Opening and Closing Kanji in Japanese

We all open things and from time to time, we all close things. It could be a door, a book, or the oft-difficult-to-close object—our own mouths.

Working on a different project I came to this sentence:


(This store closes at 10 at night.)

It reminded me of a mnemonic I created years ago when I was learning the kanji 閉 for ‘close.’ I kept confusing it with open 開. They both have a big gate (門).

Here it is: The kanji for ‘close’ has a guy kicking the door of the gate closed-閉. The guy in the open kanji (開) is actually holding the gate open with his outstretched arms.

With that off my chest, I’ll get back to work.


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