Kanji Positions & Directions

( LEVEL - Beginner - N5 N4 N3 N2 N1 - Advanced )

Fun Facts:

1: Family Names

Kanji meaning positions and directions are also used in Japanese family names. They can be combined with other Kanji. Let’s see 20 common family names with such Kanji. 

(Reference: Family Name Ranking - https://myoji-yurai.net/prefectureRanking.htm )

 

< Ranking & Family Name >  

4位 田中 (Tanaka)

8位 中村 (Nakamura)

16位 井上 (Inoue)

27位 山下 (Yamashita)

28位 中島 (Nakajima)

31位 前田 (Maeda)

35位 後藤 (Gtou)

37位 村上 (Murakami)

38位 遠藤 (Endou)

50位 中野 (Nakano)

51位 中川 (Nakagawa)

57位 中山 (Nakayama)

61位 上田 (Ueda)

67位 横山 (Yokoyama) 

87位 上野 (Ueno)

94位 木下 (Kinoshita)

103位 大西 (Oonishi)

111位 西田 (Nishida)

114位 西川 (Nishikawa)

116位 北村 (Kitamura) ...etc.

2: Different Word-ordering

 

When it comes to saying all directions, we say “東西南北 (tou-zai-nan-boku)” in Japanese, while you say “north, south, east and west” in English. 

 

One more example… We say “左右 (sa-yuu)” in Japanese, while you say “right and left” in English.

 

Please be careful about such a difference!!

Fun Activity: Let’s memorize Kanji with illustrations! 

Now let’s try to remember positions Kanji linked to each illustration.


*Please take note that the following illustrations are based on my inspiration from Kanji shapes. (Often people find it easier to remember Kanji by using mnemonics).

On/Up

In/Inside

Left

East

South

Front/Before

Far/Away

Corner/Angle

Next to/By

Position/Approx.

Under/Down

Right

North

West

Outside/Except

Behind/After

Near/Close to

Forward/Way

Beside/Side

To Place/Put

Copyright © 2019 Aki Moritani & Justin Rosewell