Problems remembering 名 ("name")

Hi there.

I really have troubles remembering the kanji 名 - both its meaning (name/famous) and reading (mei), actually. Do you have an alternative - maybe more plausible - mnemonic that might help me remembering it better?

It’s pretty rough, but my mnemonic for it is something along the lines of “if you have a famous name in show business, you can mei myou r own price for whatever role you take”. When I come up with my own mnemonics I take some serious creative liberties with pronunciation :sweat_smile:

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There’s a famous movie out called “君の名は” (kimi no na ha) which means “Your Name.” This is how I remember the “na” reading. Na is easy because it is the first two letters of “name!”

And for the “mei” reading, I remember the word “yuumei” or “famous,” which you use ALL THE TIME in daily Japanese conversation. Mei is easy because it sounds like a name (Mei is a character in My Neighbor Totoro). So “Mei’s name is her 名(na).”


How about the expression “to make (meike) a name for oneself”? It’s perfect because it’s got the word “name,” the meaning “to become famous,” and the mei sound.

And to remember the kanji shape: You make a name for yourself by opening your mouth in the evening to sing. This also works with the overall shape of 名, which reminds me a little of an open mouth with a music note coming out.

So, you bring fame to your name by meiking music with your mouth in the evening.


To remember the shape 名, I heard the following story:

Imagine you were living in a village several hundred years ago, and you were working outside of your town. There is a nice fence around the town to protect it from robbers.
After a long day you arrive late at night (夕 is the moon at night), the guards are inside behind the gate, and it’s too dark to see reliably. They demand to call your name (with your mouth 口 obviously) to make sure that you are allowed to go inside.

For “famous”, if random people on the street know your name you are obviously famous.

Maybe you already know “Meishi” (名刺) for business card, and な is already half a “name”.

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Oh, I love this! :heart:

Great, thank you all with your generous help. “Singing, robbers, Totoro, meishi, making a famous name”… I’ll see which one(s) I’ll pick to remember this Kanji better, which one works best for me. They all sound good and plausible! :slightly_smiling_face:

Thank you.


Hello everyone

I used to live in Nagoya (名古屋) where the main train station area is Meieki (名駅), and that’s how I remember it.

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Dunno if you watch it but I use Detective Conan to help me remember ‘mei’ (名探偵コナン ‘Meitantei Conan’), and I’m sure you’ve learned the word 名前 ‘namae’. I tend to remember kanji by associating it with words they’re used in so this might help.

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Exactly like I did.

Also, the kanji has the (口 mouth) radical in it, and above that mouth is an “N” shaped radical (夕 Evening). What might you say with your mouth that starts with N? A name of course!

The N-Mouth says names!

Mei (may) I get your name please?

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That is how I remember it too! I loved that movie :smiley:

I like to use familiar Japanese words to help me remember tricky kanji. The word for business card (めいし) is pretty well known among Japanese learners. It happens to use this kanji and reading: 名刺

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It’s a very frequent kanji, it’ll stick.

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More specifically, for example, a word which means “name” - 名前, “namae”. Makes it really easy to remember both kanjis.

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Thanks to all of you, too.

Do you play overwatch by chance? You should because there is a character named Mei and she is a-mei-zing!

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Haha, no, I don’t, but that’s a good one, too. Thaks. :slight_smile:

Thanks to your help, I instantly knew the correct answers in my last review session. :slight_smile:

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