A Writer with an Insatiable Passion for Kanji!

Eve Kushner, Freelance Writer

Eve Kushner is a writer in Berkeley, California. She has published two books, as well as hundreds of articles in dozens of markets. To learn about her background, see About Eve. To email Eve, go to Joy o' Kanji and use the contact form. You don't have to register on the site first.

Current Focus: Joy o' Kanji

Eve has written about kanji since 2005, first in creating Crazy for Kanji, then in writing the blog Kanji Curiosity for JapanesePod101.com from 2007 through 2010. All the while, she wrote other articles.

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Now Eve is focusing on kanji as part of her lifelong project Joy o' Kanji. With this undertaking she is writing an essay about each of the 2,136 Joyo kanji, the characters needed for daily use in Japan. These extremely affordable essays, which are downloadable in PDF format, give readers a full understanding of each character as nothing ever has. Moreover, they feature photos of kanji that bring the characters to life. The site also features "JOKIA" photo albums of kanji in real-life contexts, as well as plenty of free material, including mnemonics, and short essays about each radical, all lending order to the often chaotic world of kanji.

From Joy o' Kanji Eve is also selling signed copies of Crazy for Kanji along with eight types of Joy o' Kanji T-shirts!

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What's New

December 2021

December 3: The 426th essay has posted! Essay 999 on 握 (to hold, grasp; seize) is titled "A Gripping Story."

November 30: The November newsletter "What Is Golden Here" presents all the latest content: 3 essays, 2 Radical Notes, mnemonics, a quiz, a new contest, answers to the previous one, and an introduction to Jim Breen's latest piece, 'Kanji and the Computer.'"

November 24: Radical Note 21 on 匕, the "katakana hi" radical, has posted.

November 19: The 425th essay has posted! Essay 1921 on 鈴 (bell) is titled "Jingle Bells."

November 16: Radical Note 11 on 入, the "enter" radical," has posted. So has Jim Breen's new piece "Kanji and the Computer."

November 12: The 424th essay has posted! Essay 1904 on 慮 (consideration) is titled "The Thoughtful Tiger."

November 5: The 423rd essay has posted! Essay 1125 on 軌 (track; path; rut) is titled "On the Right Track."

Talking About Kanji on Major Media

As seen on the NBC show "Asian Pacific America" with Robert Handa

On April 30, 2017, Eve appeared on the NBC talk show Asian Pacific America, speaking with host Robert Handa about her passion for kanji!

Eve Kushner as Seen on TokyoTV

In November 2016, a crew from the Japanese reality show「ニッポンへ行きたい!」 (I Want to Go to Japan!) came to Eve’s house in California and filmed her as part of a competition. All contestants had to make a strong case about why they needed a free trip to Japan to pursue a particular obsession. Those who didn't win would at least be part of a YouTube video. Eve's segment heads off the video (from 0:00 to 2:54) and is all in Japanese. See Eve’s blog post about it for a translation.

Eve has been on the radio program "The World in Words" multiple times

On multiple occasions, Eve has been a guest on the radio program The World in Words, speaking about kanji, author Haruki Murakami, and the town of Obama, Japan!

Eve's Books

Eve's 2009 book, Crazy for Kanji: A Student's Guide to the Wonderful World of Japanese Characters, is available for purchase on Amazon. You'll find lots of information about the book here.

Experiencing Abortion by Eve Kushner
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Her first book, Experiencing Abortion: A Weaving of Women's Words, came out in 1997 from Harrington Park Press (which Taylor and Francis has since acquired) and is also available on Amazon. Ten years later, Experiencing Abortion received a mention in Newsweek! And three years after that, in 2010, Eve appeared on the Canadian talk show Saturday Night at the Movies on TVO, speaking at length about abortion issues, particularly as they pertain to the films Cider House Rules and Citizen Ruth.

Eve's Articles

Eve has written many types of articles, including profiles, features, book reviews, personal essays, and how-to articles. She has most enjoyed writing about the following interests:

  • People with fascinating passions and visions
  • Innovative and environmentally sensitive architecture
  • Reproductive issues
  • Movies
  • Writing technique
  • Personal experiences
  • Food

Sample Articles on This Site

  • "The Way of Kanji"
    The East Bay Monthly published Eve's essay on kanji as her path to serenity. You can download this essay as a PDF.
  • "Pun Potential"
    My two-part guest blog is one in a series of blogs about Japanese literature in translation for the Global Literature in Libraries Initiative. The stars of the field also contributed pieces!
  • "With 'Eureka Day,' Playwright Jonathan Spector Holds a Mirror Up to Berkeley"
    Berkeleyside published this article that I wrote after loving the play and interviewing Spector.
  • "Egrets Only: The Photography of Gerry Traucht"
    Berkeleyside published this profile of photographer Gerry Traucht and his obsession with egrets.
  • "Josh Kornbluth and the Art of Self-Deprecation"
    Berkeleyside published this profile of comic monologuist Josh Kornbluth, focusing on his 2017 movie Love and Taxes.
  • "New York Artist Eric Drooker: A Small Giant in Our Midst"
    Berkeleyside published this profile of artist Eric Drooker, who regularly contributes cover art to the New Yorker and who won the American Book Award for one of his graphic novels. He used to pal around with Allen Ginsberg, too!
  • "The Greater Goods: East Bay Companies Live by the Triple Bottom Line: Profits, the Planet and People"
    This feature story about an inspiring new sector of the economy ran in the East Bay Monthly. Don't miss the five profiles posted on their own pages. (See the red links on the right-hand side of the main page.) The business world was uncharted territory for Eve, but the article fit with her longtime interest in profiling people with passions, visions, and missions. Susan H. Mac Cormac's InSight magazine article "The Emergence of New Corporate Forms" references "The Greater Goods."
  • "Building Blocks: Coordinating Contractors and Other Disasters"
    This two-parter ran on the cover of the San Francisco Chronicle's "Home & Garden" section in November 2003. Don't miss Part Two, which is posted on its own page.
  • "Life Ahead of the Curve"
    A profile of visionary architect Dan Liebermann, whose houses abound with curves and salvaged materials. This ran on the cover of the San Francisco Chronicle's "Home & Garden" section in July 2003. Don't miss the accompanying sidebar about a colony Liebermann has built.
  • "Artist Loves Chanciness"
    A profile of papermaker Linda Lemon, who lets randomness control her artistic process. This ran inside the San Francisco Chronicle's regional section in May 2002.
  • "Go Forth and Multiply: Abortion in Hollywood Movies of the '90s"
    This article originally appeared in Bitch: Feminist Response to Pop Culture and was reprinted in the online magazine Bright Lights Film Journal. That's where the article link will take you. The article has also been reprinted in ProQuest Information and Learning, an educational database. In spring 2006, the article was recommended as side reading in a Rutgers University course, "Current Moral and Social Issues." In summer 2007, the article was quoted extensively in a piece by the Alliance of Women Film Journalists. After a Newsweek editor saw the article, she interviewed Eve and quoted her in a December 2007 article about the movie Juno. Finally, the article played a prominent role in a January 2010 article on Gender Across Borders.
  • "Beagleman"
    This has to do with Eve's dog, her husband, and a man they met every night for years. The piece appeared in the East Bay Monthly.