The Kanji 識職織矛務霧 – 戈 “halberd” (5)

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In this last post on the kanji that contain 戈 “halberd” we are going to look at the kanji 識職織・矛務霧.

  1. The kanji 識 “to recognize; knowledge; mark”

For the kanji 識 Setsumon Kaiji explained that it meant “constant” and “to know.” Shirakawa added that something that was always visible was a “flag” or “mark; sign.” Kanjigen and the Kadokawa dictionary explained that the right side was 弋, a stake as a sign, and that 音 was used phonetically (View A), while Shirakawa explained that it was a halberd (戈) with a hanging amulet to ward off evil, which was something that people should pay attention to – together giving the meaning “to discern; to know; knowledge” (View B). Because the earliest ancient writing for 弋 we have was in seal style, I find it hard to decide which of the two – the 弋 “stake in the ground” with a phonetic feature 音, or 戈 a halberd with a hanging amulet – was the likely origin. The kanji 識 meant “to discern; recognize; knowledge; mark.”

There is no kun-yomi. The on-yomi /shi’ki/ is in 知識 (“knowledge” /chi’shiki/), 標識 (“sign; mark” /hyooshiki/), 常識 (“common sense” /jooshiki/), 意識 (“consciousness; one’s sense” /I’shiki/), 識別する (“to discern; discriminate” /shikibetsu-suru/) and 識字率 (“literary rate” /shikijiritu/).

言 and 音−The seal style writing (c) contained言 and 音. We have discussed in an earlier post how closely言 and 音 were related. [Kanji Component音—おと 暗闇意億憶臆 on November 9, 2014] Even though the two kanji 言 and 音 look different only one point is different in their origins – 音 had something in his mouth. I always find this interesting.

  1. The kanji 職 “job; position; occupation”

history-of-kanji-%e8%81%b7For the kanji 職 in bronze ware style, in green, it had the same shape as the kanji 識 at the top. Below that was 首 “head.” In seal style an ear “耳” was added on the left side. View A explains 職 as “to discern by listening” and it signifies a job. View B (a halberd with a hanging amulet) explains that the writing is a piece of cloth over the enemy’s head or ear as a war trophy and that its original meaning was to record military service. From that it meant “job; administration.” The kanji 職 meant “job; position; occupation.”

There is no kun-yomi. The on-yomi /sho’ku/ is in 職業 (“occupation” /shoku’gyoo/), 職に就く (“to take up a job” /shoku-ni-tsu’ku/), 本職 (“one’s principal job; one’s regular work” /honshoku), 職歴 (“work history” /shokureki/) and 部長職 (the position of a director” /bucho’oshoku/).

  1. The kanji 織 “to weave”

history-of-kanji-%e7%b9%94Setsumon Kaiji explained that 織 was a general term for weaving. In bronze ware style, in green, (a) was the same as (b) for 識. Another bronze ware style (b) had a skein of threads inside and 才 on the top left of 戈. As we have seen in the last post, 才 on top of 戈would result in the writing sai, the top right side of 裁. In seal style (c), in red, a bushu itohen “threads; continuous” was placed on the left side. The right side was used phonetically for making threads in weaving. In weaving, continuous threads spread sideways and lengthwise. From that it is also used for “organization.” The kanji 織 meant “to weave; organization.”

The kun-yomi 織る /o’ru/ means “to weave,” and is in 織物 (“woven cloth” /orimono/), 機織り (“weaving; handloom-weaving” /hataori’/). The on-yomi /sho’ku/ is in 紡織機 (“spinning machine; weaving machine” /booshoku’ki/). Another on-yomi /shi’ki/ is in 組織 (“organization” /so’shiki/).

  1. The kanji 矛 ”halberd”

history-of-kanji-%e7%9f%9bThis is another kanji for “halberd.” The bronze ware style writing for 矛 was a halberd or lance with a long shaft. It meant “halberd.” (A halberd has both spear-like top and blade whereas a lance has a spear-like top only.) Even when not in a battle, the display of a halberd on a stand signified the display of military power. When used with another kanji 盾 (“shield” /tate’/), the two components 矛 “halberd” and 盾 “shield” make up the word 矛盾 “contradiction; inconsistency.”

The kun-yomi /ho’ko/ means “halberd; lance,” and is in 矛先を向ける (“to make the target of an attack” /hokosaki-o-mukeru/). The on-yomi /mu/ is in 矛盾する (“to be contradictory; be in conflict with” /mujun-suru), and in 矛盾 (“contradiction; inconsistency; ” /mujun/).

  1. The kanji 務 “to work on; duty; mission”

history-of-kanji-%e5%8b%99For the kanji 務, in bronze ware style the left side was a halberd (矛), and the right side was a hand holding a stick, which signified “to act” or “to make someone do something” (a bushu bokunyuu/bokuzukuri). Together they originally meant “to make someone do something.” In seal style 力 “plough” was added to signify hard work in the field. The kanji 務 meant “to work on; duty; mission.”

The kun-yomi /tsutome’ru/ means “to work on.” The on-yomi /mu/ is in 勤務 (“service; duty; work” /ki’nmu/), 公務 (“official work” /ko’omu/), 任務 (“duty; task” /ni’nmu/) and 実務 (“administrative work; practical business”) and 実務会談 (“working-level talks” /jitsumuka’idan/).

6.The kanji 霧 “mist; fog”

history-of-kanji-%e9%9c%a7In chubun style (籀文), in light blue, which predated small seal style, it had a bushu ukanmuri (雨) “atmospheric phenomenon” at the top and 矛. The bottom was used phonetically for /mu/ to mean “not clear.” Together they meant “mist; fog.”

The kun-yomi /kiri/ means “mist; fog,” and /giri/ is in 朝霧 (“morning fog” /asagiri/). The on-yomi /mu/ is in 濃霧 (“thick fog” /no’omu/) and the expression 五里霧中 (“totally mystified; in a fog” /go’ri muchuu/).

We have looked at a large number of kanji that contain 戈 in five posts. I believe that with a few exceptions we covered all the Joyo kanji with 戈 and 矛. For the kanji 或域惑国(國) that we did not look at this time, please go back to the earlier post [The Kanji 国(國)或域惑図(圖)園遠 -くにがまえ(1) October 3, 2015]

A majority of the kanji in the last five posts contained the meaning “weapon; threat; battle” originally. In ancient times when original writings of kanji were created, a ruler’s job was to win a war to protect his territory or expand it, so having strong military power with effective weapons was essential for his power. We can see that aspect of ancient life by knowing how a weapon was widely used in creating kanji. We have seen kanji that had sharp-edged objects in the origin that were largely weapons. There are other types of weapons, such as arrows, and shields. We will move on to that group in the next post. Thank you very much for your reading. –Noriko [January 29, 2017 Japan time]

The Kanji 桟箋浅残銭践・載戴裁栽繊-戈halberd (4)

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This is the fourth post on the kanji that contain 戈 “halberd.” history-of-kanji-%e6%88%94The first six kanji in this post, 桟箋浅残銭践, shared the same origin 戔. The seal style writing, in red, shown on the right side had two halberds, one on top of the other. It had two different meanings: one was to hurt a person with weapon; and the other came from the fact that a sharp blade was thin and halberds were placed in a pile – so they signified “thin things that were layered; thin strips.”

  1. The kanji桟 “crosspiece; frame; ledge”

history-of-kanji-%e6%a1%9fFor the kanji 棧, the writing in dark blue was in the style that was said to have been used by the newly unified Qin (秦) dynasty to put a curse on their former enemy Chu (楚). Because it is from the same time that the small seal style 小篆 (now commonly known as just the seal style) was created, it looked very similar to the seal style writing, in red. Both had 木 “wood” on the left and 戔 “two halberds placed in layers.” Together they meant thin pieces of wood or bamboo, such as crosspieces, frames or narrow strips. The kyujitai, in blue, reflected seal style. In shinjitai the two halberds coalesced into one shape with three horizontal strokes.

There is no kun-yomi. The on-yomi 桟 /sa’n/ means “crosspiece” and 桟橋 (“pier; landing stage” /sanbashi/), a narrow strip where boats dock.

  1. The kanji 箋 “thin strips of note paper”

history-of-kanji-%e7%ae%8bFor the kanji 箋, the top 竹 was a bushu takekanmuri “bamboo,” and the bottom 戔 signified thin strips. A bamboo tablet was used to write on, which was tied as a book. Together they meant narrow thin pieces of writing. While other Joyo kanji that contained 戔 in seal style or kyujitai became simplified, the kanji 便 retained the old shape. The kanji 箋 meant “thin strips of note paper.”

There is no kun-yomi. The on-yomi /se’n/ is in 便箋 (“letter paper” /binsen/) and 附箋 or 付箋 (“tag paper” /husen/).

