On this post we are going to explore two shapes 勹 “a hook shape; (a body) bending down” in the kanji 均句拘旬匂勾, and 曷 used phonetically for /katsu/ in the kanji 掲葛喝渇褐謁.
The kanji 均 “even; average”
For the kanji 均 the bronze ware style writing, in green, had “a long arm with a hand at the top wrapping around two short lines of even length.” Inside was 土 “soil.” They signified that a person was trying “to make the ground even with his hand.” In the seal style writing, in red, the soil was moved out to the left. From “leveling the ground,” the kanji 均means “even; average.” [The composition of the kanji 均: 土へん, 勹 and 冫]
The kun-yomi 均しい /hitoshi’i/ means “equivalent of; identical; exactly alike.” The on-yomi /kin/ is in 均一 “uniformity; equality” /kin-itsu/, 均等に “equally; evenly” /kintoo-ni/, 平均 “average” /heekin/, 不均衡 “imbalance; disproportion” /huki’nkoo/ and 百均ショップ “100-yen shop” /hyakkin-sho’ppu/.
The kanji 句 “phrase”
For the kanji 句 in (a) in oracle bone style, in brown, inside two hooks there was 口 “mouth.” They meant “speech that was enclosed.” In (b), (c) and (d) “speaking; words” was taken out of the two interlocking hooks. The kanji 句means “phrase.” [The composition of the kanji 句: 勹 and 口]
There is no kun-yomi. The on-yomi /ku/ is in 禁句 “forbidden word; tabooed phrase” /kinku/, 慣用句 “idiom; common phrase” /kan-yo’oku/, 句読点 “punctuation mark” /kuto’oten/, 句切る “to punctuate; mark off with a comma; cut off” /kugi’ru/, 節句 “seasonal festival” /sekku/ and 一字一句 “every word and every phrase” /ichiji-i’kku/.
The kanji 拘 “to seize; is particular about; adhere to”
The seal style writing of the kanji 拘 comprised “an act that one does using a hand” and 句 “something bent; crooked” used phonetically for /koo/. They signified “to seize (by hand); bind.” It also means the way in which one is particular about a certain thing. The kanji 拘 means “to seize; is particular about; adhere to.” [The composition of the kanji 拘:扌, 勹 and 口]
The kun-yomi 拘る /kodawa’ru/ means “to be obsessive; have a fixation; be a perfectionist” /kodawa’ru/, 拘束する”to restrict; shacke” /koosoku-suru/, 拘泥する “to worry too much about; be overpaticular about” /koodee-suru/, 拘置所 “prison; detention house” /koochisho/ and 拘留 “detention pending trial; custody” /kooryuu/.
The kanji 旬 “ten days; in the season”
For the kanji 旬 the oracle bone style writing was a coiling shape with a short line crossing at the end, perhaps signifying “a cycle with its end marked.” The bronze ware style writing had “the sun” added inside a semi-circle that was similar to 勻. During the Yin (Shang) dynasty the calendar used then had a cycle of ten days. A rounded shape suggested “a cycle of ten days.” In seal style the two short lines inside 勻 dropped. The kanji 旬 means “ten days,” which is one third of a month. In Japan it is also used to mean produce and fish that is “in the season”- the best time to eat. [The composition of the kanji 旬: 勹 and 日]
There is no kun-yomi. The on-yomi 旬 /shun/ means “in the season.” /-Jun/ is in 上旬 “the first ten days of a moth” /joojun/, 中旬 “the second ten days of a month” /chuujun/ and 下旬 “the last ten days of a month” /gejun/.
The kanji 匂 “fragrant; scent; aroma; beautiful; to hint”
The kanji 匂 was created in Japan and there is no ancient writing. 匂う meant “to shine beautifully,” as in the classical phrase (花が) 朝日に匂う”flowers shining beautifully in the morning sun,” but it is no longer seen in ordinary writing. The kanji 匂 means “fragrant; scent; aroma; beautiful; to hint.” (The kanji 匂う /nio’u/ is generally, but not always, used for a pleasant smell while 臭い /kusa’i/ is for an unpleasant smell.) [The composition of the kanji 匂: 勹 and ヒ]
The kun-yomi 匂う /nio’u/ means “to smell,” and in 匂わせる “to suggest; hint; insinuate” /niowase’ru/ and 匂い “smell; fragrance” /nio’i/. There is no on-yomi.
The kanji 勾 “hook; to enclose”
The bronze ware style writing looked incomprehensively complex. I cannot make out what this writing originally signified and there is no account in reference. The kanji 勾comprises 勹 “a hooked shape” or “a body bending down” and ム used phonetically for /koo/ to mean “to bend.” The kanji 勾 means “hook; to catch; hitch.” [The composition of the kanji 勾: 勹 and ム]
There is no kun-yomi. The on-yomi /koo/ is in 勾配 “slope; incline; pitch; gradient” /koobai/, 勾引 “bench warrant” /kooin/ and 勾留 “detention; custody” /kooryuu/. (勾 is a newly added Joyo kanji, and some words overlap with the kanji 拘.)
