My good friend Mike Beeson is visiting Japan. He spent a few days here in Saroma, and did his best to read the Chinese “kanji” characters that are used in Japan. Amazingly, while he had no idea what the characters meant, he was able to see them as pictures, and started creating his own meanings, based on what he thought the characters resembled.
I found this perspective refreshing and hilarious. I asked Mike to write down what he thought a kanji should mean, based on what he felt it looked like as a visual representation of meaning. Here is the short “Kanji Guide” that he created. Let your mouse pointer rest over the image to reveal the actual meaning of the character.
What do you think? I’d be curious to see what those of you with little or no knowledge of kanji think, compared to those who do. I am pretty sure I never could have created this, given the connections I have already made for these ideograms.