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Lesson Transcript

Hi everyone.
Welcome to the Japanese Kanji video series.
In this lesson, you'll learn the "mouth" radical.
Kanji Series
Lesson 06: The Mouth 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.
First off, can you spot the radical that's common in all of these kanji characters?
(pause for 4 seconds)
It's this part here.
This particular radical is called...
くち or くちへん
The "mouth" radical is used in some of the most common kanji characters. Let's take a look at it in more detail.
The "mouth" radical stands for exactly that, "the mouth." 口
Keep in mind though that it encapsulates the many senses of the word "mouth" and isn"t limited to the mouth of a person or animal. The "mouth of a river" for instance, alludes to an opening where water moves *through* to enter an ocean. The "mouth" radical embodies this sense of the word too.
From left to right, the first kanji means "mouth," the second means "older brother," the third character means "old," and fourth character means "same."
This radical is a kanji by itself, as seen in the first example.
The second kanji has the "mouth" radical on top, and the "human legs" radical - which we learned in lesson 4 - on the bottom.
The third kanji has the "mouth" radical on the bottom, and the "ten" radical which we learned in the *previous* lesson, on top.
Do you remember this kanji character?
(pause 2)
It's the character for "old."
The fourth kanji has the "mouth" radical enclosed in a type of hood representing a group. A group of people who share one voice have the *same* opinion.
So the meaning of this kanji is "same" or "equal."
Common positions
The "mouth" radical appears in multiple positions. It can appear in the "crown" position...
(pause 2 seconds)
like in the kanji for "older brother." 兄
Or it can appear at the bottom, in the "foot" position...
(pause 2 seconds)
like in the kanji for "old." 古
And just as often, it can appear in the "right" position...
(pause 2 seconds)
like in this kanji character meaning "harmony." 和
As you can see, the "mouth" radical appears in many different positions. So keep your eyes peeled!
Okay. Now let's learn how to write this radical.
Stroke Order
The "mouth" radical is very simple, it's written in 3 strokes and it looks like a box.
The first stroke, occurs on the left side and is a vertical stroke that goes from top to bottom.
The second looks like a right corner and starts from left to right, and then bends downwards.
It's important to note, that this second stroke should be completed in one smooth motion.
Finally, close the box by connecting the first stroke to the second stroke at the bottom.
And that's it! You're done!
Common Readings
When the "mouth" radical is on its own, 口, the kanji can be read as...
コウ for the on reading
and くち for the kun reading
And when the "mouth" radical is a part of another kanji...
キョウ、あに for the "older brother" kanji 兄
コ、ふる for the kanji meaning "old,” 古. And...
ドウ、おな for the kanji meaning "same" or "equal,” 同.
Lesson Review
In this lesson, you learned about the "mouth" radical.
The "mouth" radical looks like a square.
The idea behind this radical encapsulates all senses of the word "mouth," equivalent to English.
You also learned the kanji characters for "mouth," "older brother," "old," and "same" or "equal," in which this radical appears.
It can be found in multiple positions: the crown, foot, or right position.
And it's written with one vertical stroke, one right-corner stroke, and one connecting horizontal stroke.
In the next lesson, you'll learn about another common radical used in some of the most common and basic kanji characters, the "one" radical.
See you in the next lesson.


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Please to leave a comment.
😄 😞 😳 😁 😒 😎 😠 😆 😅 😜 😉 😭 😇 😴 😮 😈 ❤️️ 👍

JapanesePod101.com Verified
June 17th, 2016 at 06:30 PM
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Do you know any other kanji with the Mouth Radical 口?
Click here to download the FREE Kanji e-book
Click here to buy the Full Version Kanji e-book

February 20th, 2019 at 02:46 AM
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Hello Mary,

Thank you for posting.

You can check each version at:

https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/id1119424354 (FREE Kanji e-book)

http://store.innovativelanguage.com/eBook-A-Radical-Approach-to-Mastering-Kanji_p_742.html (Full Version Kanji e-book)

As informed in these pages, the free version has 60 pages and the full version has 63 chapters & 538 pages in total. Please check the mentioned links for detailed information. 👍

In case of any doubts, please let us know. :)


Cristiane (クリスチアネ)

Team JapanesePod101.com

Mary H.
February 15th, 2019 at 06:10 AM
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How is the Full Version Kanji E-book different from the Free Version Kanji E-book?

October 2nd, 2018 at 01:09 AM
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Hi レイチェル,

Thank you for sharing your findings with other user!

Thanks for studying with us. If you have any questions, please let us know.


Miki H

Team JapanesePod101.com

July 16th, 2018 at 08:20 AM
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Jake, I was curious about this too! Using Google Books I found in The Origin of Chinese Characters by Kihoon Lee on page 72 the older brother is "a person who speaks or gives orders". Interestingly, the author mentions that it's the mouth and person radicals combined rather than the mouth and legs radicals. This makes me wonder, is 儿 is interchangeable with 人 in some cases?

JapanesePod101.com Verified
February 3rd, 2018 at 08:45 AM
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Hi Jake,

The kanji for older brother (兄) is included in this lesson because it belongs to the mouth (口) radical group.

If you have any other questions, please let us know! ?

Miki H

Team JapanesePod101.com

JapanesePod101.com Verified
February 3rd, 2018 at 07:00 AM
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Dear patrick,

Thank you for the comment. I see your confusion between 口 and 光, as the on (音) reading is コウ (kou) for both.

When both Kanji is written by itself, you use the kun reading. So 口 is 'kuchi' and 光 is 'hikari.' But when combined with another kanji, usually the on reading is used. (example: 口頭 koutou = verbal. 光線 kousen = a ray of light.)

I hope this helps.


Miki H.

Team JapanesePod101.com

October 31st, 2017 at 01:23 AM
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What is the logic behind older brother?

October 27th, 2017 at 02:21 AM
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i see the mouth kanji (口)on reading and the light kanji(光) on reading are the same. obviously the when writing its different but it i was listening how do i differ them or to speak it myself

Japanesepod101.com Verified
October 12th, 2017 at 07:33 PM
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Hi Mario

Thank you for posting. You mentioned you were able to watch the previous lesson videos (5, 4, ...). Therefore, when a video doesn’t stream well, please try to log in with a different browser.

You can also try downloading the video file and watching it with a video player on your device.

If still you experience any technical issues, please send us an email at contactus@JapanesePod101.com

Thank you for using JapanesePod101.com!

We hope you’re enjoying our lessons!


Cristiane (クリスチアネ)

Team Japanesepod101.com

October 12th, 2017 at 03:10 PM
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I cant watch the video now... why does it happen when i had just able to watch the previous lessons..