Featured Image for Game Grammar article Kanji believe it, country 国 (くに)

Don’t be foreign to the Kanji readings for country 国 Kuni

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.





 – 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.

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