  1. The kanji 浅 “shallow; thoughtless”

history-of-kanji-%e6%b5%85For the kanji 浅, the left side of the seal style writing was a bushu sanzui “water,” and the right side戔 “thin objects piled.” Together the area where there is little water meant “shallow.” It also meant “light” in color, as well as lack of understanding or knowledge. The kanji 浅 meant “shallow; thoughtless.”

The kun-yomi /asai/ means “shallow,” and is in 浅はかな (“thoughtless” /asa’haka-na/), 浅ましい (“vile; unworthy; pathetic” /asamashi’i/) and 日が浅い (“it has not been long since the time” /hi-ga-asai/). The on-yomi /se’n/ is in 浅薄な (“superficial; shallow” /senpaku-na/).

  1. The kanji 残 “to remain; cruel”

history-of-kanji-%e6%ae%8bFor the kanji 残, the left side of the seal style writing was the bones of a dead person, which became 歹, a bushu shikabane “dead body.” With the right side 戔 “thin objects” and bones together, they meant remains that were cut up small. The scene in which an animal eating the corpse of another animal and leaving bones behind is “gruesome; cruel.” The kanji 残 meant “remains; cruel; gruesome.”

The kun-yomi 残る /noko’ru/ means “to remain,” and its transitive verb 残す /noko’su/ means “to leave.” 残り (“remnant; leftover” /nokori/) and 名残惜しい (“reluctant to part” /nagorioshi’i/). The on-yomi /za’n/ is in 残念 (“regrettable” /zanne’n/), 残業 (“overtime work” /zangyoo/), 残忍な (“gruesome; cruel” /zannin-na/) and 無残な (“ruthless; pitiful” /mu’zan-na/).

  1. The kanji 銭 “small change; coin”

history-of-kanji-%e9%8a%adFor the kanji 銭, having 金 “metal” added to戔 “layers of thin strips,” the kanji 銭 meant farming tools that have thin blades, such as a plough and spade. In ancient China there was plough shaped money. From that the kanji 銭 meant “money; coins.”

The kun-yomi 銭 /ze’ni/ meant “money” and is in 小銭 “small change; coin.” The on-yomi /sen/ is in 金銭 “money” and 銭湯 (“public bath,” where you pay money to go in /se’ntoo/.)

  1. The kanji 践 “to tread upon; act”

history-of-kanji-%e8%b7%b5For the kanji 践, the left side足 was foot. With 戔 “to lay over; superimpose” added, placing a step over another signified “to tread upon” and “to follow an old way.” The kanji 践 meant “to tread upon; experience; act.”

There is no kun-yomi. The on-yomi /se’n/ is in 実践する “to execute; carry out” and 実践的な “practical” /jissenteki-na/).

The next four kanji 載戴栽裁 share a shape on the top right that is not in kanji. I do not have access to a font for (e) below, so in this post I am going to call it just the writing sai.

history-of-top-right-of-%e5%93%89The writing sai – The top left in oracle bone style (a) and (b) in brown, was a 才, which was a pictograph of a weir that blocked water flow. It came to indicate timbers or materials in general. From that the generally accepted view is that the writing sai meant “to block; stop.”

There is a different explanation of the writing sai by Shirakawa, which was directly connected to his view of the origin of 才. The history of 才 is shown on the right. He took (a) through (d) as two logs in crosswise that had a prayer box in the middle and that 才 marked a consecrated area. With 戈, the writing sai was a consecrating ceremony using a halberd before starting a war. From that the writing sai as component meant “to begin.” So, one view focuses on the meaning “to stop” and the other on the meaning “to begin.” Both agree that the writing sai was used phonetically for /sa’i/.

Now let us look at five kanji 載戴裁栽繊 with the writing sai.

  1. The kanji 載 “to load; record”

history-of-kanji-%e8%bc%89For the kanji 載, we have three bronze ware style writings here. (a) had才 on the top left, and 戈 on the right for /sai/ to mean “to block.” To this 車 “vehicle” was added at the bottom left. Together, they meant to fasten a load on a vehicle so that it would not fall. The kanji 載 meant “to load.” (b) was the same as 才, and (b) had 車 added underneath. In seal style, (d), the top left had two strokes above the 戈, whereas in kanji it became one stroke. Shirakawa suggested that the kanji 戴 was probably a ritual to sanctify military vehicles before a battle began. The kanji 載 meant “to load; put up.” It was also used to mean to enter or place article or documents in a book or publication.

