The Kanji 豆豊艶壱富福副幅 – “Container” (3)


In this post we continue to explore kanji that originated from a container. The kanji are豆豊艶壱 from 豆 “a tall stemmed container” and 富福副幅 from 畐 “a narrow-necked container with a lid which is filled with wealth at the bottom.” ­­

  1. The kanji 豆 “bean; miniature”

History of Kanji 豆For the kanji 豆 in the oracle bone style writing, in brown, the two bronze ware style writings, in green, and the seal style writing, in red, it was “a tall raised or stemmed bowl,” and was /too/ phonetically. Later it was borrowed to mean “bean.” [Composition of the kanji 豆: 一, a side-long 口, a truncated ソ and 一]

The kun-yomi /mame’/ means “bean; miniature,” and is in 豆電球 (“miniature light bulb” /mamede’nkyuu/) and 枝豆 (“boiled salted green beans in pods” /edamame/). The on-yomi /too/ is in 豆腐 (“bean curd” /toohu/) and 納豆 (“fermented soy beans; natto” /natto’o/). Another on-yomi /zu/ is in 大豆(“soy bean” /daizu/). In Japanese it is also used for 小豆 (“azuki bean” for sweets /azuki/).

History of Kanji 頭The kanji “head” has 豆 on the left side too. We have discussed this kanji in the post on November 15, 2014 in connection with the bushu oogai 頁 “head.” 豆 was used phonetically for /too/ and /zu/.

  1. The kanji 豊 “abundance; affluent; plentiful; rich”

History of Kanji 豊For the kanji 豊 on (a) in oracle bone style, (b) in bronze ware style and (c) and (d) in seal style one view is that it was “a tall stemmed bowl with millet stalks,” which signified “abundance of harvest.” It meant “abundance.” Another view is that the top was strands of jewels, rather than mille stalks, and it signified “wealth.” In either view the bottom was a tall stemmed bowl that was used phonetically for /too/. The kyuji 豐, (e) in blue, reflected (d), but in shinji, the top became simplified to 曲. The kanji 豊 means “abundance; affluent; plentiful; rich.”  [Composition of the kanji 豊: 曲 and 豆]

The kun-yomi 豊か /yu’taka/ means “rich; abundance; plentiful” and is in  心豊かな (“fertile mind; spiritually rich” /kokoroyu’taka-na/). The on-yomi /hoo/ is in 豊富な (“abundant; rich; plentiful” /hoohu-na/), 豊作 (“good harvest” /hoosaku/), 豊年 (“year of good harvest” /hoonen/) and 豊満な (“plump” /hooman-na/).

  1. The kanji 艶 “glossy; women’s charm; attractiveness; enchanting”

History of Kanji 艶The seal style writing of the kanji 艶, (a) comprised 豊 “plentiful; abundant” and the right side that signified “a lid (去) over a vessel (皿).” Plentiful food or offerings in a vessel was “desirable,” which further meant “enchanting; attractive” in appearance. (b) 豔 reflected (a). (c) was an informal writing of (b), in which 色 suggested “attractiveness.” The top of (c) still reflected (a). In the shinji 艷 the top became 曲. The kanji 艶 means “glossy; (women’s) enchanting.” [Composition of the kanji 艶: 豊 and 色]

The kun-yomi /tsuya/ means “luster” and is in 艶のある (“shiny; glossy” /tsuya-no-a’ru/) and 色艶のいい (“of good glossy color” /iro’tsuya-no i’i/). Another kun-yomi艶やかな (“glamorous; charming” /ade’yakana/ is not in the Joyo kanji reading. The on-yomi /en/ is 妖艶な (“bewitching” /yooen-na/) and 艶聞 (“rumor of love-affair” /enbun/).

  1. The kanji 壱 “one”

History of Kanji 壱For the kanji 壱 in bronze ware style and seal style it was “a pot or crock that had a secure lid.” A tightly closed pot was filled with fermented air. The bottom of 4 in kyuji, 壹, was 豆, reflecting the original meaning. It was borrowed to mean “one” and is used to avoid misreading the kanji 一 in an important receipt, draft or check. One can easily imagine that it is very easy to add another line or two to 一 to tamper the original number. The kanji 二 and 三 also had a formal writing — the kanji 貮弐 for 二 and 参 for 三. The kanji 壱 means “one; single.”  [Composition of the kanji 壱: 士, 冖 and ヒ]

There is no kun-yomi. The on-yomi /ichi/ is in 金壱万円 (“10,000 yen” in formal receipt and check  /ki’n ichiman-en/).

