This is the second of the three posts on kanji that originated from “fire.” We are going to look at kanji that have a bushu rekka/renga (灬)–焦煎烈煮庶遮蒸然燃. In all of the samples we will see that a bushu rekka was indeed 火 in ten style. It is only in kanji that the shape of four short strokes signifying flames.
The kanji 烈 “fierce; boisterous”
The kanji 烈 consists of the kanji 列, which was phonetically used, and a bushu rekka/renga “fire.” The kanji 列 had a gruesome origin (shown on the right). The left side of the ten style writing, in red, had a beheaded head with the hair still attached, and the right side was a knife or sword. Together 列 originally meant “to display beheaded heads.” The gruesome meaning dropped, 列 means “row; a line; file.” The history of the kanji 烈 is shown on the left. The bronze ware style writing, in green, had phonetically the same /retsu/. In ten style a “fire” was added at the bottom of 列 to increase the intensity of the meaning. In kanji 火 became a bushu rekka/renga (灬). The kanji 烈 means “fierce; boisterous.”
There is no kun-yomi. The on-yomi /retsu/ is in 烈火 (“blazing fire; furious flames“ /re’kka/). The name of the bushu rekka is said to have come from this word. (The other name renga is from 連火 “fires in a row”). It is also in 強烈な (“intense; strong; severe” /kyooretsu-na/), 熱烈な (“ardent; passionate” /netsuretsu-na/) and 烈風 (“heavy wind; gale” /reppuu/).
The bushu kabane (歹) in 列 and 死: The bushu kabane in the kanji 列 and 死 came from two different sources. We have looked at the history of the kanji 死 “to die; death” earlier in the post [北背死化花真-Posture (4) on April 5, 2015.] As a quick reminder, the history is shown on the right. The origin of 死 was a person mourning over a deceased’s bones, and 歹 was bones of a deceased. I find this to be a moving, sad scene. On the other hand, 歹 in 列 came from a beheaded body with hair still attached, a very gruesome scene. Both became the same shape 歹. (In the traditional kanji dictionary the kanji 列 belongs to the bush rittoo “knife; sword” group.)
The kanji 焦 “to singe; scorch”
For the kanji 焦, the bronze ware style writing had a bird at the top and a fire at the bottom. From “roasting a bird over a fire,” it meant “to scorch; singe.” Of the two ten style writings shown on the left, the left one had three birds whereas the right one had a single bird. The bird in ten style becomes a bushu hurutori/furutori “bird.” The name hurutori came from the fact that the shape was used in the kyujitai 舊 for 旧い (“old” /huru’i/). The kanji 焦 means “to scorch; singe.”
The kun-yomi 焦げる /koge’ru/ means “to scorch; get burned,” and its transitive verb counterpart is 焦がす (“to burn; singe” ‘koga’su/). The verb 焦がれる (“to yearn for; be consumed with emotion” /kogareru/) is in 待ち焦がれる (“to look forward to; anticipate” /machikogare’ru/) and 思い焦がれる (to be ardently in love” /omoikogare’ru/). The on-yomi /sho’o/ is in 焦点 (“focus” /sho’oten/), 焦燥感 (“feeling of impatience; irritability” /shooso’okan/).
The kanji 煎 “to roast; parch”
For the kanji 煎, the ten style writing consisted of 前, which was used phonetically for /se’n/, and 火 “fire.” Together they meant “to roast; parch.”
The kun-yomi /i’ru/ means “to parch; roast.” The on-yomi /se’n/ is in 煎茶 (“green leaf tea” /se’ncha/), 湯煎する (“to warm the vessel containing something in hot water; double-boil” /yu’sen suru/) and in 煎じる (“to infuse; make an infusion of …”) and 煎餅 (“rice crackers” /senbe’e/).
The kanji 煮 “to cook; boil”
The kanji 煮 consists of the kanji 者, which was used phonetically for /sha/, and “fire.” The shape 者 makes up a number of kanji, including 緒諸署暑都著箸. The history of 者 shown on the right is taken from the earlier post [The Kanji 邑都者郡君群部郵郷–おおざと on November 8, 2015.] In the two bronze ware style writings the top was wooden sticks being burned, with the dots indicating the sparks of a fire, and the bottom was a stove. In most kanji this was used phonetically for /sha/. For the kanji 煮, shown on the left, the bronze ware writing had 者 and 烹. Together they meant “to cook” over a fire. In ten style a fire was added at the bottom. In kyujitai all kanji with 者, in blue, had an extra stroke in the middle.
The kun-yomi 煮る /niru/ means “to cook (over heat),” and is in 煮物 (“stewed/simmered food” /nimono/) and 生煮えの (“half-cooked; underdone” /namanie-no/). The on-yomi /sha/ is in 煮沸消毒 (“sterilization by boiling” /shahutsusho’odoku/).
