In the last post we explored kanji that came from the shape that described something wrapped in cloth that was tied around at both ends and in the middle and had a shaft going through in the middle. By itself it became the kanji 東. In this post we are going to look at two other shapes that contain the same origin but with additional components. In the kanji 重腫種 “dirt” and “a person” were added, while in the kanji 童動働衝鐘憧瞳 “a tattooing needle over an eye” signifying “slave” was added.
Let us begin with the three kanji 重腫 and 種: To 東, 土“dirt; soil” and “a person” were added.
The kanji 重 “heavy; large; to treasure; to lay over”
For the kanji 重 (a) in bronze ware style, in green, comprised “a person” at the top, “stuff wrapped in cloth tied around at both ends and in the middle with a shaft going through,” as in 東, and “soil” (土) signifying “weight” at the bottom. Together “a person standing on top of a heavy load stamping it down on the ground” meant “heavy.” Putting something over from the top also meant “to lay over; pile; repeat.” Something heavy should not be taken lightly and meant “important; previous.” The kanji 重 means “heavy; large; to treasure; to lay over.” [Composition of the kanji 重: ノ, 一 and 里 with the vertical line reaching ノ]
The kun-yomi 重い /omoi/ means “heavy; grave,” and is in 重荷 (“heavy load; responsibility” /omoni/) and 身重 (“pregnant” /miomo/). The second kun-yomi 重ねる /kasaneru/ means “to repeat; lay over.” The third kun-yomi /e/ is in 八重桜 (“double-pedaled cherry bloosom” /yaeza’kura/), 二重 (“twofold” /huta’e/). The on-yomi /juu/ is in 重量 (“weight” /juuryo’o/), 重要な (“important” /juuyoo-na/) and 厳重に (“sternly; closely” /genjuu-ni/). Another on-yomi /choo/ is in 重宝する (“to find something useful; handy” /cho’ohoo-suru/), 貴重な (“precious; important” /kichoo-na/) and 慎重に(“cautiously” /shinchoo-ni/).
The kanji 腫 “swelling; boil; tumor”
The seal style writing of the kanji 腫 comprised 月, a bushu nikuzuki “part of the body” and 重 used phonetically for /shu/ to mean something inside. The curved shape of tied stuff was applied to one’s body and meant “swelling; boil; tumor.” The kanji 腫 means “swelling; boil; tumor.” [Composition of the kanji 腫: 月 and 重]
The kun-yomi 腫れる /hareru/ means “to swell.” The on-yomi /shu/ is in 腫瘍 (“tumor” /shuyoo/).
The kanji 種 “seed; kind; sort”
For the kanji 種 in seal style (a) comprised 禾 “rice plant with crop” and 重 “heavy” used phonetically for /shu/. Grains that were full and heavy made good seeds and were kept for the next sowing. Seeds also differentiated plants. (The right side of (b) is the shape we look at in the next group.) The kanji 種 means “seed; kind; sort.” [Composition of the kanji 種: 禾 and 重]
The kun-yomi 種 /ta‘ne/ means “seed.” /-Dane/ is in 一粒種 (“the only child of someone” /hitotsubuda’ne/). The on-yomi /shu/ is in 種類 (“kind; sort” /shurui/), 人種 (“race; ethnic group” /jinshu/) and 品種 (“kind” /hinshu/).
The next shape was in the kanji 童動働衝鐘憧瞳– to 東, “a tattooing needle” and “an eye” were added.
4.The kanji 童 “young child”
The bronze ware style writing of the kanji 童 was very long because it contained four separate components on top of another. The top had “a tattooing needle” (辛) and “an eye” (目), together signifying “a prisoner or slave who got tattooed above the eyes.” The bottom had “rolled stuff tied with a pole through” (東) and “dirt” (土), together making up 重 “heavy.” Altogether they signified “a prisoner or a slave who was made to do manual labor such as moving heavy dirt.” The meaning of punishment was dropped. Someone who was ignorant like a prisoner or slave meant “child.” The seal style writing dropped “an eye.” In kanji a needle became 立 and the bottom coalesced into 里 (no relation to the kanji 里). The kanji 童 means “young child.” [Composition of the kanji 童: 立 and 里]
The kun-yomi 童 /wa’rabe/ is in 童歌 or わらべ歌 (“children’s nursery song” /warabe’uta/). The on-yomi /doo/ is in 童謡 (“children’s song” /dooyoo/) and 童心に帰る(“to retrieve one’s childlike innocence” /dooshin-ni ka’eru/).
The kanji 動 “to move”
For the kanji 動 in bronze ware style (a) was the same as 童 “prisoner; slave” who moved heavy stuff. (b) had “a crossroad” on the left, 童 on the right and “a footprint” at the bottom. Together they meant “to move or push forward something heavy.” (c) in Old style a crossroad and a footprint became 辵, the precursor of a bushu shinnyoo, and 重. However, in (d) in seal style instead of 辵 力“a plough” was used to include strenuous work such as field work. The kanji 動 means “to move.” [Composition of the kanji 動: 重 and 力]
The kun-yomi 動く/ugo’ku/ and its transitive counterpart 動かす /ugoka’su/ mean “to move.” The on-yomi /doo/ is in 移動する (“to move; shift” /idoo-suru), 手動 (“manual operation” /shudoo/), 原動力 (“driving force” /gendo’oryoku/), 行動 (“behavior; act” /koodoo/), 動物 (“animal” /doobutsu/) and 一挙一動 (“every move; the slightest move” /i’kkyo ichidoo/).
The kanji 働 “to work; operate”
The kanji 働 was created in Japan, thus no ancient writing existed. The kanji 働 comprises イ, a bushu ninben “an act that one does,” and 動, whose original meaning was “manual heavy work” used phonetically for /doo/. Together they meant “one working hard like doing field work or moving heavy stuff.” The kanji 働 means “to work; operate.” [Composition of the kanji 働: イ, 重 and 力]
The kun-yomi 働く /hataraku/ meant “to work.” /-Batara-ki/ is in 只働き (“working for nothing.” The on-yomi /doo/ is in 労働者 (“laborer” /roodo’osha/), 稼働する(“to operate; work” /kadoo-suru/) and 実働時間 (“actual working hours” /jitsudooji’kan/).
The kanji 衝 “to collide; crash”
For the kanji 衝 the two seal style writings both had 行 “crossroad” signifying “to move forward.” Inside (a) was 童 used phonetically for /shoo/ to mean “to strike” while (b) had 重 used phonetically for /shoo/. The original meaning of a pole going through gave the meaning “to push something through.” Together “striking or to push something forward” meant “to collide; road.” The kanji 衝 means “to collide; crash.” [Composition of the kanji 衝: 彳, 重 and the right side of 行]
There is no kun-yomi. The on-yomi /shoo/ is in 衝突 (“collision; clash; falling-out” /shoototsu/), 衝動的な (“impulsive” /shoodoo-teki-na/) and 衝撃 (“impact; shock” /shoogeki/).
8. The kanji 鐘 “a large bell”
For the kanji 鐘 (a), (b) and (c) comprised 金 “metal” and 童 used phonetically for shoo. It was a large bell for a festival and religious rite to strike with a stick. The kanji 鐘 means “a large bell.” [Composition of the kanji 鐘: 鐘 and 童]
The kun-yomi 鐘 /kane/ means “a bell.” The on-yomi /shoo/ is in 警鐘 (“alarm bell” /keeshoo/).
The kanji 憧 “unsettled; to yearn after; admire”
The seal style writing of the kanji 憧 comprised “a heart,” which became 忄, a bushu risshinben “heart” placed on the left side, and 童 used phonetically for /doo/. Together they meant “an unsettled heart.” It also means “to yearn after; admire.” The kanji 憧 means “unsettled; to yearn after; admire.”[Composition of the kanji 憧: 忄and 童]
The kun-yomi 憧れ /akogare/ means “yearning.” The on-yomi /doo/ is in 憧憬 (“yearning” /dookee/).
The kanji 瞳 “pupil; eye”
There is no ancient writing of the kanji 瞳. The kanji comprised 目 “eye” and 童 used phonetically for /too/. Together they meant “pupil of an eye.” The kanji 瞳 means “pupil; eye.” [Composition of the kanji 瞳: 目 and 童]
The kun-yomi 瞳 /hitomi/ means “pupil; eye.” The on-yomi /doo/ is in 瞳孔 (“pupil” /dookoo/).
Our “something wrapped in cloth that was tied around on both ends and in the middle and had a shaft going through in the middle” (I need to rephrase this wordy descrition at one point) does not end with the twenty kanji we have explored. It extends to another small group of kanji and that will be our topic next week. Thank you very much for your reading. – Noriko [April 21, 2018]