The kun-yomi 載せる /noseru/ means “to load; put up,” as in 棚に載せる (“to place on a shelf” /tana-ni noseru/), and “to carry,” as in 広告を載せる (“to place an ad” /kookoku-o noseru/). The on-yomi /sa’i/ is in 満載 (“full load” /mansai/), 掲載 (“publication; printing” /keesai/) and 転載 (“reprinting; republication” /tensai/).

  1. The kanji 戴 “to hold something above one’s head; receive”

history-of-kanji-%e6%88%b4The kanji 戴 is comprised of the writing sai and the kanji 異. For this, Kanjigen took the writing sai to be the old form of the kanji 在signifying “to cut and stop” and 異 for a phonetic feature for /tai/. Together they meant “to hold something on the head.” On the other hand Shirakawa took the writing sai to be the phonetic component that changed from /sai/ to /tai/. 異 was carrying an extraordinary head of a dead person’s spirit above one’s own head. Together 戴 signified to protect something sacred with a halberd. The kanji 戴 meant “to hold something above one’s head” and is also used to mean “to receive; eat” in humble style.

The kun-yomi /itadaku/ means “to hold up above one’s head; receive; eat (in humble style).” The expression one uses before eating a meal いただきます /itadakima’su/ is usually written in hiragana. The on-yomi /ta’i/ is in 頂戴する (“to receive” in humble style /choodai-suru/) and 戴冠式 (“coronation” /taika’nshiki/).

  1. The kanji 裁 “to cut (cloth); rule; make a final decision”

history-of-kanji-%e8%a3%81The kanji 裁 is comprised of the writing sai “to cut” or “to begin,” which was used phonetically for /sa’i/, and the kanji 衣 “clothes; fabric.” Together they meant to cut fabric for the first time. A judge makes a ruling after careful deliberation, just as cutting new fabric. From that it also meant “to make a careful decision.” The kanji 裁 meant “to cut cloth; make a final decision.”

The kun-yomi /saba’ku/ means “to make a ruling in court; judge.” The on-yomi /sa’i/ is in 裁判 (“trial; judgment” /sa’iban/), 裁縫 (“sewing” /saihoo/), 独裁 (“dictatorship” /dokusai/), 体裁のいい (“presentable” /teesainoi’i/) and 経済制裁 (“economic sanction” /keezaise’esai/).

  1. The kanji 栽 “to grow (plant); cultivate”

history-of-kanji-%e6%a0%bdThe seal style of the kanji 栽 had 木 “tree” underneath the writing sai, which was used phonetically for /sai/. Together they signified to prune unnecessary branches of a tree. The kanji 栽 meant “to grow (plant); cultivate.”

There is no kun-yomi in Joyo kanji. The on-yomi /sa’i/ is in 栽培する (“to grow (plant); cultivate” /saibai-suru/) and 盆栽 (“miniature tree potted in a flat planter; bonsai” /bonsai/).

The last kanji 繊 came from a very different origin. The history of the writing sai for the kanji 繊 is shown on the right. history-of-kanji-%e7%b9%8a%e3%81%ae%e5%8f%b3%e4%b8%8a

History of the writing sai in the kanji 繊 – In oracle bone style (a) had two people pierced by a halberd at the feet, and (b) had three people pierced by a halberd at the neck. It signified “to behead many people,” and from that it meant “to make something into small pieces.” When it comes to killing, the origin of kanji can be graphic. In the earlier post a month ago, we saw that in the oracle bone style of the kanji a halberd touching a person’s neck originally meaning “to kill (someone).” That was the kanji 伐. [December 18, 2016]  So in oracle bone style 伐 was about beheading one person whereas the right side of 繊 was about beheading many people.

  1. The kanji 繊 “fine; detailed”

history-of-kanji-%e7%b9%8aFor the kanji 繊, the seal style writing had 糸, a bushu itohen “thread.” The right side had two people above a halberd, and 韭underneath signified small things. Together they signified fine threads. Fibers are fine and short hair-like. The kyujitai, in blue, retained the same shape as seal style, which had two 人 at the top – the remnant of the gruesome origin –, but in shijitai the center right became the same as the writing sai, and the center bottom was also simplified. The kanji 繊 meant “fine; detailed.”