The next shape, 曷, was seen in the kanji 葛 and in the kyuji of the kanji 掲喝渇褐謁. The origin of 曷 remains mystery, but here is what has been said in reference. 曷: The top was something coming out of a mouth, 曰 /etsu/, which meant “to say.” The bottom had a “person” (人) and a frame inside an semi enclosure 勹. The interpretations of this shape vary – (1) With “a box of prayers” on the top and “bones of a dead person” on the bottom together meant “praying so that the dead would grant a prayer’s wish” and 曷 was a voice of prayer (Shirakawa); (2) 曷 was “showing contempt and confining someone by a hand (勹)” (Kanjigen); and (3) it was used phonetically to meant “sound of scolding voice.”
Two things about the shape 曷: It was used phonetically in all kanji; 人 with “a screen” (?) in seal style remained in kyuji, but changed to ヒ, another shape to mean “person” in shinji in all kanji except 葛.
The kanji 掲 “to display; hoist”
For the kanji 掲 the seal style writing comprised 扌 “an act that one does using a hand” and 曷 used phonetically for /kee/ to mean “to hoist.” Together a hand hoising something up means “to display; put up.” The kanji 掲 means “to display; hoist.” [The composition of the kanji 掲: 扌, 日and 匂]
The kun-yomi 掲げる /kakageru/ means “to put up; hoist; herald,” as in 主義主張を掲げる “to advocate principles and opinions” /shu’gishuchoo-o kakageru/. The on-yomi /kee/ is in 掲示する “to post; put up a notice” /keejiban/, 掲載 “to print; put in; run an article” /keesai-suru/ and 電光掲示板 “electric bulletin board” /denkoo-keejiban/.
The kanji 葛 “kuzuvine; kuzuroot starch”
The seal style writing of the kanji 葛 comprised 艸 “plants” and 曷used phonetically for /katsu/. Together they meant “kuzuvine.” The fibers in the vine were used for weaving. Its root provides good starch for cooking. The kanji 葛 means “kuzu vine; kuzu root starch.” The kanji 葛 is the only Joyo kanji that retained the kyuji shape 曷, even though the kanji with 匂 at the bottom is seen as a popular informal shape. [The composition of the kanji 葛: 艹 and 曷]
The kun-yomi 葛 /ku’zu/ means “kuzu root starch,” and is in 葛粉 “kuzu starch” /kuzuko’/, 葛切り “slices of kuzu jelly with syrup (as sweets)” /kuzukiri/ and 葛桜 “cherry-leaf-covered kuzu filled with sweet azuki bean” /kuzuza’kura/. The on-yomi /katsu/ is in 葛藤 “an entanglement; embroilment” /kattoo/. (Both 葛 and 藤 “Japanese wisteria” /huji/ are vines.)
The kanji 喝 “to shout; scold”
For the kani 喝 the seal style writing comprised 口 “mouth; to speak” and 曷 used phonetically for /katsu/ to mean “to scold in a loud voice.” The kanji 喝 meant “to shout; scold.” [The composition of the kanji 喝: 口, 日 and 匂]
There is no kun-yomi. The on-yomi /katsu/ is in 喝采する “to applaud; cheer loudly” /kassai-suru/, 拍手喝采 “clapping and sheering; enthusiastic applause” /ha’kushu kassai/, 恐喝する “to blackmail; extort” /kyookatsu-suru/ and 喝を入れる “to give a pep talk” /ka’tsu-o iresu/.
The kanji 渇 “to thirst for; dry out”
For the kanji 渇 the bronze ware style writing had “running water” on the left, and the right side was used phonetically for /katsu/ to mean “lack of.” The seal style writing had “a mouth open” (曰) and “a person disappearing” (亡) in 勹, but what those components meant is not clear. The kanji 渇 means “to be thirst; dry out; thirsty.” [The composition of the kanji 渇:氵, 日 and 匂]
The kun-yomi 渇く/kawa’ku/ means “to crave; thirst for,” as in 喉が渇く”to become thirsty” /no’do-ga kawa’ku/. The on-yomi /katsu/ is in 渇する “to dry up; suffer from thirst” /kassuru/, 渇望 “craving for; longing for” /katsuboo/, 枯渇する “to dry up; be drained” /kokatsu-suru/ and 渇水時 “period of drought” /kassu’iji/.
The kanji 褐 “brown; humble clohtes”
For the kanji 褐 the seal style writing comprised 衣 “clothes” and 曷 used phonetically for /katsu/ to mean “kuzu vine.” Clothes or footware made by weaving vines signified “humble simple clothes.” It also meant “brown” from the color of humble clothes dyed in dull color from vines and other plants. The kanji 褐 means “brown; (humble clothes).” [The composition of the kanji 褐: 衤, 日 and 匂]
There is no kun-yomi. The on-yomi /katsu/ is in 褐色 “brown” /kasshoku/ and 茶褐色 “dark reddish brown” /chaka’sshoku/.
The kanji 謁 “to be received in loyal audience”
For the kanji 謁 the seal style writing comprised 言 “word; language; to say” and 曷 used phonetically for /etsu/. To say something to a ruler became the meaning “to be received in loyal audience.” [The composition of the kanji 謁: 言, 日 and 匂]
There is no kun-yomi. The on-yomi /etsu/ is in 謁見 “imperial audience” /ekken/, 拝謁する “to be received in audience by His (or Her) Majesty” /haietsu-suru/.
Thank you very much for your reading. – Noriko [June 10, 2018]