In this second installment we’ll explore the Kanji for country, 国 that is.
An easy way to remember it is by knowing other Kanji, which we’ll call radicals, that 国 is made of. First of is king 王 (おう), who is the ruler of a country, 国 (くに), or a kingdom, 王国 (おうこく). Next is ball, circle or sphere 玉 (だま), the reasoning behind this is probably related to coins, which are circular, a king has a lot of coins and controls a region’s currency. Finally, there is mouth, 口 (くち), not much to add here besides it all being inside a square. Knowing the Kanji in parts should help remember it more easily, considering there are so many! every bit of help adds to the larger picture.
国 – country
This is what the Kanji reads like all by itself. Some times you’ll see it with the honorary prefix お, making it お国(おくに) in polite speech.
この 国(くに) は 寒い(さむい) です
This is a cold country.
あなた の お国 (おくに) は どこ ですか？
What is your (home) country? (literally where is your home country?).
This is the reading it gets when used with other Kanji.
外国 (がい・こく) – foreign country
土曜日(どようび) に 外国 (がいこく) から 来ました (きました)
Saturday I came back from a foreign country.
国際 (こく・さい) – international
国際空港 (こくさい くうこう) は 雑踏 (にぎやか) です
The international airport is very busy (very crowded).
国土 (こく・ど) – realm | territory | domain | country
この 国土 (こくど) は 危険 (きけん) です
This realm is dangerous.
国王 (こく・おう) – king
国王 (こくおう) は 大人気 (だいにんき) です
The king is very popular.
王国 (おう・こく) – kingdom | monarchy
あの 王国 (おうこく) は 遠い (とおい) です
That kingdom is far away.
キノコ王国 (おう・こく) – The Mushroom Kingdom
ピーチ は キノコ王国 (おうこく) の 姫(ひめ) です
Peach is the princess of the Mushroom Kingdom
A pretty simple Kanji to learn, and you’ll be seeing a lot of it, just one kun yomi and one on yomi. Not one to give you a lot of trouble, thankfully.