A Step Further
Let’s stick to the Kanji for “risk." Now that you have understood that it is actually made of up of two actual primitive elements---the top one representing a flaring sun while the bottom one represents an eye---let us develop a bit further our memorization technique.
The key to remembering a Kanji is to link its different primitive elements into a short, meaningful story. For example, the Kanji for risk is made up of a “sun" standing on top of an “eye." All there is to be done is to try to make up a story involving the “sun" and an “eye," which are related to the meaning “risk." For example: “It’s risky to look directly into the sun."
This method can be applied to every single Kanji there is; all you need is some imagination. Don’t worry about making up stories that are really far fetched; sometimes the weirdest stories make up the easiest ones to remember.
Keep in mind, however, that Kanjis and primitive elements are not mutually exclusive. In other words, some characters can be used both as primitive elements (taking the role of building blocks) as well as Kanji (having their own intrinsic meaning). For example, 目can be used on its own as a Kanji but it can also be used as a primitive element as in 冒険.
I have prepared a short exercise to get this point across. Each of the following drawings were made by a young talented artist named Jonas Genevaz to whom I would like to express my sincere gratitude. After looking at each drawing (you may click the picture to get a larger version), try to make up your own, personal story for each Kanji. Note that I have written this exercise in the following way:
Kanji: (primitive element #1)+(primitive element #2)=meaning of the Kanji.
払: Finger+elbow=to pay.
Having a hard time figuring out your own stories? I have prepared some flashcards to get you started. They are avaible for download at Japanese Kanji Flashcards, but I have also provided them here: