The Kanji 申神電雷霊零需漏 – あめかんむり(2)

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This is the second post on kanji that contain 雨. We will look at the kanji 申神電雷 (with 伸紳) and 霊零需漏.

  1. The kanji 申 “to say; state”

History of Kanji 申In order to understand the kanji 電 and 雷, we need to look at the origin of the bottom component first, which also became the kanji 申 shown on the left. In the two oracle bone style writings, (a) and (b) in brown, and bronze ware style writing (d), in green, a zigzag line in the center had a hooked line on both ends. The two halves are a 180-degree turn of each other. It signified lightning in the sky. People took lightening as the god appearing, and it originally meant “god; god speaking.” The other bronze ware style writing, (c), had a prayer box 口 on each side. As the shape of lightning came to be used to clear other writings the meaning of “god” was dropped, as we will see in the next kanji. 申 meant “to say; state.” In ten style, (e) in red, the lines became straight. In kanji (f), it became 申. Having “god speaking” in its origin, the kanji 申 “to say” is used in official or formal use. In Japanese it is used as a humble form of “to say; state.” In traditional kanji disctionaries, 申 is listed in the 田 section header.

The kun-yomi /mo’osu/ means “to say (in humble-style),” as in 私、〜と申します (“My name is ~” /watakushi ~ to mooshima’su/) in introducing yourself. The on-yomi /shi’n/ is in 申告する (“to declare” in an official document /shinkoku-suru/) and 答申 (“response report” by a government council /tooshin/).

  1. The kanji 神 “god; divine”

History of Kanji 神rAs the writing 申 expanded its use in other kanji, a new kanji for the original meaning of “god“ was created by adding an altar table. The two bronze ware style samples, (a) and (b), show the change. A god appearing at an altar table meant “god; divine.” The kyujitai, (d) in blue, with an altar table 示 was changed to ネ a bushu shimesuhen “religious matter” in shinjitai.

The kun-yomi 神 /ka’mi/ means “god,” and is in 神業 (“divine work; superhuman feat” /kamiwaza/) and 神がかり (“divine possession; fanaticism” /kamiga’kari/). Customarily 神 is also used in words such as お神酒 (“sake offered to a god” /omiki/) and 神々しい (“divine; awe-inspiring” /koogooshi’i/). The on-yomi /shi’n/ is in 神道 (“Shintoizm” /shi’ntoo/), 神妙に (“obediently; humbly” /shinmyoo-ni/), 神妙になる (“to become serious” /shinmyoo-ni-na’ru/) and 精神 (“mind; the spirit; ethos” /se’eshin/).  /Ji’n/ is in 神社 (“Shinto shrine” /ji’nja/).

The kanji 伸 and 紳 — Among the Joyo kanji, a couple of more kanji, 伸 and 紳, contain 申. In both kanji 申 was used phonetically for /shi’n/ to mean “pulled to straighten.” In the kanji 伸, the right side signified zigzag shapes bstraightening, and it meant “to straighten; pulled to straighten.” The kanji 紳 consists of 糸 “threads; cloth” and 申 “to pull to straighten,” and they meant a belt or waistband. From formal attire with a big waistband that a gentleman wore it meant “gentleman.”

  1. The kanji 電 “electric; extremely fast”

History of Kanji 電The bronze ware style writing of 電 shown on the left consisted of 雨 “rain; atmospheric phenomenon” at the top, and “lightning” at the bottom. In ten style the center line at the bottom still retained a bent shape, which is reflected in kanji in the last stroke as a line that bends and goes up. The kanji 電 means “extremely fast” like lightning travels. It also means “electricity.”

The kanji 電 is usually introduced in an elementary level class of Japanese in the context of 電気 (“electricity” /de’nki/), 電話 (“telephone” /denwa/) and 電車 (“train” /densha/). One day a student in our class said to me, “Electricity didn’t exist until modern time. Is this a new kanji?” All the words that flashed through my mind were indeed modern things, except 電撃的 (“blitz like; extremely fast” /dengeki-teki/). I knew that 電 was not a modern creation but I was not sure if the word 電撃  was a modern word or not. This time I have found the following in Shirakawa: The word 電撃 was a military strategy term, and 電光石火 (“like a flash of lightning; quick as lightning” /denkoose’kka/) was a Buddhist term. So, my answer to his question should have been, “The kanji 電 originally meant extremely fast like lightning. That meaning also came to be used for “electricity; electric” in modern times.”

There is no kun-yomi. Other words in on-yomi /de’n/ include 発電 (“generation of electric power” /hatsuden/), 電力 (“electricity; power” /de’nryoku/) and 停電 (“power outage” /teeden/).

  1. The kanji 雷 “thunder”

History of Kanji 雷Lightning accompanies thunder. The history of the kanji for “thunder; lightening” is shown on the left. The two oracle bone style writings, (a) and (b), consisted of what was used for lightning in the oracle bone styles of 申, as discussed in 1, and two prayer boxes 口 inside the whirl on each side. Together they signified a god speaking forcibly by sending lightning and thunder, and it meant “thunder.” In the three bronze ware style writings here, (c), (d) and (e), showed different ways of forming many 田. Lightning bolts never appear the same. In those writing 田 represented sounds. Setsumon gave (f) and (g) as earlier writings. The ten style writing (h) had three 田. In kanji (i) the bottom became a single 田.

The kun-yomi 雷 /kamina’ri/ means “thunder; lightning,” and is in 雷親父 (“stern father who is quick to shout at his child; snaring old man” /kaminario’yaji/), The on-yomi /ra’i/ is in 雷光 (“streak of lightning” /raikoo/), 雷雨 (“thunderstorm; thundershower” /ra’iu/), 落雷 (“the falling of a thunderbolt” /rakurai/) and 雷電 (“thunder and lightening” /raiden/).

  1. The kanji 霊 “spirit”

History of Kanji 霊For the kanji 霊 the bronze ware style writing (a) consisted of “rain” and three prayer boxes. Together they signified a “rainmaking rite” or praying for spirits to come down. It meant “spirit; soul.” Of the two ten styles given in Setsumon, (c) had two shamans at the bottom who conducted a rainmaking rite. We can still see two 人 in kyujitai (d). In shinjitai (e) the bottom was simplified in the same manner as the top of the shinjitai 普, which originally had two standing peoples.

There is no kun-yomi in the Joyo kanji. The on-yomi /re’e/ is in 幽霊 (“ghost” /yu’uree/), 亡霊 (“departed spirit; ghost” /booree/) and 霊長類 (“primates” /reecho’orui/).

  1. The kanji 零 “to fall low; zero; naught”

History of Kanji 零The ten style of the kanji 零, (a), consisted of 雨 and 令. We have looked at the origin of 令 earlier as coming from a “person kneeling listening to an order of a ruler or a god’s words.” [The Kanji 令命印即節迎仰昂抑- Posture (6) ふしづくり on  April 18, 2015]  In 零, 令 was used phonetically for /re’e/. Together 零 meant “rain droplets.” Rain falling also gave the meaning of leaves falling or a person falling low having hard times. It was also used phonetically for /re’e/ to mean “zero; naught; nothing.”

There is no kun-yomi. The on-yomi /re’e/ is in 零 (“naught; nothing; zero” /re’e/), 零細企業 (“small business” /reesaiki’gyoo/), 零落する (“to fall hard times” /re’eraku-suru/) and 零時 (“twelve o’clock midnight” /re’eji/).

  1. The kanji 需 “to request; seek”

History of Kanji 需The ten style of the kanji 需 consisted of 雨 at the top and 而 at the bottom. The kanji 而 is not among the Joyo kanji but we have writings from the earlier time, so let us look at the bottom 而, shown on the right side first.

History of Kanji 而The kanji 而   We see this kanji in expressions that were taken from classical kanbun texts. Some writers also use this as 而も (“and yet; also” /shika’mo/). The on-yomi is /ji/. A couple of bronze ware writings on the right were a “person whose hair was flat, not having a chignon.” Shirakawa says that a person without a chignon in this kanji was a psychic/medium. Later on it was borrowed as a pronoun/indicative that meant “that,” then 而 became a connective to mean “even though; in addition to.”

For the kanji 需, 雨 and 而 together signified a psychic/medium in a rainmaking ritual (Shirakawa). From that it meant “to seek.” There are other explanations that drastically differ from this, but no ancient writings were provided with explanations.

There is no kun-yomi. The on-yomi /ju/ is in 需要 (“demand” /juyoo/) is used in a pair with 供給 (“supply” /kyookyuu/) in the phrase 需要と供給 (“supply and demand” /juyoo-to-kyookyuu/), 必需品 (“necessities” /hitsujuhin/) and 軍需産業 (“military industry” /gunjusa’ngyoo/).

  1. 漏 “to leak”

History of Kanji 漏In the ten style writing of the kanji 漏, the right side consisted of 尸 “house” and 雨 “rain,” together signifying “rain leaks.” The left side “water” added the meaning of “water.” From “rain water leaking from the roof,” it meant “to leak.”

The kun-yomi 漏れる (“to leak” /more’ru/) is in 雨漏り (“leak in roof” /ama’mori/). The on-yomi /ro’o/ is in 漏電 (“electric leakage; short circuit” /rooden/).

Note: The kanji 震 “to tremble; quiver” was discussed in an earlier post. [The Kanji Radical 辰 (1) To Shake on February 26, 2014]

This post has gotten a little too long.  The reason is because I tried to include all the Joyo kanji that contain 雨 beyond the 1,100 kanji, the first half to the Joyo kanji. I hope to be able to include the kanji that are not found in The Key to Kanji more often.  [April 2, 2016]

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