In this post we are going to look at kanji 由油宙笛袖抽軸, which originated from an overripe gourd (由), with its flesh inside or without. As a component it meant “oil; empty; hollow.” 由 is not a bushu in the traditional kanji dictionary.
The kanji 由 “to originate from; cause; reason”
Kanji scholars seem to agree that the precursor of the kanji 由 was (c), shown on the left. (The old kanji (c) is not available on MS Word.) The kanji (c) /yu’u/, (a) in oracle bone style and (b) in bronze ware style had a gourd with a top. Inside an overripe gourd the fruit liquefied and dripped out, and the gourd became empty. It was used as a rice wine container. From “inside contents coming out” it meant “to originate from; cause; reason.”
The kun-yomi 由 /yo’shi/ is in ご旅行中の由 (“I hear you are away on a trip” /goryokoochuu-no-yo’shi/) in a polite letter. Another kun-yomi 由る /yo-ru/ means “to originate from; due to. The on-yomi /yu’u/ is in 理由 (“reason; ground” /riyuu), 自由 (“liberty; freedom” /jiyu’u/), 由来 (“derivation; origin” /yurai/), as inひらがなの由来 (“how hiragana came about” /hiraga’na-no yurai/), and 由緒正しい (“having a noble origin” /yu’isho tadashi’i/).
The kanji 油 “oil”
For the kanji 油 the ten style writing had a bushu sanzui “water; liquid” on the left. Liquefied flesh in an overripe gourd was oily. Together they meant “oil.”
The kun-yomi 油 /abura/ means “oil,” and is in 油が切れる (“to run out of oil” /abura-ga-kire’ru/) and 油絵 (“oil painting” /abura’e/). The on-yomi /yu/ is in 石油 (“petroleum” /sekiyu/), 灯油 (“kerosene” /tooyu/), 原油 (“crude oil” /genyu/), and 油田 (“oil field” /yuden/). It is also in 油断する (“to be off one’s guard” /yudan-suru/), in which 断 means “to cut off.”
The kanji 宙 “space; sky”
(The kanji 宙 was discussed once earlier in connection with a bushu ukanmuri “house.”) In oracle bone style, in the middle was an empty gourd after its ripe flesh drained out signifying “emptiness.” Over that was a big canopy that covers the land, which is the sky. A large empty space under the sky meant “space; sky.”
There is no kun-yomi. The on-yomi /chu’u/ is in 宇宙 (“space” /u’chuu/), 宙吊り (“hanging in the air” /chuuzuri/), 宙返り (“somersault” /chuuga’eri/), 宙に浮く (“to float in the air” /chu’u-ni uku/), 宇宙開発 (“space development” /uchuuka’ihatsu/) and宇宙人 (“space alien; spaceman” /uchu’ujin/).
The kanji 笛 “flute”
For the kanji 笛 the ten style writing had a takekanmuri “bamboo” above 由. Bamboo is hollow inside like an empty gourd. Holes in the bamboo made it a “flute.”
The kun-yomi /hue/ means “flute,” and is in the phrase 笛吹けど踊らず “No one would follow a lead” from no one dances to the tune of a flute played. /huehu’kedo odorazu/.) /–Bue/ is in 口笛 (“whistle” /kutibue/). The on-yomi /te’ki/ is in 警笛 (“alarm whistle; horn; siren” /keeteki/), 汽笛 (“steam whistle” /kiteki/) and 鼓笛隊 (“fife and drum band” /kotekitai/).
The kanji 袖 “sleeve”
For the kanji 袖 Setsumon gave (a) as the authentic style and (b) as a popular style. In (a) the collar was split into two, the top being the back of the neck and the bottom afront in which two sides meet. No account is given as to what the inside was about in references. In (b) the left side was a collar, which signified “clothes.” Together with 由 they meant the part of clothing from which an arm comes out, which is a “sleeve.” The left side of the ten style writing became the kanji 衣 /koromo/, and when 衣 was placed on the left side it became a bushu koromohen衤.
The kun-yomi /sode/ means “sleeve,” and is in 長袖 (“long sleeves” /nagasode/), 半袖 (“short-sleeve” /hansode/) and 七分袖 (“three-quarter sleeves” /shichibu’sode/). It is in the expression 無い袖は振れない (“I cannot give what I do not have,” usually about money /na’isode-wa hurenai/).
The kanji 抽 “to draw out; pull”
For the kanji 抽 three writings in ten style were given in Shirakawa (2004). (a) had a “hand” and 由, and it signified “a hand drawing out something.” In (b) the right side was 留 “reservoir,” such as a wine cask. In (c) the right side had a mature rice plant. A hand pulling contents out of a ripe gourd meant “to pull; draw out.”
There is no kun-yomi in Joyo kanji. The on-yomi /chu’u/ is in 抽出する (“to extract” /chuushutsu-suru/), 抽象的な (“abstract” /chuushooteki-na/) and 抽選 (“lottery; drawing” /chuusen/).
The kanji 軸 “axle; shaft; scroll”
For the kanji 軸 in ten style, the left side was a wheel. Something sticking out connecting wheels was an axle or shaft. The kanji 軸 meant “axle; shaft.” A hanging scroll is stored rolled up, which looks like a stick, and from that it also meant “scroll.”
There is no kun-yomi. The on-yomi /ji’ku/ is in 車軸 (“axle” /shajiku/), 回転軸 (“revolving shaft; rotation axis” /kaite’njiku/), 基軸 (”key” /kijiku/), 枢軸国 (“axis power” /suujikukoku/), and 掛け軸 (“hanging scroll” /kake’jiku/)
I expect that we need one more posting to finish off our exploration of kanji that came from plants before we move onto the topic of things and objects. Thank you for your interest. Noriko [October 2, 2016]