  1. The kanji 富 “wealth”

History of Kanji 富For the kanji 富 in bronze ware style the top was “a house” and the inside was “a narrow neck container with a lid whose bottom was swelled in the middle.” A house that had a container that was filled with treasure or things signified “wealth; wealthy; fortune.” Inside of the seal style the container shape became 畐 — a lid, an opening and a full container itself. The kanji 富 means “wealth; fortune.” [Composition of the kanji 富 : 宀, 一, 口 and 田]

The kun-yomi /to’mi/ is “wealth.” The on-yomi /hu/ is in 富豪 (“person of great wealth; millionaire” /hugoo/), 富国 (“national wealth” /hukoku/) and 富裕層 (“the well-off; wealthy class” /huyu’usoo/). /Huu/ is in 富貴 (“wealth and honor” /hu’uki/). /-Pu/ is in 貧富の差 (“disparity of wealth” /hi’npu-no-sa/.)

  1. The kanji 福 “good luck; bliss; blessing; fortune”

History of Kanji 福For the kanji 福 in oracle bone style (a) had “a wine cask filled with a lid with wine that was raised by two hands” and “an altar table with offering” on the top left, while 2 did not have hands. By placing a cask full of stuff on an altar table, one prayed for blessing from a god. It meant “bliss; good luck; happiness.” In (c) and (d) in bronze ware style an altar table with offering began to take the shape 示. In (e) in seal style a full container with a lid became 畐, which is reflected in the kyuji 福, (f). In shinji 福, the left side became ネ, a bushu shimesuhen “religious matter.” The kanji 福 means “good luck; bliss; blessing; fortune.”   [Composition of the kanji 福: ネ and 畐]

There is no kun-yomi in Joyo kanji. The on-yomi /huku/ means “good luck; blessing,” and is in 幸福な (“happy; blissful” /koohuku-n/), 祝福 (“blessing” /shukuhuku/), 福々しい (“plump and happy looking” /hukubukushi’i/), 福祉 (“welfare; well-being” /huku’shi/), ルカによる福音書 (“the Gospel according to Luke” /ru’kaniyoru hukuinsho/) and 冥福を祈る (“to pray its soul may rest in peace” /meehuku-o ino’ru/), as in ご冥福をお祈りいたします “May his soul rest in peace.”

  1. The kanji 副 “to accompany; assisting; copy”

History of Kanji 副For the kanji 副 in Large seal style, in purple, it had two “full narrow-neck containers” and “a knife” in between. They signified that a knife dividing wealth in two parts, a main part and an accompanying part. The meaning of the writing focused on the accompanying part, and it meant “to accompany; assisting; copy.” The seal style writing comprised 畐 and 刀 “knife” which was replaced by 刂, a bushu rittoo “knife on the right side” in the shinji 副. The kanji 副 means “to accompany; assisting; copy.” [Composition of the kanji 副: 畐 and 刂]

There is no kun-yomi in the Joyo kanji. The on-yomi /huku/ is in 副社長 (“vice president” /hukusha’choo/), 副本 (“duplicate” /hukuhon/), 正副二通 (“original and duplicate” /se’ehuku ni’tsuu/), 副産物 (“by product” /hukusa’nbutsu/), 副作用 (“side effect; adverse reaction” /hukusa’yoo/) and 副詞 (“adverb” /hukushi/).

  1. The kanji 幅 “width; counter of scroll”

History of Kanji 幅The seal style writing of the kanji 幅 comprised 巾 “cloth; lap robe” and 畐, which was used phonetically for /huku/ to mean something spreading sideways like a barrel. For a lap robe, fabric was used as it was woven with its width intact. It is also used as a counter for a scroll. The kanji 幅 means “width; counter of scroll.”  [Composition of the kanji 幅: 巾 and 畐]

The kun-yomi 幅 /haba/ means “width” and is in 横幅 (“width; wingspan” /yokohaba/). The on-yomi /-puku/ is in 振幅 (“amplitude” /shinpuku/) and 一幅 (“a scroll” /ippuku/), as in the expression 一幅の絵になる (“picturesque; pretty as a hanging scroll” /ippuku’no e’-ni naru/).

We shall continue with “container” in the next post. Since I am travelling next weekend I am afraid that it will have to be two weeks later. Thank you very much for your understanding. — Noriko [January 27, 2018]

The Kanji 吉結詰缶陶去却脚法–Container (2)


This is the second post on kanji that originated from a container with a lid.  We are going to look at three types of containers with a lid–吉缶去. The kanji we explore are 吉結詰, 缶陶 and 去却脚法.

  1. The kanji 吉 “good luck; joy; auspicious”

History of Kanji 吉Various interpretations on the origin of the kanji 吉 are found in references, including (1) “a heap of food for celebratory feast,” – thus “joyous”; (2) “a warrior’s weapon” placed the blade side down in a ceremony and “a prayer box to confine evils” – “benediction” and (3) and “a container that is full inside which was securely plugged with a double lid,” and being full was “good.” When we look at the ancient writing all of those interpretations may make sense — (a) in oracle bone style, in brown, could be a heap of food for a feast; The top of (b) and (c) in bronze ware style, in green, and (d) in seal style, in red, appear to correspond with 士 “warrior; man” from a warrior’s axe, particularly (c) in which the thick blade at the bottom was thicker; and perhaps (e) could be viewed as (3), a container with a secure double plug at the top. Which account makes sense to us best?  It does not matter to me but in this blog I just pick one “a container with a tight lid” to move on. The kanji 吉 means “good luck; joy; auspicious.” [Composition of the kanji 吉: 士 and 口]

There is no kun-yomi in the Joyo-kanji. The on-yomi /kichi/ is in 吉日 (“lucky day” /kichijitsu; kitsujitsu/), 大吉 (“great good luck” in omikuji, an oracle on a strip of paper at a temple and shrine /daikichi/), and /kip-/ is in 吉報 (“good news” /kippoo/). Another on-yomi /kitsu/ is in 不吉な (“ominous” /hukitsu/-na).

  1. The kanji 結 “to tie; end; congregate into one”

History of Kanji 結The seal style writing of the kanji 結 had 糸, a bushu itohen “a skein of threads.” The right side 吉 was used phonetically for /kitsu; ketsu/ to mean “to be tightly contained in a jar.” The kanji 結 means “to tie; end; congregate into one.” [Composition of the kanji 結: 糸, 士 and 口]

The kun-yomi /musubu/ means “to tie a knot; conclude.” Another kun-yomi結う /yuu/ is in 髪を結う or 髪を結わえる (“to dress up one’s hair” /kami’-o yuu; kami’-o yuwae’ru/) and is in 結納 (“betrothal present; engagement gifts” /yuinoo/). The on-yomi /ketsu/ is in 結論 (“conclusion” /ketsuron/), 結果 (“result; outcome” /kekka/), 凍結する (“to freeze up” /tooketsu-suru/) and in the phrase 一致団結 (“solidarity” /i’tchi danketsu/).

  1. The kanji 詰 “to pack; full; rebuke; blame; squeeze; stand by”

History of Kanji 詰The seal style writing of the kanji 詰 comprised 言, a bushu gonben “word; language; to speak” and 吉 used phonetically for /kitsu/ to mean “containment.” Together pressing someone with accusing words meant “to blame; rebuke; criticize.” In Japanese it is also used to mean “to pack; cram; full” and “to stand by” from a room where on-duty gurds stays. The kanji 詰 means “to pack; full; rebuke; blame; squeeze; stand by.”[Composition of the kanji 詰: 言, 士 and 口]

The kun-yomi /tsume’ru/ means “to pack; stand by” and is in 詰め物 (“packed things; packing” /tsumemono/), 詰所 (“guard station; crew room” /tsume’sho/) and 詰まる (“to clog up; conjest” /tsuma’ru/). The on-yomi /kitsu/ is in 詰問する (“to rebuke; cross-examine /kitsumon-suru/).

  1. The kanji 缶 “can; tin”

History of Kanji 缶For the kanji 缶 in (a), (b) and (d) it was “a teraccotta container with a secure double lid to hold water and wine.” In (c) had the addition of 金 “metal” suggested a metal or bronze ware container that appeared later. In (f) 罐, in kyuji in blue, 雚 was added for /kan/ phonetically. From the writing (c) with a “metal” component, in Japanese it meant “metal container; can.” The kanji 缶 means “can; tin.” [Composition of the kanji 缶: 午 and 凵]

There is no kun-yomi. The on-yomi /kan/ is 缶 (“tin container; can” /ka’n/), 缶詰 (“canned food” /kanzu’me/) and 缶入りコーヒー (“canned coffee” /kan-iri-ko’ohii/) and アルミ缶 (“aluminum can” /arumikan/).

  1. The kanji 陶 “ceramic; to educate”

History of Kanji 陶For the kanji 陶 in the two bronze ware style writings the left side was “a hill-like mound of dirt” placed vertically. The right side had double images of “a person bending his back, kneading clay.” Together they meant people making pottery near an ascending kiln. 3 in seal style comprised a bushu kozatohen “hill” and 缶 “a clay container” wrapped in 勹  that signified “ceramics.” Together they meant “making ceramic in a kiln.” It also meant “to educate” from “kneading.” The knaji 陶 means “ceramic; to educate.” [Composition of the kanji 陶: 阝, 勹and 缶]

There is no kun-yomi. The on-yomi /too/ is in 陶器 (“pottery; earthenware” /to’oki/), 薫陶を受ける(“under someone’s tutelege; be taught by” /kuntoo-o uke’ru/) and 陶酔する (“to be fascinated; be intoxinated” /toosui-suru/).

