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Lesson Transcript

Hi everyone.
Welcome to the Japanese Kanji video series.
In this lesson, you'll learn your very first radical - the person radical.
Take a look at these kanji characters. Can you guess what they mean?
(pause for 4 seconds)
By the end of this lesson, you'll be able to grasp the meaning behind these kanji characters.
In the previous lesson, we learned that kanji characters are made up of radicals, the building blocks of kanji.
These radicals give us tremendous clues to the meaning behind kanji characters.
Can you identify the common element in all of these kanji characters?
(pause for 4 seconds)
It's this part here.
This particular radical is called...
にんべん
It's otherwise known as the "person" radical and it's used in some of the most common of all kanji characters. Let's take a look at it in more detail.
Meaning
On its own, the person radical looks like this.
We mentioned before that some radicals can be kanji on their own.
This radical is one such example.
The meaning behind this particular kanji, is human or person.
When this radical appears as a *part* of another kanji, like in these examples, the appearance changes slightly. When it's a component like this, it adds the meaning of "human" or "person" to the entire kanji character.
If you can identify a radical in a kanji character, there's a good chance that you can guess the meaning of the character itself.
人、休、体、信
The first kanji has the "person" radical, paired with this second character. This second character is also a common radical *and kanji* in itself. It is the character for "tree."
When paired together, a person leaning on a tree, means that they're "resting." So this kanji character means "to rest."
The second kanji has the "person" radical paired with this character. It's identical to the "tree" character from before, except with this small horizontal line at the bottom. The meaning of this character is "root" or "trunk."
When paired together, the root or trunk of a person refers to their "body." So this kanji means "body."
The last kanji has the "person" radical paired with the character for "word."
"Human" and "word" paired together, means "trust" or "faith."
Can you see how we can determine the meaning of each kanji character by identifying the radicals in them?
By following this process, we can deduce the meaning of kanji characters we've yet to learn.
And the more radicals you learn, the easier it will be to learn even *more* kanji!
Common positions
The "person" radical most commonly occurs in the left position, as can be seen in these examples. *This* will be the position you'll most likely encounter it in.
Sometimes though, you may find it in the top of a kanji character. This position is known as the "crown" position, as can be seen in some of *these* examples. However, this is less common.
Just remember the left and crown positions, and you'll be able to identify the "person" radical. Okay. Now let's learn how to write this radical.
Stroke Order
Learning the stroke order of radicals is important because it's designed to help you flow from one character to the next. Knowing how to write a radical, demonstrates understanding of the components that make up a kanji character.
While it may not seem important at first, particularly for basic kanji characters, learning the proper stroke order is important down the line, when you learn more difficult kanji.
Some kanji characters are written in many strokes and they can get very complex, so unless you're writing it in the correct order, the end result may be unreadable.
Therefore, it's important for you to know how to write each kanji character in the correct order!
While there are *some* rules to kanji stroke order, there are no hard and fast rules to learning them. The more radicals you learn how to write, the easier and more intuitive it will become to write whole kanji characters.
Now let's take a look at the stroke order of the "person" radical.
The "person" radical is very simple, there are only two strokes.
When the radical is on its own, it looks like this:
The first stroke, starts from the upper center and then curves down to the bottom left.
The second stroke, starts a tiny bit *below* the first stroke, and goes directly to the bottom right.
When this radical is a *part* of another kanji, it usually takes on the left position, and the appearance is distorted a little.
The first stroke, goes from right to left at the top.
And the second stroke attaches to the center of the first stroke, and goes all the way down.
When the radical takes the crown position, it's written in much the same way.
It starts from upper center, going right to left. And then, from left to right.
And that's it! You're done!
Common Readings
Kanji characters can have multiple readings. They're usually broken down into two groups: called on and kun readings. The on reading mimics the original sound made in Chinese, while the kun reading is a "revised" reading used to integrate with the Japanese alphabet.
The only way to determine *which* reading to use is mainly via the context. on readings will usually be used when multiple kanji characters are grouped together into a compound word, whereas kun readings will usually be used when it's a standalone kanji like in the first example.
In the case of the original examples, the on and kun readings of each are as follows...
キュウ、やす
for the kanji meaning "to rest."
タイ、からだ
for the "body" kanji. And...
シン
for the "trust" kanji.
Reading kanji may be difficult to start off with, but they'll only get easier as you learn more radicals over time.
Lesson Review
In this lesson, you learned about the "person" radical.
The idea behind this radical is "person" or "human."
You also learned the kanji characters for "person," "rest," "body," and "trust," in which this radical appears.
It's most commonly found in the left position, making it appear like *this*.
And it's written with two strokes, going from right to left and then top to bottom.
In the next lesson, you'll learn about another common radical used in some of the most common and basic kanji characters, the "woman" radical.
See you in the next lesson. Bye!
Bye~!

