Note to readers: This post is off the beaten path for this particular blog. You can safely ignore it if you aren’t interested in Japanese study. Its a proof-of-concept for the blog series Writing A Customer-Focused Blog, where you can see the motivation for doing this. In this post, I plug a piece of software called ReadWrite Kanji. I have received neither permission nor compensation for doing so. I am a happy registered user, and am using it to pass a certification exam this December, God willing. Everything which follows this disclaimer, including my representations as to my opinion of the quality of that software, is true. Apologies in advance if it breaks your RSS reader because it contains Japanese characters.

Kanji of the Day: 任

On-yomi(音読み): にん

Kun-yomi(訓読み):任(まか)せ-る, 任(まか)-す

Basic meaning: To leave something up to someone else, to charge someone with responsibility

JLPT(日本語能力試験) level: Level 2 (2級)

Words you’ll want to know for the JLPT: 解任 かいにん(to dismiss from a post), 主任 しゅにん (the person in charge of something, an official — note the short yu! 主 is a perinneal favorite of the test writers because there’s about a zillion different ways to flub up its reading ), 任せる(to leave something up to someone)

Words you might find fun to know: 任務 にんむ(the mission one is entrusted with — shows up about 3 times a Naruto episode, along with 任せて! being the catchphrase of one of the major characters), 任天堂 (see below)

Cool trivia: there is a poetic expression 運(うん)を天(てん)に任せる, which means literally to “Leave one’s fate to heaven”. Figuratively it means to take a gamble on something, to “let the chips fall where they may”, etc. This association of submission before heaven and gambling probably had something to do with the naming of a certain playing card company 任天堂 (にんてんどう), “the house of leaving one’s fortune to heaven”, which is probably better known as the company which went on to make two Italian plumbers household names in every nation on earth.

More kanji to study: You can continue studying 任 and 1,944 other kanji which you need to know to be considered literate in Japanese by trying out ReadWrite Kanji, a lovely little computer program which is like kanji flashcards for your PC. There is a free trial available and the price is less than you’ll pay for a single kanji study book.

Be sure to come back tomorrow for our next kanji of the day! You can bookmark us by hitting Ctrl+D or add us to your RSS reader.

_Editor’s note: there won’t be a kanji of the day tomorrow. Its an example of an effective call to action. I’d also hyperlink both “bookmark us” and “add us to your RSS reader”.