There is no kun-yomi.The on-yomi /se’n/ is in 繊維 (“fiber” /se’n-i/), 繊細な (“delicate” /sensai-na/) and 繊毛 (“cilia” /senmoo/).

In the next post we will wrap up the kanji that contain 戈. Thank you very much for your reading. –Noriko [January 22, 2017  Japan time]

The kanji戦賊蔵歳戯賦・幾機畿- 戈 “halberd” (3)

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This is the third post on kanji that contain the shape. We are going to look at 戦賊蔵歳戯武賦 and 幾機畿.

  1. The kanji 戦 “battle; to fight”

The kanji 戦 is comprised of two components, which are also kanji — 単 and 戈.  So, let us look at the kanji 単 first.

history-of-kanji-%e5%8d%98The kanji 単—For the kanji (a) in oracle bone style, in brown, and (b) in bronze ware style, in green, was a shield with a two-pronged spear at the top. It was borrowed to mean “single; only.” The top of (c) in seal style, in red, and kyujitai (d), in blue, was simplified to a truncated katakana ツ shape in shinjitai (e). The kanji 単 meant “single; only.”

history-of-kanji-%e6%88%a6rNow the kanji 戦. In oracle bone style (a) was two halberds whereas (b) was two shields. In bronze ware style the left side of (c) was a shield and the right side was a halberd. Together they meant “battle; war; to fight.” The kanji 戦 meant “war; battle; to fight.”

The kun-yomi 戦う /tatakau/ means “to fight.” Another kun-yomi 戦 /ikusa’/ means “war; battle,” and is in 勝ち戦 (“successful war; victory”/kachii’kusa/.) The third kun-yomi /onono’ku/ “to shudder; quiver” is not in the Joyo kanji. The on-yomi /se’n/ is in 戦争 (“war” /sensoo/), Aと対戦する (“to fight against A” /A to taisen-suru/), 作戦 (“strategy” /sakusen/) and 戦々恐々とする (“with fear and trembling; be panic-stricken” /sensenkyookyoo-to-sursu/).

  1. The kanji 賊 “robber; thief; to damage”

history-of-kanji-%e8%b3%8aFor the kanji 賊, in the bronze ware style writing under a halberd the bottom left was a person standing next to a three-legged bronze vessel. Together someone damaging a bronze vessel with a weapon meant “to damage” and a villain who robbed or damaged with a weapon. In seal style a person was placed under a halberd. The kanji 賊 meant “to damage; steal; robber”

There is no kun-yomi. The on-yomi /zoku/ means “robber; rebel,” and is in 海賊 (“pirate” /kaizoku/), 盗賊 (“thief; robber” /toozoku/) and 賊が押し入る (“a robber breaks into it” /zoku-ga-oshiiru/).

  1. The kanji 蔵 “vault; to store away”

history-of-kanji-%e8%94%b5For the kanji 蔵, the bronze ware style writing was a vessel for treasure hidden in a house. 爿on the left of the vessel was used phonetically for /zoo/. In seal style, the top was a bushu kusakanmuri “grass” – adding the sense of hiding in tall grass. The bottom had 爿, and the vessel changed to the watchful eye of retainer’s with a halberd. Together they meant to store something valuable away in a secure place. From that the kanji 蔵 meant “vault; to store away.”

The kun-yomi /kura’/ means “vault; storage,” and is in 米蔵 (“rice granary” /komegura/). The on-yomi /zo’o/ is in 秘蔵品 (“treasured article” /hizoohin/), 無尽蔵な (“inexhaustible” /muji’nzoona/) and お地蔵さん (“guardian image” /ojizoosan/)

  1. The kanji 歳 “year; age”

history-of-kanji-%e6%ad%b3
For the kanji 歳, in bronze ware style (a) was an axe with a long handle to dissect a sacrificial animal for a harvest festival, and (b) had a pair of footprints added. A pair of footprints from a right foot (above the line) and a left foot (below) signified someone walking, as in the kanji 歩 “to walk; step.” They may have added the sense of the passage of time.  The cycle of a harvest is once a year. The kanji 歳 meant “year; age.”

The kun-yomi /toshi// means “age; year.” The on-yomi /sa’i/ is in 何歳 “how old” /na’nsai/), 歳入 (“annual revenue” /sainyuu/), 歳末 (“end-of-the-year” /saimatsu/), 歳月 (“years; time” /saigetsu/). Another on-yomi /se’e/ is in お歳暮 (“end-of-the-year gift” /oseebo/).

