3 things:

1) Think of the ONYOMI as just another radical! A sonic one, rather than a visual one.

A hundred kanji can have the same ONYOMI the same way a hundred kanji can have the same 糸 or 木 radical. OK so far? We use english keywords that LOOK like the radicals (i.e. = Abe Lincoln's Hat, and =bunnyears). In the same way, we use English keywords for ONYOMI that SOUND similar : BA = barber, KA = car!

2) A lot of ONYOMI come in both short- and long-vowel versions (such as SHO / SHOU, SHU/SHUU, and KYO/KYOU) .

To help deal with this confusion, I decided that English keywords of Long-vowel ONyomis (SHOU, SHUU, KYOU,etc.) use single words, like any regular ONYOMI: SHOW me the bunny, put SHOES on yo mama’s hooves, KYOU was a nice day.

English Keywords of short-vowel ONyomi, on the other hand, will always be abbreviations: SHO becomes Smell His Odor, SHU becomes See Her Underpants, KYO becomes Keep Your Odor, etc.

Since these abbreviations are clearly 3 words, that should cue you that the ONyomi only has 3 letters, and therefore is short-vowel.

3) Some ONyomi, like KYOU or ZOKU - I honestly couldn't think of any good English words that sound similar. So instead of using English keywords, I use a more common Japanese keyword.

For example, KYOU is the word for 'day' (今日), so every word with the ONYOMI of KYOU will use "Day" as the keyword.


an - ANN Coulter, naturally.

atsu - OUGHT TO



ba- BArber

baku - BACK to the future.

bai - BUY some pot for mom, she has glaucoma

ben - BENny hill

bi - you BE illing.

BO - BOzack.

BOU- BOWLing is fun even if you don't like the Big Lebowski

bu - BOO! Because it is scary.

bun- BUNny. Of course.

byou - B.O. (body odor)



chi - usually, "CHEEEse mmmm. "

chiku -- CHICKS. Groovy ones. With bellbottoms and ironed hair.

cho - CHOke

chou - comedian Margaret CHO.

chu - kiss (since the Japanese sound effect of a kiss is チュ!)

chuu- CHEW



da - your DAd

dai - DIE, die my darling!

Dan - speaking of die, die . . . .Glen DANzig

datsu - DATSUN! of course.

dei - DAY

den - DENtists do it in the chair.

Don- DON Quixote, naturally!

DO- DOn't

DOU - Homer Simpson says this.

doku - DON'T COok



ei -- the catchphrase of '70s icon Arthur Fonzarelli AKA the Fonz: EYYY!

en - ENjoy



FU - FUcked up

fuu - PHOOey!

fuku - clothes. Since the Japanese word for clothes ( 服 ) is pronounced FUKU.



ga - GOT

gaku - GOT COOL

gai - he's an allright GUY - for a holocaust-denier.

gan - GHANDI!!!!!

ge - GET UP (get on up)


gei - GAY

gen - say that aGAIN and so help me God. . .

gi - GEEse

GO - five (the Japanese word for five is pronounced go!)

GOU - GOOOUU to the store and get Mommy some pills.

gon - she's GONE to the liquor store.

Gotsu- you’ve GOT TO stop eating marbles

gun - GUN, duh. Gat. Piece. Roscoe. Toolie.

gu - GEE, You look tired. Maybe you should stop for now.

guu - pile of green GOO.

gyou- GET YO ass out of here.





hai -- yes! HAI!

haku - HACK apart

han - HAN Solo!!!

hatsu - HATS are wonderful

hei - HATE

hin - i guess "HIM" is the closest word.

hitsu -- HITS of acid.

ho - Hairy Obese (abbreviation)

hou - WHORE.

hyou - HE'S YOUR best friend.



