In this post we continue looking at the kanji that had a bushu ninnyoo: 先洗育充 and 統.
1. The kanji 先 “ahead; to precede; past”
The oracle bone style (in brown) of the kanji 先 had a footprint at the top and a person at the bottom. When you walk, your feet go before your body, thus “ahead; first” or “to proceed.” In bronze ware style (in green) we can recognize in the top a kanji 止 ”to halt a step; stop”: Its right top was a toe of a left foot. Then in ten style (in red) the footprint became a symmetrical shape 土, instead of 止. A footprint sometimes developed into a symmetrical shape 士, instead of 止, as in the kanji such as 志, 売 (Also notice that it is not 土 but 士). So, this is not surprising. However, in kanji an extra stroke (the first stroke in the stroke order) appeared. Many samples of writing after ten style suggest that it was a mere emphasis to signify “the tip of something.” If so, at one point of this kanji development, it added an element of an indicative formation type (指事) to a semantic composite type (会意), in this case, a combination of a footprint and a person, of the Rikusho 六書 formation types.
The kin-reading 先 /saki/ is in 先にやる (“to do it first” /sakini yaru/) 先程 (“while ago” [formal] /sakihodo/). Another kun-reading is 先ず (“first of all” /ma’zu/). The commonly used expressions ひとまず (“for the time being” /hito’mazu/) and まずまずの (“passable; tolerably” /ma’zumazu no/) are usually written in hiragana but came from 先ず先ず “lit. as a starter, it is passable.” The on-reading /se’n/ is in 先人 (“predecessor; pioneer” /senjin/), 先方 (“the other party” /senpoo/) and 先日 (“some days ago” /senjitu/).
2. The kanji 洗 “to wash”
The sample of the kanji 洗 in ten style here shows a slight remnant of the footprint, if you try to look for it in the enlargement of a photo in ten style on the right (Akai 2010: 542). The left side was a bushu sanzui “water.” From “to wash feet,” it meant “to wash.”
The kun-reading /arau/ “to wash” is in 手洗い (“washroom; bathroom” /tea’rai/). A female speaker would put the prefix /o/, pronouncing it as /otea’rai/. The on-reading is in 洗濯 (“laundry” /sentaku/) and 水洗便所 (“flush toilet” /suisenbe’njo/).
3. The kanji 育 “to raise; bring up; grow”
In oracle bone style (a. and b.) and bronze ware style (c. and d.) of the kanji 育, they all had a mother and a child. In c (and another one that is not shown here), between the two arms it had dots to indicate breasts, being a nursing mother. In b, c, and d, a child was upside down, which signified a baby being born. In ten style, a woman disappeared and a bushu nikuduki 月 “flesh” was placed under a child. Together they meant a newborn baby grew as he put on flesh gradually. I could not find the explanation for the three lines under the baby’s head in references, but I am wondering it if added the meaning of a newborn baby putting on hair gradually to emphasize his growth. A kanji took the ten style shape, “a newborn baby” and “flesh.”
The kun-reading is in 育つ (“to grow” /soda’tsu/) and 育てる (“to raise; rear” /sodate’ru/), an intransitive and transitive pair of verbs. Another kun-reading 育む (“to nurture; foster” /haguku’mu/) is also used in more formal expressions such as 子供の想像力を育む (”to foster imagination in children) and 新しい産業を育む (“to foster a new industry.) The on-reading is in 教育 (“education” /kyooiku/), 育児 (“child-rearing” /i’kuji/) and 体育 (“physical education” /ta’iiku./)
[P. S. The kanji 育 does not contain a bush ninnyoo. But in order to understand the next two kanji 充 and 統, it would be useful to include. This kanji has also prompted a couple of interesting comments below. 10-3-14]
4. The kanji 充 “to fill; full”
The top of the ten style for 充 was identical with that of the kanji 育, which we have just seen. The bottom had a ninnyoo, “person” instead of “flesh.” Together they meant changes a newborn baby goes through to become an adult, to fill out of its body. It meant “to fill; full.“ There is another view by Shirakawa (2004), however, which takes the writing as a pictographic type 象形 of a large bellied person, thus “full.” In this view the bottom would be viewed as two legs.
The two kun-readings are 充ちる (“to become filled” /michi’ru/) and 充てる (“to appropriate; set aside” /ateru/). The on-reading is in 充分な (“plenty; ample” /juubu’n-na/) and 補充する (“to replenish” /hojuu-suru/).
5. The kanji 統 “to unify”
The kanji 統 has the kanji 充 on the right side, which was used phonetically and to mean “to fill.” In ten style, the left had a bushu itohen which came from silkworm cocoons with three (many) filaments being pulled out. A bushu itohen meant “thread; continuity.” Together the kanji 統 means “to unify.”
The kun-reading /sube’ru/ means “to unify”. The on-reading is in 統一する (”to unify” /tooitsu-suru/), 系統 (“line” /keetoo/), 統計 (“numerical statistics” /tookee/), 正統な (“legitimate; orthodox” /seetoo-na/) and 大統領 (“the president of a country” /daito’oryoo/).
In the next post, we will continue with a bush ninny00 (儿), including the kanji 説税脱.