  1. The kanji 戯 “to play; joke”

history-of-kanji-%e6%88%afFor the kanji 戯, in bronze ware style the left side was a person with a tiger headgear for a play on sitting on a tall stool. It was used phonetically for /ki; gi/. The right side was a halberd. Together they meant someone playing a votive dance before going into battle.  Seal style and kyujitai kept all three components 虍 “tiger” and 豆 “tall stool; something tall” on the left and 戈 “halberd” on the right. In shinjitai 虚, a kanji that had no relation with the original meaning, replaced the left side. The kanji 戯 meant “to play; joke.”

The kun-yomi 戯むれる /tawamure’ru/ meant “to be playful; jest.” The on-yomi /gi/ is in 戯曲 “drama; play,” 遊戯 (“play; playing” /yu’ugi/) and 子供の遊戯 (“dancing’ romping” /kodomo-no-yu’ugi/).

  1. The kanji 武 “military; warrior”

history-of-kanji-%e6%ad%a6For the kanji 武, the oracle bone style writing (a) had a halberd and a footprint. Advancing with a halberd meant “military; warrior.” In bronze ware style (b) had a footprint under a halberd, and (c) had a king’s axe added. In kanji (e) the stroke that crosses the stick was lost. Instead an additional short line was added at the top. The kanji 武 meant “military; warrior.” The kanji 武 is in contrast with 文 in the sense of “civil; literary.”

There is no kun-yomi in Joyo kanji. The on-yomi /bu/ is in 武士 (“samurai; warrior; military class” /bu’shi/), 武器 (“weapon; arms” /bu’ki/) and 武力 (“military power” /bu’ryoku/). Another on-yomi /mu/ is in 武者 (“warrior” /mu’sha/) and 武者震い (“shaking with anticipation” /mushabu’rui/).

  1. The kanji 賦 “to collect levy; tribute; to allocate”

history-of-kanji-%e8%b3%a6For the kanji 賦, in bronze ware style the top was a halberd and a footprint (together signifying “army advancing”), and the bottom was a cowry, signifying money and valuable things. Together they meant valuable things that were sought by force. From that it meant “to collect levy; impose labor.” A ruler expected to be given a tribute and it meant “tribute.” An interesting point is that it also included the flip side of collecting – “to allocate; distribute.” I find it a little puzzling about having both directions of giving and getting, but this reminds me of the kanji 受 “to receive.” It originally meant both “to receive;” and “to give,” until another kanji 授 was created to mean “to give.” There may be other example like this.

There is no kun-yomi. The on-yomi /hu/ is in賦役 (“compulsory labor” /hueki/) and 賦与する (“to endow” /hu’yo-suru/), and /pu/ is in 月賦払い (“monthly installment payment” /geppuba’rai/) and 天賦 (“endowment” /te’npu/).

The next three kanji 幾機 and 畿 share the same component.

  1. The kanji 幾 “a few; how much”

history-of-kanji-%e5%b9%beFor the kanji 幾 the two bronze ware style writings had two short threads (幺) on the top left, a halberd on the right side and something else, possibly hanging threads or a person, on the bottom left.  The interpretations of its origin differ among kanji scholars – (1) it was a halberd with spiritual decoration to ward off evil, and it was probably used to interrogate. From that it originally meant “to detect fine points,” and from that it meant “small; nearly” (Shirakawa); (2) The two short threads signifying “to weave” and 戍 “halberd” used phonetically together meant “to stop weaving thread,” and later on it came to be used to mean “sign” (Kadokawa dictionary); (3) The two short threads for “a little” and a broad-blade halberd (戈) and a person (人) together signified a halberd reaching nearly to a person’s neck. The short distance from a halberd to the neck meant “small; little” (Kanjigen). I do not have a view on which is the most acceptable history.  It is also used as an interrogative word. The kanji 幾 meant “a few; some; how much.”

The kun-yomi /iku/ is in 幾つ (“how many” /i’kutsu/), 幾つか (“some; few” /i’kutsuka/), 幾多の (“many: /i’kutano/). The on-yomi /ki/ is in 機微 (“fine points; subtleties; niceties” /ki’bi/) and 幾何学 (“geometry” /kika’gaku/).

  1. The kanji 機 “machine; moment; change”

history-of-kanji-%e6%a9%9fFor the kanji 機, the left side 木 “wood” signified the wooden frame of a loom. The right side 幾 had many short threads cut by a knife. Together they meant a mechanical device or machine.” It means “moment; change.”