  1. The kanji 去 “to leave; remove; past”

History of Kanji 去For the kanji 去 the oracle bone style and bronze ware style writings had “a person” above “an area; box” 口. Together “a person’s legs crossing over an area” signified “leaving and going far away.” The kanji 去 meant “to leave; remove.” In seal style the bottom became 凵 “receptacle”. In kanji 大 “a person” became 土 and the bottom ム. The kanji 去 means “to leave; remove; past.” [Composition of the kanji 去: 土 and ム]

The kun-yomi /saru/ means “to leave,” and is in 立ち去る (“to leave; go away” /tachisa’ru/). The on-yomi /kyo/ is in 去年 (“last year” /kyo’nen/) and 除去する (“to remove” /jo’kyo-suru/).

  1. The kanji 却 “to withdraw; retreat; on the contrary”

History of Kanji 却The seal style writing of the kanji 却 comprised 去 “to leave” and 卩 “a person kneeling down” signifying “receding.”  Together they meant “to make a retreat; withdraw.” It is also used to mean “on the contrary; all the more” in a phrase 却って. The kanji 却 means “to withdraw; retreat; on the contrary.” [Composition of the kanji 却: 土 ,  ム and 卩]

The kun-yomi /ka’ette/ means “on the contrary; all the more.” The on-yomi /kyaku/ is in 返却する (“to return (something)” /henkyaku-suru/), 退却する (“to retreat” /taikyaku-suru/), 売却する (“to sell; sell off” /baikyaku-suru/). /kyak-/ is in 却下する (“to dismiss; reject” /kyak’ka-suru/).

  1. The kanji 脚 “leg; foot”

History of Kanji 脚The seal style writing of the kanji 脚 comprised 月, a bushu nikuzuki  “a part of one’s body” and 却 “to retreat” used phonetically for /kyaku/. From the posture of legs knelt down one one backing down, it signified “leg; foot.” The kanji 脚 means “leg; foot.” [Composition of the kanji 脚: 月, 土 , ム and 卩]

The kun-yomi /ashi’/ means “leg; foot,” and is in 椅子の脚 (“chair leg” /isu-no-ashi/). The on-yomi /kyaku/ is in 三脚 (“tripod (for camera)” /sankyaku/), 脚色する (“to dramatize” /kyakushoku-suru/) and 脚本 (“play script; scenario” /kyakuhon/). Another on-yomi, which is a go-on /kya/ is in 脚立 (“stepladder” /kyatasu/) and 行脚 (“pilgrimage; travel around on foot” /a’ngya/).

  1. The kanji 法 “law; legal; court of law; method”

History of Kanji 法The kanji 法had a history of complex writings. One view of (a) and (b) is that the left side had 去 “to remove” and “water” and that the right side was “an imaginary animal that was believed to be used for divine judgment.” Together they meant “fair judgment; justice.” From that it meant “law.” In seal style in (c) 去 became more prominent, whereas in 4 an imaginary animal for justice was totally dropped. 灋 in 5 in Correct style is the kanji that reflected 3. The current kanji 法 reflects 4. The kanji 法 means “law; legal; court of law; method.” [Composition of the kanji 法: 氵, 土 and ム]

There is no kun-yomi. The on-yomi /hoo/ is in 法 (“law” /hoo/), 法律 (“law” /hooritsu/), 方法 (“method” /hoohoo/), 司法 (“judiciary” /shiho’o) and 違法行為 (“illegal act” /ihooko-oii/).  /-Poo/ is in文法 (“grammar” /bunpoo/) and 立法 (“legislation; law making” /rippoo/) and 民法 (“Civil law” /mi’npoo/) and 憲法 (“constitutional law” /ke’npoo/). Another on-yomi /hat-/ is in ご法度 (“prohibition” /gohatto/).

Together with the last post, we have picked up five shapes 合今吉缶 and 去 that originated from a container with a lid. It is quite surprising. In fact there are more to be looked at. I expect that we may have a couple of more posts to cover the remaining kanji. Thank you very much for your reading.  -Noriko [January 20, 2018]

The Kanji 合拾答塔搭今陰含吟貪念捻倉 Container (1)


We are going to look at kanji that originated from a lid over a container. In this post the kanji we are going to look at are: 合拾答塔搭 (containing  合) and 今陰含吟貪念捻 (containing 今) and 倉.

