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Learn Japanese Kanji – Everyday Kanji (signs with 中)

Hi everyone!
Welcome to Everyday Kanji! In this series, we’re going to present pictures of kanji seen in various places in Japan taken by the team members at That’s right – kanji seen and used everyday!

In this blog and on Twitter we’ll be presenting pictures with kanji based on a theme, such as kanji seen on road signs, shop signs, restaurant menus, product packaging, and lots more! You can also see the kanji pictures everyday on Twitter if you follow us! We’ll be changing the theme of the pictures every week.

The theme this time is “the signs with the kanji 中 (naka, but pronounced chū in these signs).” 中 is a kanji meaning “middle” or “inside.” When used in signs, it’s usually used at the end of a compound word and adds the meaning of “in the middle of doing something.”
Everyday Kanji - Signs with � ①

営業中 (eigyōchū): 営業 means “business”. You will often see this sign at the entrance of shops/restaurants. Can you guess what it means?

This sign literally means “currently doing business,” so it means “We’re open.”

営業 (eigyō) = business
● 営 (ei) = perform
● 業 (gyō) = business

中 (chū) = in, inside, middle

Sample Sentence:
Eigyō-chū desu node, mise no mae ni chūsha shinaide kudasai.
We’re open for business, so please don’t park in front of our store.

Everyday Kanji - Signs with � ②

仕込中 (shikomi-chū)
:仕込 means “preparation”. You might see this sign at the entrance of a restaurant. Do you think it’s okay to go in when you see this sign?

仕込 means “preparation”, but it usually refers to preparing food. So, 仕込中 means “currently preparing food”. This sign means the restaurant is still in the process of getting ready, so you can’t go in yet.

仕込 (shikomi) = preparation
● 仕 (shi) = doing
● 込 (komi) = mixture

中 (chū) = in, inside, middle

Sample Sentence:
Ryōri-chō wa, ima, shikomi-chū da kara, isogashii.
The chef is now busy preparing the food.

Everyday Kanji - Signs with � ③

監視中 (kanshichū)
: 監視 means “surveillance.” You’ll often see this sign inside of an elevator. Do you feel secure when you see this sign? 監視中 means “under surveillance” or “monitoring”. How are they monitoring? In this case, a 防犯カメラ (bōhan kamera; security camera) is monitoring the area.

監視 (kanshi) = surveillance
● 監 (kan) = oversee
● 視 (shi) = inspection

中 (chū) = in, inside, middle

防犯カメラ (bōhan kamera) = security camera
● 防 (bō) = defend
● 犯 (han) = crime

Sample Sentence:
Bōhan kamera ga kanshi-chū datta ga, hannin wa utsutte inai.
The security camera was operating, but it didn’t catch the criminal.

Everyday Kanji - Signs with � ④

工事中 (kōjichū)
: 工事 means “construction.” You’ll know what it means from the picture of a person working. 工事中 literally means “under construction.” This sign means “Men working” or “Road Under Construction.”

工事 (kōji) = construction
● 工 (kō) = construction
● 事 (ji) = matter

中 (chū) = in, inside, middle

徐行 (jokō) = going slowly = “Please go slowly”
● 徐 (jo) = slowly
● 行 (kō) = going

Sample Sentence:
Kono saki, kōji-chū no tame, jūtai shite imasu.
There’s road construction ahead, so traffic is congested.

Everyday Kanji - Signs with � ⑤

募集中 (boshūchū): 募集 means “recruiting.” アルバイト means “part time job.” You’ll see this phrase a lot in the classified ads. 募集中 literally means “recruiting” or “taking applications”, so this sign means ”Help Wanted”.

募集 (boshū) = recruiting
● 募 (bo) = recruit
● 集 (shū) = gather

中 (chū) = in, inside, middle

平日8時~22時 = from 8:00 through 22:00 every weekday

平日・heijitsu = weekday
● 平・hei = even, flat
● 日・jitsu = day

● 時・ji = hour

Sample Sentence:
Kare wa, koibito boshū-chū rashii.
I heard he is looking for a girlfriend.

If you think you can remember them all, try testing yourself with this video on Youtube!
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