Gengo Girls #116: Everyone’s A Critic

Gengo Girls #116: Everyone's A Critic

If you look at the history of the kanji most of them started out looking a lot like drawings of real world things. But then over time details were removed and curves were replaced with straight lines until we finally wound up with the angular kanji we have today. For instance, the “sun” kanji used to be an actual circle instead of the rectangular 日 we have today.

Overall this was probably a good thing. Jotting down a handful of predictable straight lines is a lot faster and easier than having to actually draw a little picture. Especially for those of us that can’t even manage to draw a half-decent circle…


言語ガールズ #116

Everyone’s A Critic

Blue: With practice you can recognize kanji as quickly and easily as you do English words.

Blue: But until then there are a few tricks to help you remember them.

Blue: Many kanji were designed to look like the word they represent.

Blue: And it’s easy to see the tree kanji as a trunk with branches.

Yellow: That tree kanji kind of just looks like a bad stick figure.

Blue: The kanji represent thousands of years of culture and are beautiful in their simple minimalism.

Yellow: If I had a thousand years I bet I could draw a better tree than that.