  1. The kanji 合 “to meet; put together; fit; mix”

History of Kanji 合In all three types of ancient writing (oracle bone style in brown, bronze ware style in green and seal style in red) for the kanji 合 it had a container with a lid on top. From the meaning of “a lid and the container fitting well,” it meant “to meet; fit.” The kanji 合 means “to meet; put together; fit; mix.” Of the two kanji that is pronounced as /au/ to mean “to meet,” the kanji 合 is used for things whereas the kanji 会 is for people.  <Composition of the kanji 合: and 𠆢 , 一 and 口>

The kun-yomi 合う /a’u/ means “to fit; meet” and is in  打ち合わせ (“staff meeting” /uchiawase/), 詰め合わせ (“assortment” /tsumeawase/), 言い合い (“argue; verbal fight” /iiai/), 間に合う (“be in time; to manage” /mania‘u/) and 歩合 (“percentage” /buai/). The on-yomi /goo/ is in 合計 (“total sum” /gookee/), 合意する (“to agree upon” /gooi-suru/) and 結合 (“bind; union” /ketsugoo/). Another on-yomi /gatsu/ is in 合作 (“joint work” /gassaku/) and 合唱 (“chorus” /gasshoo/).

  1. The kanji  拾 “to pick up; gather”

History of Kanji 拾The seal style writing of the kanji 拾 comprised “a hand” and 合 used phonetically for /shuu/ to mean “to pick up,” together signifying “a hand picking up a thing.” In kanji the left side became 扌, a bushu tehen “an act that one does using a hand.”  The kanji 拾 means “to pick up; gather.”  <Composition of the kanji 拾: 扌 and 合>

The kun-yomi 拾 /hirou/ means “to pick up” and is in 拾い物 (“find; windfall” /hiroimono/).  /-Biro/ is in 命拾い (“a narrow escape” /inochibi’roi/). The on-yomi /shuu/ is in 拾得物 (“lost-and-found item” /shuutoku’butsu/) and 事態を収拾する (“to get the situation under control” /ji’tai-o shuushuu-suru/).

  1. The kanji 答 “answer”

History of Kanji 答There is no ancient writing for the kanji 答. The writing on the left side is a brush writing from a later time and comprised 艸 “plants; grass” and 合 “to meet” used phonetically for /too/, together forming 荅 “answer.” One view explains 荅 to be two sides of a pea pod, fitting very well. Later the top was replaced by 竹, a bushu takekanmuri “bamboo.” A bushu takekanmuri often pertained to writing because bamboo writing tablets and writing brush had a bamboo handle. It may be the case that the takekanmuri replaced “plants” because writing an answer using a bamboo brush fit better to its meaning. The kanji 答 means “answer.”  <Composition of the kanji 答: 竹 and 合>

The kun-yomi /kota’e/ means “answer.” The on-yomi /too/ is in 答案用紙 (“answer sheet” /tooan-yo’oshi/), 回答 (“answer; response to a question” /kaitoo/) and 解答 (“work out; answer” /kaitoo/).

  1. The kanji 塔 “tower; monument”

History of Kanji 塔The seal style writing for the kanji 塔 comprised 土 “dirt; soil” and 荅 used phonetically for /too/. The writing 塔 was phonetic rendition of 卒塔婆 /sotoba/ from the Sanskrit “stupa,” which was a dome-like monument erected as a Buddha shrine. The kanji 塔 means “tower; monument.”  <Composition of the kanji 塔: 土 and 荅>

There is no on-yomi. The on-yomi /too/ means “tower; monument,” and is in 管制塔 (“control tower” /kanseetoo), 金字塔 (“monumental achievement” /kinjitoo/) and 象牙の塔 (“ivory tower” /zooge-no-too/).

  1. The kanji 搭 “to load; board”

There is no ancient writing for the kanji 搭. The kanji 搭 comprises 扌, a bushu tehen, “an act one does using a hand,” and 荅 used phonetically for /too/ to mean “an action.” The kanji 搭 is now used to mean “to load; board.”  <Composition of the kanji 搭: 扌 and 荅>

There is no kun-yomi. The on-yomi /too/ is in 搭乗券 (“boarding pass” /toojo’oken/) and 搭載する (“to load; be equipped with” /toosai-suru/).

  1. The kanji 今 “now; present time”

History of Kanji 今For the kanji 今 in all three ancient style it comprised “a cover with a stopper for a container or rice wine cask.” (The shape appeared in the top of the anceint writing of the kanji 飲 which we looked at in earlier post.) It was borrowed to mean “present moment; now.” Another explanation is that “the top was capturing the present moment.” The kanji 今 means “now; present time.” <Composition of the kanji 今: 𠆢  and ラ>

The kun-yomi 今 /i’ma/ means “now; present time,” and is in 只今 (“promptly” /tada’ima/) in a humble way. The expression one says when he comes home is pronounced as /tadaima/, an unaccented word.  The on-yomi /kon/ is in 今月 (“this month” /kongetsu/), 今週 (“this week” /konshuu), 今後 (“from now” /kongo/) and 昨今 (“up-date; these days” /sak’kon/). 今年 /kotoshi/ is also a customary reading. Another on-yomi /kin/ is in 今上天皇 (”the reigning emperor; His majesty” /kinjootenno’o/).

  1. The kanji 陰 “shadow; negative”

History of Kanji 陰For the kanji 陰 in the two bronze ware style writings the left comprised “mountains” (vertically placed), “something to cover” and “a cloud rising” underneath, together a mountain blocking the sun and a could under a cover signified “a dark area” or “a shadow.” The contrast between a sunny area and a shadowy area also is used for the contrast between “positive (陽) and negative (陰).” The seal style writing comprised the same components in more stylized shape. The kanji 陰 means “shadow; negative.” <Composition of the kanji 陰: 阝, 今 and 云>

The kun-yomi /ka’ge/ means “shade; dark area.” The on-yomi /in/ is in 陰影 (“shading; nuance” /in-ee-no-a’ru/) and 山陰地方 (“San’in region,” the northern side of the Chugoku region”  /san-in-chi’hoo/) and 陰性 (“negative” /insee/).

  1. The kanji 含 “to contain; include”

History of Kanji 含The seal style writing of the kanji 含 comprised “a cover with a stopper” (今) and “a mouth; box” (口) together signifying “putting something inside a mouth or container.” The kanji 含 means “to contain; include.” <Composition of the kanji 含: 今 and 口>

The kun-yomi 含む /huku’mu/ means “to include; contain.” The on-yomi /gan/ is in 含有量 (“content” /ganyu’uryoo/) and 含蓄のある (“signifying; suble; pregnant with meaning” /ganchiku-no-a’ru/).

  1. The kanji 吟 “to groan; chant”

History of Kanji 吟For the kanji 吟 in seal style the left one comprised 口 “mouth” and 今 “a cover with a stopper” used phonetically for /kin; gin/ to mean “muffling sound in a mouth.” The second one had 音 “sound” instead of 口. The kanji 吟 reflected the left one. From “a muffled voice in a closed mouth” the kanji 吟 means “to groan; chant.” <Composition of the kanji 吟: 口 and 今>

There is no kun-yomi. The on-yomi /gin/ is in 吟味する (“to examine closely” /gi’nmi-suru/) and 詩吟 (“shigin; recitation of Chinese poem” /shigin/).

  1. The kanji 貪 “to covet; be greedy; devour”

History of Kanji 貪The seal style writing of the kanji 貪 comprised “a lid with a stopper” (今) and “a bronze ware vessel” (貝) to store valuables. Together they signified “stashing away greedily with a stopper.” The kanji 貪 means “to covet; be greedy; devour.”  <Composition of the kanji 貪: 今 and 貝>

The kun-yomi 貪る /musaboru/ means “to covet; crave.” The on-yomi /don/ is in 貪欲な (“greedy” /don-yoku-na/).

  1. The kanji 念 “thought; pray; wish; ponder”

History of Kanji 念For the kanji 念 the bronze ware style writing and the seal style writing comprised 今 “a lid to keep something in” and 心 “heart.” Together they meant “a thought that one kept inside his heart for a long time.” The kanji 念 means “thought; pray; wish; ponder.”  <Composition of the kanji 念: 今 and心>

There is no kun-yomi. The on-yomi /nen/ is in 念じる “to pray; wish; hope” /nenjiru/), 失念する “to forget” /shitsunen-suru/), 念願の (“long-cherished” /nengan-no), 雑念 (“idle thoughts; distraction” /zatsunen/) and 念仏 (“to invoke Buddha; pray to Amida Buddha” /nenbutsu-o tonae’ru/).

  1. The kanji 捻 “to twist; bend”

History of Kanji 捻The seal style writing of the 捻 comprised “a hand” and 念 used phoneticallly for /nen/ to mean “twist.” Together they signified “to twist something with fingers.” The kanji 捻 means “to twist; bend.”  <Composition of the kanji 捻: 扌, 今 and 心>

The kun-yomi 捻る /hine’ru/ means “to twist.” The on-yomi /nen/ is in 捻出する (“to squeeze money; manage to come up with money” /nenshutsu-suru/) and 捻挫 (“sprain; ligament rupture” /nenza/).

  1. The kanji 倉 “storage; warehouse; vault”

History of Kanji 倉For the kanji 倉 in oracle bone style and bronze ware style it was  “a grainer,” with “a cover to protect the grain from rain” at the top and “an opening to get the grain out” at the bottom, together signifying “storage of grain.” In seal style the top became a bushu hitoyane. The kanji 倉 means “storage; warehouse; vault.”  <Composition of the kanji 倉: 𠆢 , 戸 with another stroke and 口>

The kun-yomi 倉 /kura’/ means “storage; vault,” and /-gura/ is in 米倉 (“rice storage” /komegura/). The on-yomi /soo/ is in 倉庫 (“warehouse” /so’oko/), 穀倉地帯 (“farm belt” /kokusoochi’tai/).

There are a few more shapes that belong to the group of containers.  We shall continue with them in the next post.  Thank you very much for your reading. – Noriko  [January 13, 2018]

The Kanji 方放倣訪芳坊房防妨肪旁傍-Agricultural tool (3)


As the last post on kanji that originated from an agricultural implement we explore 方 this week. 方 is used phonetically either as /hoo/, as in the kanji 方放倣訪芳, or /boo/, as in the kanji 坊房防妨肪旁傍.

  1. The kanji 方 “direction; option; a square; method”

History of Kanji 方For the kanji 方 in (a) and (b) in oracle bone style, in brown, (c) and (d) in bronze ware style, in green, and (e) in seal style, in red, it was “a plough with a long handle” in which the handle pointing to directions, right and left, the pole at the top and the bottom with tines. From that it signified “four or all directions.” A direction is an “option.” Four directions make “a square.” The kanji 方 means “way; direction; option; a square; method.”

The kun-yomi /kata/ means “way,” as in やり方 (“the way to do” /yarikata/) and in a person in honorific style, as in 出席なさる方 (“a person who attends” /shusseki-nasa’ru-kata/). The on-yomi /hoo/ is in 方向 (“direction” /hookoo/), 方法 (“method; way to do” /hoohoo/), 四方 (“all directions; surrounding” /shiho’o/), 方々 (“everywhere” /ho’oboo/) and 方形 (“rectangular shape” /hookee/), 地方 (“country; rural area; local” /chiho’o/) and 一方で (“on the other hand” /ippo’o-de/).

  1. The kanji 放 “to release; free; emit”

History of Kanji 放For the kanji 放 the bronze ware style writing comprised 方 “all directions” used phonetically for /hoo/ and 攴 “a hand moving a stick,” which eventually became 攵, a bushu bokunyoo/bokuzukuri “to cause” in kanji. Together they meant “a hand letting a thing disperse to various directions; to release.” The kanji 放 means “to release; free; emit; cast.” [Composition of the kanji 放: 方 and 攵]

The kun-yomi /hana’su/ means “to release; let go,” and is in /hana’tsu/ “to emit; let out,” as in 光を放つ (“to give off light; flash” /hikari’o hanatsu/). /-Bana-su/ is in 手放す (“to part with; relinquish; sell” /tebana’su/) and 野放しにする (“to let run loose” /noba’nashi-suru/). The on-yomi /hoo/ is in 放送 (“broadcast” /hoosoo/), 放牧 (“grazing” /hooboku/), 釈放する (“to discharge; release” /shakuhoo/) and 追放 (“deportation; exile” /tuihoo/).

  1. The kanji 倣 “to follow; take after; emulate”

There is no ancient writing for the kanji 倣. The kanji 倣 comprised イ, a bushu ninben “an act that one does,” and 放 used phonetically for /hoo/ to mean “to imitate,” together signifying “to take after.” The kanji 倣 means “to follow; take after; emulate.” [Composition of the kanji 倣: イ, 方 and 攵]

The kun-yomi 倣う /nara’u/ means “to follow; emulate; copy.” The on-yomi /hoo/ is in 模倣する (“to imitate; copy” /mohoo-suru/).

    4. The kanji 訪 “to visit; travel to”

History of Kanji 訪For the kanji 訪 the seal style writing comprised 言 “word; language; to say” and 方 “direction” used phonetically for /hoo/, together signifying “asking how to get to a place” when one visited someone. The kanji 訪 means “to visit; travel to.” [Composition of the kanji 訪: 言 and 方]

The kun-yomi 訪れる /otozure’ru/ means “to visit; come.” The on-yomi /hoo/ is in 訪問 (“visit” /hoomoo/) and 来訪する (“to be visited by” /raihoo-suru/).

  1. The kanji 芳 “fragrant; good”

History of Kanji 芳For the kanji 芳 the seal style writing comprised 艸 “plants” and 方 “to emit; cast” used phonetically for /hoo/. A fragrant plant spreads its aroma in all directions. It is also applied on person having good reputation. The kanji 芳 means “fragrant; good.” [Composition of the kanji 芳: 艹and方 ]

The kun-yomi 芳しい  /kanbashi’i/ means “fragrant.” The on-yomi /hoo/ is in 芳香 (“aroma; sweet smell” /hookoo/) and 芳名録 (“visitor’s book list” /hoome’eroku).

The next kanji 坊房防妨肪旁傍 are all pronounced as /boo/.

