Japanese character challenges, September 2016

In Japanese by Jeremy Arns

challengesIn a way, learning characters is easy. When you know roughly how characters work and how they are composed, learning a new character is not hard. The difficulty comes from the large number of steps you have to take, not the difficulty of each individual step.

However, relating characters to each other is also part of the challenge. How are they similar? How are they different?

The challenges in this article are meant to help you practice that by solving tricky character puzzles. The answers are posted at the very end of the article, but don’t peek unless you have really tried to solve the challenges on your own. Also note that while we only provide one answer here, some challenges could have more than one right answer.

Some challenges are different from others:

  • Fill the blank challenges: Here you see a sentence with parts of it stripped away, and you fill in the missing portions. For example: 図書館に行って_を読んだ, where the answer would be “本”.
  • Ateji challenges: Here the characters form a logical sentence or expression when all read with a specific correct reading. For example: 茶連時市用!, where the answer would be “チャレンジしよう!”.
  • Which character doesn’t belong challenges: Here there will be a group of characters, but one of them doesn’t belong for a certain reason. For example: 旧、扱、急、琉、球, where the answer would be “琉”, (because it’s the only kanji which can’t be read as きゅう).

Without further ado, let’s get on with this month’s Japanese challenges!

Japanese character challenges for September 2016

  • Ateji challenge: 意ッ牌破一鮭ヲ埜無、煮灰刃差毛沙卦ヲ野夢、産陪派左気火都ヲ之務。
  • Which character doesn’t belong: 変、編、辺、迎、返
  • Fill in the blanks: _パジャマ_パジャマ_パジャマ
  • Which character doesn’t belong: 私、資、前、視、試

Click here to reveal challenge answers

  1. 一杯は人酒を飲む、二杯は酒酒を飲む、三杯は酒人を飲む。(意ッ牌(いっぱい)破(は)一(ひと)鮭(さけ)ヲ(を)埜(の)無(む)、煮(に)灰(はい)刃(は)差(さ)毛(け)沙(さ)卦(け)ヲ(を)野(の)夢(無)、産(さん)陪(ばい)派(は)左(さ)気(け)火(ひ)都(と)ヲ(を)之(の)務(む))

  2. 迎(only kanji which cannot be read as へん)

  3. 赤、青、黄
  4. (only kanji which cannot be read as し)


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