There is no kun-yomi. The on-yomi /ki is in 機械 (“machine” /kika’i/), 機会 (“opportunity” /kika’i/), 好機 (“golden opportunity” /ko’oki/), 機関 (“organization” /ki’kan/), 機嫌がいい (“in good humor” /kigengaii/), 飛行機 (“aircraft” /hiko’oki/), 機密 (“top secrerecy” /kimitsu/) and 機敏な (“smart; shrewd; prompt” /kibin-na/).

  1. The kanji 畿 “area near a capital”

history-of-kanji-%e7%95%bfThe seal style writing of the kanji 畿 had rice paddies (田), which signified a territory or area. The kanji 畿 meant “an area which an emperor rules.”  In Japan 畿 is used for the name of the area that included the old capital 京都 where an emperor was situated. The kanji 畿 meant “an area under the direct control of the emperor.”

There is no kun-yomi. The on-yomi /ki/ is in 近畿地方 “Kinki region,” and  畿内 (“an area near Kyoto” /ki’nai/).

We will continue to explore more kanji that contain 戈 “halberd” in the next post.  Thank you very much for your reading.  –Noriko  [January 15, 2017]

The Kanji 義儀犠感減威滅 –戈 “halberd” (2)

Standard

This is the second post on kanji that contain 戈 “halberd/battle-axe/broad-blade axe.” We are going to look at the kanji 義儀犠威戚感滅. There are a number of kanji that originated from a halberd, including 我 戉 and 戊. In the past any kanji that had 戈 was put in more or less a single bag of “a halberd or halberd-like weapon.” But I am curious now whether these were represented differently in their oracle bone style and bronze ware style writings. The answer may not be as clear as I would like, but it is worthwhile to satisfy our curiosity.

history-of-kanji-%e6%88%91Review of 我–Before the holiday season posts on Christmas day and New Year’s Day, in the post entitled The kanji 戈戒械成城誠伐閥我-戈halberd (1), we looked at the kanji 我 “I (first person pronoun)” as the last kanji. The kanji 我was borrowed kanji and had little relationship with its origin. Its origin was the shape of a saw-like halberd or a saw. The history is shown on the right. We saw a three-pronged shape attached to a long stick or a halberd. The writing was a pictograph of a pronged weapon or saw.

  1. The kanji 義 “just; morality; significance; meaning.”

history-of-kanji-%e7%be%a9For the kanji 義 (a) and (b) in oracle bone style, in brown, were very similar to (a) and (b) for the kanji 我, except one point – The top of the vertical line had sheep’s curled horns.  In bronze ware style, in green, the sheep got separated from the bottom. The bottom of 12 writings had three or more prongs on the left, as in (c) and (d). Only two of them had the shape without prongs, as in (e), and that was an axe. Since the overwhelming number had a prong shape, we can comfortably conclude that the bottom of the kanji 義 was a saw-like object or a saw. 羊 “sheep” and 我 “saw” together meant cutting a sacrificial sheep with a saw to prepare for an offering to a god. What is suitable for a god meant “morality; just.” Explaining “what is just” also gave the meaning “significance; meaning.” So the kanji 義 meant “just; morality; significance; meaning.”

The kanji 議 — Later on, 義 phonetically for /gi/ and and 言 “words; language” together made a new kanji 議. From two sides together “discussing what is right” the kanji 議 meant “to discuss.”

  1. The kanji 儀 “ceremony; affair; matter”

history-of-kanji-%e5%84%80The bronze ware style of the kanji 儀 was the same as (c) and (d) for 義. That suggests that the meanings of 儀 was originally a part of 義.  In seal style, in red, , a bushu ninben “standing person,” was added to 義 that was used phonetically for /gi/. Together they signified a person’s righteous deed. A right way of doing by a righteous person became the meaning “protocol; ceremony; affair.” The kanji 儀 meant “ceremony; affair; matter.”

There is no kun-yomi. The on-yomi /gi/ is in 儀礼 (“ceremony” /giree/), 行儀がいい (“well-mannered” /gyoogi’-ga ii/) and 祝儀 (“celebration; festivity; tips on happy occasion” /shu’ugi/).

