【Basic Kanji 13】門(mon)開(a, hira, kai)閉(shi,toji hei) useful words for in an elevator

Hi there ! I am Kotaro who has a Nepali husband, Araam. He learns Kanji for N5 or N4 (Japanese language level),  I have been trying to find out how to memorize them easily. 

This time I am going to share two words that Araam asked me to explain other day, about to Open and Close.I think it is useful words if you are staying in Japan.


We would find buttons 開 and 閉 without any English signs in elevators.If you press a wrong button, possibly you get in trouble with other passengers.


to open and close gate


Then why not getting started ! 



門(mon) gate, entrance, exit, 

First, I want to share one Kanji the two were created based on, 門.

It is supposed to easily remember since the form is exactly the same as saloon doors.


as it looks

This is not only one Kanji but many Kanjis has this in their forms. Two of them are 開 and 閉.


  • 門(mon) gate
  • 入門(nyumon) beginner ('s book) - begeinner are still at the start point which is equal to a gate of the world.

Stroke order is supposed to be difficult but repeat practicing to write makes us feel easier.


pls follow it from left to right

開(hira, a, ake,kai) open 


Anyway 開 changes its pronounciation according to "おくりがな" coming next.

  1. 開ける(akeru)open -a transitive verb
  2. 開く(aku)open -an intransitive verb
  3. 開く(hiraku) open -intransitive and transitive verb 

1 and 3(when it is transitive) can be changeable. About opening a door, we can say either, ドア開ける(akeru) or ドア開く(hiraku).

However when a door opens by its own, we express it saying ドア開く(aku).


This time I share how to pronounce when it is On-yomi. (I have not mentioned Onyomi and Kun-yomi yet. I want to share this next time)

  • 開会式(kaikaishiki)opening ceremony 

I haven't mentioned 会 and 式 yet but take this opportunity to learn. 会 means meeting in this case. 式 means ceremony and style.


Let's get back to 開....

We remember 開 has  Torii-gate(とりい) under a gate. Torii-gate indicates the entrance to a sacred zone in Shrines.


it is like JInja's torii


式(shiki)ceremony, style 

If 左 is in the mirror, it looks like 式.  Two things are different between 左 and 式 other than the direction. 式 has a dot on the right top and the end of the line going diagonally.

...and about umbrella handle

門 also has this that we call "hane" in Japanese. This must make Kanji more complicated but even we Japanese also get confused with this. Teachers scold us "why didn't you add "hane" here?" in school when we had Japanese classes.


We can remember this is like a umbrella handle


Kanjis has "Hane"

閉(shi, hei)close


  1. 閉める(shimeru)close - a transitive verb
  2. 閉まる(shimaru)close - an intransitive verb
  3. 閉じる(tojiru)close - an interanstive verb
  4. 閉会式(heikaishiki)closing ceremony

In this case we can remember 閉 that katakana オ is under a gate, 門.


Speaking of ceremony, we will have Olympic game here in Tokyo next year. The ceremony is supposed to be held in our neighborhood!


閉会式 in Chaina


Let's remember them by this conversation happened between Araam and me.


アラン、ドアを開けたら、閉めてよ(Araam, would you close the door after you have opened?)

ぼく、開けてないよ(I didn't open)

ドアは、かってに(by itself)開かないでしょ?かってに閉じないし(a door never opens by itself and never closes by itself)


このドア閉まらないよ。こわれてる。(This door doesn't close. It is broken.)


I know it is complicated and confusing. but don't give up with Kanji and practice it together!