of Japanese nation, it revived as Kenkoku no Hi in 1966.


Usually this day, there are celebration parades in many places in Japan but also, there are many protests against this celebration. It's quite controversial.

Protest march in Tokyo in 2010

13 Feb

Kaidan (怪談)

Juju Kurihara Japan, Vocabulary Tags: 0 Comments

Kaidan (怪談)means ghost story or horror in Japanese although it usually refers to Japanese old traditional ghost folktales. Kaidan is a story about death, ghost and monsters and it first appeared in a written form dates back to Heian period (early 12th century). In the 18th century, it became one of the popular topics in Kabuki.


In the early 20th, a Greek born Irish author, Yakumo Koizumi (Lafcadio Hearn) collected old traditional Kaidan stories and folk stories all over Japan and published a book "怪談 (Kwaidan)". One of his stories, "耳なし芳一(Mimi nashi Houichi / Houichi the earless)" is a story all Japanese have read in their childhood.    


Kaidan used to be a typical summer event as well as the fireworks. To chill in the hot and humid summer in Japan, scary stories were perfect.




Oiwa san

Rokuro kubi




Iro Megane 色眼鏡

Finally Japan opens its mouth. With its own mouth speaks loud about Japan, Japanese people and culture. Why they do it? And how they feel it? They will tell you all from their own point of view.

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