  1. The kanji 犠 “sacrifice”

history-of-kanji-%e7%8a%a0The left side of the seal style writing of the kanji 犠was 牛 “cow,” which sometimes signified animals in general. In kanji the right side is 義, but in seal style the bottom had something else added. What this addition meant is not clear. From the original meaning of 義 “a sheep to be cut with a saw for an offering” and 牛 together meant “sacrificial animal; sacrifice.”

There is no kun-yomi in Joyo kanji. The on-yomi /gi/ is in犠牲になる (“to be sacrificed; fall prey for” /gisee-ni-na’ru/) and犠牲者 (“victim” /gise’esha/.)

history-of-kanji-%e5%92%b8The kanji 咸— The kanji 感and 減share the same shape 咸. The history of 咸, which is not a Joyo kanji, is shown on the right. In oracle bone style, (a) and (b), the top, some sort of halberd (戈), had a large axe. Underneath was a mouth  (口). Together making someone close his mouth by giving a shock of a threat of an axe or weapon” meant “to contain.”

  1. The kanji 感 “to feel”

history-of-kanji-%e6%84%9fFor the kanji 感, the seal style writing had 咸 at the top, which was used phonetically for /kan/ to mean “to contain,” and 心 “heart” at the bottom. Together they signified what was contained inside one’s heart — “to feel; emotion; feeing.”

There is no kun-yomi. The on-yomi /ka’n/ is in 感じる (“to feel” /kanjiru/), 感情 (“emotion” /kanjoo/) and 感謝 (“gratitude” /kansha-suru/).

  1. The kanji 減 “to reduce”

history-of-kanji-%e6%b8%9bFor the kanji 減 the bronze ware style writing had a stream of water on the left, and the right side was a battle-axe and a mouth, signifying “to confine.” Together they meant that closing the mouth of a stream reduced the amount of the flow of water. The kanji 減 meant “to reduce.”

The kun-yomi is in 減らす /herasu/ means “to reduce; make less” and its intransitive counterpart verb 減る /heru/ “to decrease.”  The on-yomi /ge’n/ is in 加減する(“to adjust” /kagen-suru/), 湯加減 (“bath temperature” /yuka’gen/), 軽減 (“reduction” /keegen/) and 減速 (“slowing down” /gensoku/).

history-of-kanji-%e6%88%89The kanji 戉 “broad-blade axe”– In oracle bone style, (a) and (b) were a battle-axe in mirror images. In bronze ware style, (c) had a broad curved blade whereas (d) was a long straight blade. In seal style the blade curled up at the end. It became the kanji 戉. When a bushu kanehen 金 “metal” was added it became 鉞 “broad-blade (curved) axe.” (Neither 戉 nor 鉞 is Joyo kanji, but a phonetic feature /e’tsu/ is used in the Joyo kanji 越.) Shirakawa viewed that the kanji 王 was a king’s ornamental axe with the blade side at the bottom (without a handle). In bronze ware style some had a thick curved blade. [Oracle Bone Writings at Tokyo National Museum and the Kanji 王旺皇士仕 on November 13, 2016]

  1. The kanji 威 “(personal) dignity; prestige”

history-of-kanji-%e5%a8%81For the kanji 威, the two bronze ware style writings had a broad-blade axe or battle-axe (戉) and a woman (女) underneath. Together a woman under the threat of a weapon signified “to threaten” or “authority.”

There is no kun-yomi in Joyo kanji. The on-yomi /i/ is in 権威 (“authority” /ke’n-i/), 威嚇する (“to threaten” /ikaku-suru/) and 威容 (“commanding appearance” /iyoo/).

  1. The kanji 滅 “to run out; die away”

history-of-kanji-%e6%bb%85The seal style writing of the kanji 滅 hada bushu sanzui  “water.” The right side had a 戉 “broad blade battle-axe” and 火 “fire” inside, and was used phonetically for /betsu/ to mean “to exhaust; run out.” Both sides together signified water running out. From that the kanji 滅 meant “to run out; die away.”

The kun-yomi 滅ぼす /horobo’su/ means “to destroy” and its intransitive verb 滅びる (“to die away; be destroyed” /horobi’ru/). The on-yomi /me’tsu/ is in 点滅する (“to flicker” /tenmetsu-suru/), 滅亡 (“extinction” /metsuboo/), 支離滅裂な (incoherent; disconnected /shi’ri-metsuretsu-na/) and 滅法 (“exceedingly” /meppo’o/), as in 滅法強い (“extremely strong” /meppo’o tsuyo’i/).

We will continue with this topic in the next post. –Noriko  (January 8, 2017)