Kanji

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63 Comments

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😄 😞 😳 😁 😒 😎 😠 😆 😅 😜 😉 😭 😇 😴 😮 😈 ❤️️ 👍

JapanesePod101.com Verified
May 20th, 2016 at 06:30 PM
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Do you know any other kanji with the Person Radical 亻?
Click here to download the FREE Kanji e-book
Click here to buy the Full Version Kanji e-book

JapanesePod101.com Verified
August 5th, 2021 at 06:31 PM
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Hi Joe,


Thank you for posting.

This series is great to get familiar with radicals, which are essential parts of kanji.


If you are still studying kana, let me recommend you this series:

https://www.japanesepod101.com/lesson-library/classic-japanese-pod-101-kantan-kana/


If you want to practice more kanji, this video series will help you:

https://www.japanesepod101.com/lesson-library/kanji-time/


Cheers,😄

Lena

Team JapanesePod101.com

Joe
August 4th, 2021 at 04:25 AM
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😮Another great lesson, I wasn't ready for kanji yet.

JapanesePod101.com Verified
June 11th, 2021 at 05:26 PM
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Aneesaさん


Thank you so much for your comment😄

When you're starting, yes, that's fine since some kanji have readings that are not commonly used😉

Please let us know if you have any questions :)


Sincerely

Ryoma

Team JapanesePod101.com

JapanesePod101.com Verified
June 11th, 2021 at 05:25 PM
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Vishnuさん


Thank you so much for your comment😄

Most of the Japanese words have kanji, so we write them with their kanji.

If you don't know kanji yet though, you can write it in hiragana: for example, わたし😉


Please let us know if you have any questions :)


Sincerely

Ryoma

Team JapanesePod101.com

Aneesa
May 26th, 2021 at 09:42 AM
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Hi! I've heard that it's good to only learn the most common reading of any kanji. Is that a good thing to do?

JapanesePod101.com Verified
May 13th, 2021 at 05:37 PM
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Einiliさん,


We are sorry but the e-book is only available on Apple Books for now.


Sincerely,

Levente

Team JapanesePod101.com

Einili
May 8th, 2021 at 09:00 AM
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Is the free e-book presented in the video still available? if it its, can be obtainable in Android?

Vishnu
May 5th, 2021 at 06:49 PM
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Hello! 😄

I am Vishnunarayana! I do have a doubt.


My doubt is, whether the word "私" or "watashi" a kanji or not.

JapanesePod101.com Verified
March 12th, 2020 at 08:56 AM
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Tobiさん


質問(しつもん)ありがとうございます😄

Unfortunately, there's no an ultimate rule on when to use which readings of kanji.

Kun-yomi is usually used when the kanji is by itself, but there are exceptions.

On-yomi is usually used when the kanji is with another kanji, but again there are exceptions.

Thus, I recommend you to remember different readings with different vocabulary.

For example, for the 人 - ひと / ニン・ジン, you can study 人(ひと), 三人(さんにん) and 日本人(にほんじん).

Please let us know if you have any question :)


Sincerely

Ryoma

Team JapanesePod101.com

Tobi
March 10th, 2020 at 07:15 AM
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Hello,


I know that some kanji have multiple on readings, but is there a way to know which one to use?

For example, 人 has an on reading of both ニン and ジン.

For the word 三人, it's read as "nin", but I've heard it as "Jin", like in the words 巨人 and 日本人.


ありがとうございます!