This is the fourth post on the kanji that contain 戈 “halberd.” The 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.”
The kanji桟 “crosspiece; frame; ledge”
For 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.
The kanji 箋 “thin strips of note paper”
For 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/).
The kanji 浅 “shallow; thoughtless”
For 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/).
The kanji 残 “to remain; cruel”
For 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/).
The kanji 銭 “small change; coin”
For 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/.)
The kanji 践 “to tread upon; act”
For 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.
The 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.
The kanji 載 “to load; record”
For 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/).
The kanji 戴 “to hold something above one’s head; receive”
The 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/).
The kanji 裁 “to cut (cloth); rule; make a final decision”
The 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/).
The kanji 栽 “to grow (plant); cultivate”
The 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 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.
The kanji 繊 “fine; detailed”
For 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]