The Kanji 識職織矛務霧 – 戈 “halberd” (5)


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]

2 thoughts on “The Kanji 識職織矛務霧 – 戈 “halberd” (5)

  1. The group of halberd posts are my favourite. Thank you Noriko-sensei, as always, for the effort you put into your research and your generosity in sharing it with us!

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