In this post we are continuing with kanji that contain a bushu kusakanmuri “plant; grass”—the kanji 茂・芋・苗・葉世 and 莫慕幕募墓漠膜模.
- The kanji 茂 “to grow densely; thicket”
For the kanji 茂, in ten style, in red, the bottom 戊 originally came from “halberd,” but it was only used phonetically here to mean “to cover.” Together with “plants” at the top, they meant plants growing densely. The kanji 茂 meant “to grow thick; become dense.”
The kun-yomi 茂る /shige‘ru/ means “to grow thick,” and is in 木の茂み (“thicket” /shigemi/). The on-yomi /mo/ is in 繁茂 (“thick growth” /ha’nmo/).
- The kanji 芋 “potato”
In ten style of the kanji 芋 had 于at the bottom. We have looked at the shape 于in the kanji 宇in connection with a bushu ukanmuri in the earlier post (The Kanji 家宇宙宮官管館–うかんむり on June 13, 2015). 于 was described as “large bent shape.” In the writing 芋, a large round shape plant meant “potato.”
The kun-yomi /imo’/ means “potato,” and is in 里芋 (“taro root” /satoimo/), 長芋 (“Chinese yam” /nagaimo/). Other types of potatoes such as ジャガイモand サツマイモ (“sweet potato” /satsumaimo/.) are usually written in hiragana or katakana.
3 The kanji 苗 “seedling”
For the kanji 苗 in ten style it had “plants” at the top and “rice paddies” at the bottom. Together they meant “seedling.”
The kun-yomi /na’e/ means “seedling,” and is in 苗木 (“seedling; nursery tree” /naegi/). Another kun-yomi /nawa/ is in 苗代 (“bed for rice plant seedling” /nawashiro/). The on-yomi /myo’o/ is in 苗字 (“one’s family name” /myo’oji/).
- The next kanji 葉 “leaf”
For the kanji 葉 in oracle bone style, in brown, it was a tree with new growth or leaves at the tip of tree limbs. In bronze ware style the growing top was emphasized, keeping it separate from the tree. In ten style “plants; grass” were added at the top, and the middle was similar to the kanji 世, in which a tree was branching out. Together they meant “leaf.” A leaf is flat. So, it is also used for “something flat.” The word 言葉 /kotoba’/ comes from a Yamato-kotoba koto-no-ha “a leaf of the language.”
The kun-yomi /ha/ is in 木の葉 /ko’noha; ki’noha/), and is in 葉っぱ (“leaf” in casual style /happa/) and 葉書 (“postcard” /hagaki/). /-Ba/ is in 落ち葉 (“fallen leaf” /o’chiba/). The on-yomi /yoo/ is in 葉緑素 (“chlorophyll” /yooryo’kuso/). The expression 枝葉末節 /shi’yoo massetsu/ means ”trifling details.”
While we recognize the shape 世 in the kanji 葉, let us look at the kanji 世.
- The kanji 世 “generation; world”
In bronze ware style, the shape of three branches with bulges signified new growth or new generation. Generations of people live together in the world. The kanji 世means “generation; world.”
The kun-yomi /yo/ means “world,” and is in この世 (“this world; the present life” /konoyo/), あの世 (“the next world; the world of the dead” /anoyo’/), 世の中 (“life; the times; the world” /yono’naka/). The on-yomi /se/ is in 世界 (“world” /se’kai/), 世代 (“generation’ /se’dai/). /-See/ is in 一世紀 (“one century; first century” /isse’eki/), 三世 (“third generation” /sa’nsee/).
The next eight kanji contain the common component 莫. Six months ago when we were exploring kanji with 日“sun,” we discussed the component 莫 in the kanji 暮 “dusk; sundown.” [The kanji 暮晩免星晶早旬 – 日 (2) in the February 28, 2016 post] Because there are a number of kanji that contain 莫, we are going to revisit 莫 first.
- The kanji 莫 “nothing; vast; vague”
The ancient writing shown on the left for the kanji 莫 were the same as the kanji 暮 shown on the right in a box. In all of the ancient writings, (a) and (b) in oracle bone style, (b) in bronze ware style and (c) in ten style, the sun, in the center, was about to go down behind tall grass. It originally meant “dusk; sundown.” Then as the writing came to be used to mean “nothing,” they needed a new writing that expressed “dusk; sundown.” So by adding another “sun” the kanji 暮 was created. The kanji 莫 meant “nothing,” and when used as a component, 莫 was used phonetically for /bo; mo; baku; maku/ to mean “invisible; vague.”
The kanji 莫 is not a Joyo kanji. The only frequently used word that contains 莫 in Japanese is 莫大な (“huge; immense; enormous” /bakudai-na/) as in 莫大な負債 (“immense amount of debt” /bakudai-na husai/). There is no kun-yomi.
- The kanji 慕 “to yearn for; adore”
For the kanji 慕 a couple of bronze ware style writings, (a) and (b), are shown here. It had a “heart” below “the sun disappearing behind tall grasses,” signifying “not visible.” What was in one’s mind could not be seen either. Together they originally signified “seeking for something in an unclear vast area,” thus “to consult; seek ideas.” Later the meaning changed to mean “to yearn for; adore.” In kanji, (d), the chambers of the heart took the shape of four short strokes, with the second one longer. This shape is called a bushu shitagokoro. (The bushu shitagokoro is in limited use, and another Joyo kanji that contains a bushu shitagokoro is the kanji 添 “to play along; accompany.”)
The kun-yomi 慕う /shita’u/ means “to yearn for; make an idol of someone.” The on-yomi /bo/ is in 慕情 (affection; longing” /bojoo/), 恋慕 (“tender emotion; love” /re’nbo/), both of which are not particularly for everyday use.
- The kanji 幕 “drapery; curtain”
For the kanji 幕, in ten style the bottom was “drapery; cloth.” The top was used phonetically as well as to mean “to hide; cover.” Together it meant a military tent. A military headquarters in a battlefield had drapery around it, and the word 幕府 /ba’kuhu/ “shogunate government; bakufu government” comes from it.
There is no kun-yomi. The on-yomi /maku’/ is in 幕 (“hanging screen (on a stage); act (in a play)” /maku’/’) and is in 幕開け (“beginning” /makuake/). 幕の内弁当 /maku-no-uchi- be’ntoo/ is a box lunch packed with many different small pieces of food. It originated from a lunch box that people ate between acts of a play. Another on-yomi /ba’ku/ is in 幕末 (“final years of the Tokugawa bakufu” /bakumatsu/) and 幕僚 (“military staff” /bakuryoo/).
- The kanji 募 “to recruit; raising fund”
For the kanji 募, in ten style, the bottom was “plough” signifying “man power.” The top was used phonetically to signify “unspecified wide area.” Together they meant “to search widely; to recruit people; to raise money.”
The kun-yomi /tsuno’ru/ means “to raise money; recruit personnel.” The on-yomi /bo/ is in 募集 (“recruit; taking an application” /boshuu/), 応募する (“to apply (for a job” /oobo-suru/) 公募する (“to invite contribution or application from the public” /kobo-suru/) and 募金 (“fund-raising” /bokin/).
- The kanji 墓 “tomb;grave”
For the kanji 墓, in ten style the bottom was土 “soil; ground.” Burying the deceased underneath the ground made them invisible or hidden. From that it meant a “tomb.”
The kun-yomi /haka’/ means “tomb; grave,” and is in 墓参り (“paying a visit to a tomb” /hakama’iri/). The on-yomi /bo/ is in 墓地 (“cemetery” /bo’chi/) and 墓碑 (“tombstone” /bohi/).
In the above four kanji (慕幕募墓) the accompanying component was placed under 莫. In the next three kanji (漠膜模), the accompanying component was placed on the left side.
- The kanji 漠 “vast; vague; desert”
For the kanji 漠 in ten style the left side was a bushu sanzui “water.” Drifting sand moves like running water. Together with 莫 “vast,” they meant “vast area of drifting sand; desert.” Another view is that the meaning 莫 “nothing” and “water” together meant “a place that had no water,” which was “desert.”
There is no kun-yomi. The on-yomi /ba’ku/ is in 砂漠 (“desert” /sabaku/) and 漠然と (“vaguely; obscurely; hazy” /bakuzen-to/).
12 The kanji 膜 “membrane”
For the kun-yomi 膜 the ten style had a bushu nikuzuki “flesh” on the left side. The right side 莫 had the meaning “to cover; drapery.” Together they meant “membrane.”
There is no kun-yomi. The on-yomi /maku/ is in 鼓膜 (“eardrum” /komaku/), 粘膜 (“membrane” /ne’nmaku/) and 網膜 (“retina” /mo’omaku/).
- The kanji 模 “model; prescribed form; to copy”
For the kanji 模, the ten style had a tree on the left side. The right side was used phonetically for /mo/. A mold was made with pieces of wood. From that it meant “model; to model.” The kanji “model; prescribed form; to copy.”
There is no kun-yomi. The on-yomi /mo/ is in 模型 (“model; dummy” /mokee/), 模様 (“pattern; design” /moyoo/), 模造品 (“imitation” /mozoohin/) and 規模 (“scale; magnitude” /ki’bo/).
Other kanji that contain a bushu kusakanmuri that we have discussed earlier include: 藏・葬・英・花・華・蒸・薫. A search function on the Previous Post page can help you to find the post. [August 20, 2016]