The kanji 庶 “many; common”
For the kanji 庶, the bronze ware style writing had a house on the top left and the bottom right was a pot over a fire. Together they originally meant “to cook food.” (Shirakawa took 庶 to be the original kanji for 煮 “to boil; cook.”) Another interpretation, which originated in Setsumon, is that it was a fire lighting up inside a house where people were present, and from that it meant “many; various.”
There is no kun-yomi. The on-yomi /sho/ is in 庶民 (“ordinary people; man on the street” /sho’min/) and 庶務課 (“general affairs section” /shomuka/).
The kanji 遮 “to cut off; block”
By adding a bushu shinnyoo “to go forward” to 庶, we get the kanji 遮. 庶 was used phonetically to mean “to block.” Together they meant “to shut off a way to go.” The kanji 遮 means “to cut off; block.”
The kun-yomi 遮る /saegi’ru/ meant “to cut off; interrupt.” The on-yomi /sha/ is in 遮断する “to cut off; block” and is in 遮断機 “(circuit) breaker; crossing gate (at a railroad crossing)” /shada’nki/) and 遮光カーテン (“shading curtain; blackout curtain” /shakooka’aten/).
The kanji 蒸 “steam”
The kanji 蒸 consists of the bushu kusakanmuri “plant; grass” and 烝. In the ten style writing, below the plants, 烝 had “two hands” on the both sides of “stems of hemp plants with barks stripped off” in the center, and a “fire” at the bottom. These stems were used for a bonfire in a ritual. The fire raises the air high. Steam rises. The bushu kusakanmuri was added for an emphasis on plants. The kanji 蒸 was used to mean “to steam.”
The kun-yomi 蒸す /mu’su/ means “to steam; warm (food) in steam,” and is in 蒸し暑い (“hot and humid; hot and sultry; muggy” /mushiatsu’i/, a word that is essential to describe many days in summer in Tokyo. The on-yomi /jo’o/ is in 蒸気 (“steam” /jo’oki/), 水蒸気 (“vapor; steam” /suijo’oki/), 蒸発 (“evaporation; mysterious disappearance of (person)” /joohatsu/).
The kanji 然 “natural; yes”
For the kanji 然 there seem to be two different interpretations of the origins. One interpretation, by Shirakawa, is more useful to us –Bronze ware style writing (b) had a piece of meat over a fire on the left side, and a sacrificial dog or animal on the right. Together they originally signified burning meat of a sacrificial dog or animal, or “to burn.” Then the writing 然 was borrowed to mean “natural” or “yes.” Ten style writing (c) kept the dog/animal meat, but the fire was dropped. In kanji (e) the fire was put back at the bottom as a bushu renga/renga.
Another interpretation, in Kanjigen, explains bronze ware style writing (a) and ten style writing (d). (Shirakawa does not take (a) and (d) as the precursors to 然.) The left side of (a) had “an animal over a fire,” signifying “to dry and harden,” and the right side had “a bird over a fire.” Together they originally meant “to burn.”
Kanjigen also says that 然 was closely related to 難 (its history shown on the right) and 熱 (phonetically). The Kanjigen’s leading scholar, Akiyasu Todo, was interested in explaining kanji origin from the point of phonetic developments. The primary interest in our exploration lies in shapes.
The kun-yomi 然り /shika’ri/ is found in a literary style, as in 然りとする (“to consider it correct/true” /shika’ri-to-suru”). The kanji 然 having the meaning “natural manner; what it is like,” it makes up a number of words that describe manner. The on-yomi /ze’n/ is in 自然 (“nature; natural” /shizen/), 自然に (“unassumingly; naturally” /shizen-ni/), 当然 (“naturally; justly; from the very nature of things” /toozen/), 必然的に (“inevitably” /hitsuzenteki-ni/), Xも同然だ (“as good as X; virtually same as X” /X-mo doozen-da/), 平然として (“with composure; unruffled” /heezen-to/), 偶然に (“by chance; coincidentally” /guuzen-ni/) and 突然に (“abruptly” /totsuzen-ni/).
The kanji 燃 “to burn”
There is no ancient writing for this kanji. In kanji, the left side had a bushu hihen 火 “fire,” and the right was the kanji 然. Because the kanji 然, which had originally meant “to burn,” was taken away to mean “natural; nature,” a new kanji to mean to burn was created by adding a fire on the left. The kanji 燃 means “to burn.”
The kun-yomi /moya/ is in 燃やす (“to burn” /moyasu/), a transitive verb, and 燃える (“to burn” /moeru/ ), an intransitive verb. The on-yomi /ne’n/ is in 燃焼する (“to burn” /nenshoo-suru), 燃料 (“fuel” /nenryo’o/), 再燃する (“reignited; revive” /sainen-suru/), 可燃物 (“flammable” /kanensee/), 不燃ゴミ (“non-burnable trash” /hune’ngomi/).
We will have one more post on kanji that contain “fire” next week. [May 28, 2016 Japan time]