A way to write the nightmare kanji: 鬱

I have been trying to remember kanji for 20 years. Seeing Japanese natives struggle with them is kind of reassuring.

New ways of learning them are constantly emerging such as the pooh teacher, Unko Sensei who has been inspiring young children to learn 1,000 kanji before they have left primary school.

The Japanese comedian turned kanji-teacher, Shinomiya Akira has come up with a new 覚え方 OBOEKATA (way of remembering) kanji.

He recommends remembering each kanji component as sounds, then stringing them together to make a rhythmical sound.

To remember 鬱, the kanji in this post just remember:


UTSU (Depression)

The 鬱 kanji can be seperated into these components 木缶木ワ凶ヒミ。

The top section is 木(KI)、缶(KAN)and 木(KI).

SHINOMIYA’s youtube video on remembering UTSU. The rhythmic sound to remember is at the end of the video.

The middle line is the katakana ワ (WA). Below that is the character 凶 (KYOU).

The WACHA WACHA WACHA WACHA are the dots surrounding the centre of the 凶 character.

Below and beside 凶 (KYOU), are the katakana characters ヒ (HI) ミ(MI)

Put the sounds together to make: KIKANKI WA KYOU WACHA WACHA WACHA WACHA HI MI!

I recommend you watch the video to hear Shinmiya explain it.

Of course, it’s utter nonsense and not much use if you have not already separately learnt the characters that make these sounds.

But hopefully it gives an insight though to how kanji can be studied and enjoyed in different ways.

One of the original reasons, Shinomiya wanted to improve his kanji is to get on one of the kanji quiz TV programs. Kanji quizes can be very popular in Japan.

We watch Love Island and Eastenders. Can you imagine a popular spelling program on TV in the UK?

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