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The kanji 七, seven

This is 5 Minute Kanji, and today we are going to go over a crazy nana of a kanji this time, the kanji for seven.


My girlfriend, SHE CHIlls by NA-NAing on a baNANA TSU relax.




nana, nanatsu

Like the other number kanji, the onyomi is used when counting up in Japanese, while the kunyomi ななつ is used as a generic counter for objects that don’t have a specific counter.

Mnemonic Factory

The kanji looks like someone eating a banana. Or you can also think of it as a combination of the two kana that form the onyomi reading – し and ち. Or it does kind of look like an upside down 7 with a line through it, which is the way some people write it.

The onyomi mnemonic has a lot of possibilities. Most of them involve something ‘she’ is doing, for example, “SHE CHEats on the JLPT,” or “SHE CHEers for her favorite ultimate Frisbee team – the flinging NANAs”.

For kunyomi, you’ve got baNANA of course, or a NANA, which is a British English word for a “silly person or a fool”. Or some people use it as an affectionate term for their grandma. Adding the TSU at the end might be difficult but you can always add too to a sentence, like “SHE ate CHIps and a baNANA TSU.”

Example Words

How about a few examples where these words are used?

For onyomi, we have しち for 7. Again, the kanji itself is rarely used in everyday situations. You will most likely see it on formal documents, awards, or price lists at old fashioned restaurants. Like the other number kanji, the month is the onyomi plus がつ, so to talk about July, we would say 七月しちがつ. We also have 七人しちにん for 7 people like the famous movie 七人しちにんさむらい, The Seven Samurai, an incredibly famous, old Kurosawa film.

There is also the special holiday 七五三しちごさん, or 7-5-3 day. This is a special holiday when a boy turns 3, 5, and 7 go to a temple for a special, formal ceremony. Girls go when they turn 3 and 7.

We can also use the kunyomi for counting, なな for 7. There is also the generic counter ななつ, used to count objects that don’t have a counter of their own or you forgot which one to use.

Like most of the other number kanji the day of the month is irregular. You would say 七日なのか. There is also 七夕たなばた, which is a festival that is usually held on the 7th night of July, where boys and girls typically write their wishes on to slips of paper and tie them to bamboo branches. 七夕たなばた is an example of jukujikun, or kanji used simply for their meaning and don’t use the regular reading of the kanji in the compound.

Story Review

Can you remember the story from the beginning? Let’s give it a try, and yell out the words that are missing.

My girlfriend, ___ ___lls by __-__ing on a ba____ ___ relax.

Perfect? Let’s give it another try.

My girlfriend, ___ ___lls by __-__ing on a ba____ ___ relax.

Word Review

Can you read these? I’ll give you the kanji and please yell out the reading for each word






That’s it for the kanji for seven. Be sure to visit the Courses site to download the kanji practice sheet, which will walk you through how to remember this kanji’s reading and help you use it well.

If you have any questions, please let me know in the comments below. If you’d like to learn more kanji, hit the subscribe button and hit the bell mark to get a notification every time I send out a new video. Also be sure to check out my other 5 Minute Kanji videos.