I - "I" think that you have a disease which you are ashamed of.

iki - ewww, that's ICKY



ji - JESUS christ, Kanji is hard.

jin - GIN and tonic

jo - Jack Off

jou- JOE Stalin

ju - Juicy Underwear

juu - Jews invented monotheism! And psychology, communism, and sarcasm too!

jitsu - ju JITSU

juku - JUKE box



ka - CAR

kaku - COCKs!!!! Droopy ones!!!

katsu - CATS!!!! Droopy ones!

kai - KITES are fun to fly. . . .after you have learned every single kanji.

kan - Ghengis KHAN

Ken - KENny, the kid who you killed.

ketsu - KETCHUP

ki - mnemonics are the KEY to remembering whatever - KEEP this in mind.

kin - your KINfolk. I don’t cotton to them.

ko - KODOMO ( 子供 )

kou - COLON. COcaine.

kon - CORN on the cob.

koku - COKE as in 'white lines, don't do it, baby!'

ku - KUchi, (’口’) meaning mouth

kuu -COOL

kun - raCOON

kyo - Keep Your Odor to yourself.

kyou - TODAY. the Japanese word for today ( 今日 ) , which is pronounced kyou,




mai - i hate MYself and i want to die

mei - You MAY be able to read German one day.

mo -MORE money more problems.

mou - MOmar kadaffy

moku - MO COOL (than the other mnemonics).

mon- MONK

mu - a COW

myou - MEET YOUR maker.


nai - NIIIIIce

nan - the wonderful bread from india

nen - YEAR - the Japanese word for year ( 年) which is pronounced NEN

ni - vince NEIL

nou - NOOOO way!

nyo - R&B sensation NEYO.

NYU = there IS no short-vowel "nyu" so don't worry about it.

nyuu - NEWW and improved mnemonics are what makes


ra - the sun god

rai - RAIghtning

raku- ROCK(with a thick Japanese accent, naturally)

rei - RAY smuckles, bitches! also, raygun!

ren - MC REN, bitches!! you can KIZZ his black AZZ.

retsu -LET'S, of course

ri - bruce LEE, of course!

rin - a RING, is what I was supposed to give my wife on our wedding day. (i gave her some waffles)

ritsu - RE-TOOL

ro - ROAD

row -things in a ROW

roku- ROCK and roll.

rui - RUIN

ryu - there IS NO short-vowel RYU.

ryuu - RE-USE

ryo - Regulate Your Odor

ryou - RE-ORDER

ryoku- RE-OCCUR. Sorry that is the best I could do.


sa- i SAW what you did with that bear.

sai - SIGH with despair

san- SANTA claus

saku -- you're all on my nutSAC

satsu − I SAW TWO of them.

sei - SAY that one more time and I will bank you

sen - SEND it straight to hell!

setsu - i SAID TO him , "setsu!" is what i said to him.

sha - I SHAll return.

shaku - a SHACK

shin - SHINing.

sho - Smell Her Odor

shou - SHOWme that you love me.

shoku - SHOCKing!!!

shu - See Her Underpants

shuu - SHOES

shuku - i SHOOK hands with your dad.

shutsu -- elmer fudd SHOOTS a wabbit.

SO - Some One


soku -- SOCKS are useful

SU- the Japanese word for nest ( 巣) which is pronounced su

SUU- Susan

sui - SWEET


tai - TIE up a guy and make him your gimp

ta- TATAs!!! Asouthern word for boobies!!

taku - TALK TO

tan − TAN, the color

tei - TAKE me to your leader

teki - the Japanese word for enemy ( 敵) which is pronounced TEKI

to - Take Off

TOU- big TOE

toku - inhale marijuana.

TSU- there IS NO short-vowel tsu.

TSUU- TO (i.e. go to the room)





wa - christopher WAlken


ya - YAAAAwn

yaku - a hairy smelly YAK

yo - YOYO

you - YODEL

YU- Your Underpants

YUU - YOU are reading some real science right now


zan -- ZOMbies

zai -- XYlophone

zen -- ZEN monks

zo - ZORRO

zou - the Japanese word for elephant ( 象) which is pronounced ZOU.

zoku - bandit (because the japanese word for bandit 賊 IS PRONOUNCED 'ZOKU')