  1. The kanji 坊 “tyke; youngster”

History of Kanji 坊The seal style writing of the kanji 坊 comprised 土 “gound; soil” and 方 “a square area” used phonetically for /boo/. Together they originally meant “a block or a section of an area or a house” that was on the ground. The kanji 坊 means “section; living quarters in a temple.” It is also used as a suffix (often affectionately) to mean “tyke; youngster.”  [Composition of the kanji 坊: 土へんand 方]

There is no kun-yomi. The on-yomi /bo’o/ is in 赤ん坊 (“baby” /akanboo/), 朝寝坊 (“late riser” /asane’boo/), 忘れん坊 (“forgetful person” /wasurenboo/), 坊主 (“Buddhist priest” /bo’ozu/) and 坊主頭 (“shaven head; close-cropped hair” /boozua’tama/).

  1. The kanji 房 “room; quarters; tassel”

History of Kanji 房The seal style writing of the kanji 房 comprised 戸 “a single door” and 方 “a square” used phonetically for /boo/. Together they meant “a small quarter that was located on the side of a house.” From that it meant “living quarters; room.” A tassel hangs loosely on the side from the main body, and it meant “a tassel.” The kanji 房 means “room; quarters; tassel; something hanging.” [Composition of the kanji 房: 戸 and 方]

The kun-yomi /husa/ is used as a counter for grapes, as in 一房, and /-busa/ is in 乳房 (“breast” /chibusa/). The on-yomi /boo/ is in 冷房 (“air-conditioner” /reeboo/), 女房 (“wife” /nyo’oboo/) and 文房具 (“stationery; writing materials” /bunbo’ogu/).

  1. The kanji 防 “to prevent; defend”

History of Kanji 防In seal style the left writing of the kanji 防 comprised a bushu kozatohen “mountains; dirt wall” and 方 “four directions” used phonetically for /boo/. The second writing had 土 added to emphasize “dirt.” Together they signified “a high dirt wall that was built to prevent an enemy from coming in.” The kanji 防 means “to prevent; defend.” [Composition of the kanji 防: 阝 and 方]

The kun-yomi 防ぐ /huse’gu/ means “to prevent.” The on-yomi /boo/ is in 予防 (“prevention” /yoboo/), 防衛 (“defence” /booee/) and 堤防 (“dike; embankment” /teeboo/).

  1. The kanji 妨 “to obstruct; hamper”

History of Kanji 妨The seal style writing of the kanji 妨 comprised 女 “woman; female” and 方 used phonetically for /boo/ to mean “to prevent,” perhaps related to 防. Together preventing to come close to a woman meant “to obstruct.” The kanji 妨 means “to obstruct; hamper.” [Composition of the kanji 妨: 女へん and 方]

The kun-yomi 妨げる /samatage’ru/ means “to obstruct,” and is in 妨げとなる (“to become an obstacle” /samatage-to-na’ru/). The on-yomi /boo/ is in 妨害する (“to hinder; obstruct” /boogai-suru/).

  1. The kanji 肪 “fat”

History of Kanji 肪The seal style writing of the kanji 肪 comprised 月 “a part of a body,” which become a bushu nikuzuki, and 方used phonetically for /boo/ to mean “to spread out.” The part of one’s body that spreads out meant “fat; corpulent.” The kanji 肪 means “fat.” [Composition of the kanji 肪: 月 and 方]

There is no kun-yomi. The on-yomi /boo/ is in 脂肪 (“fat” /shiboo/), 脂肪分 (“fat content” /shibo’obun/) and 牛脂 (“beef fat” /gyuushi/).

  1. The kanji 旁 “right side component of kanji”

History of Kanji 旁The kanji 旁 is used for the word 旁 /tsukuri/ “the right side of kanji that usually carries a phonetic feature,” in contrast to 扁 /hen/ “the left side of kanji that usually carries a semantic feature.” The kanji 旁 is not a frequently kanji at all. (It does not come in among the 2200 kanji by frequency in Tokuhiro (2014).) Nonetheless for us kanji learners it may pop up sometimes, so we include it here.

The shape at the top of (a) in oracle bone style and (c) in bronze ware style appeared in the ancient writings of other kanji (such as 凡 and 同 among other kanji), and is generally viewed as “a board”  A board signifies “a square with four sides. (b) had a bar in which two ends were marked. It meant “side.” The kanji 旁 meant “side; on the side.”

  1. The kanji 傍 “side; to stand by”

History of Kanji 傍The seal style writing of the kanji 傍 comprised “an act that one does” and 旁 “on the side,” used phonetically for /boo/. Together they signified “a person standing by the side” (for a reason.) The kanji 傍 means “side; to stand by.” [Composition of the kanji 傍: イand 旁]

The kun-yomi 傍 /katawara/ means “side.” The on-yomi /boo/ means 傍観する (“to look on; stand by” /bookan-suru/) and 傍聴席 (“seat for the public; pubic gallery” /boocho’oseki/).

In the next post, we shall move onto a group of kanji that originated from a container or something that holds stuff. Thank you very much for your reading.  – Noriko [January 6, 2018]