The Kanji 代貸袋


This short post is in respose to a reader’s request to discuss the kanji 代.

  1. The kanji 代 “to change; instead; time; generation; substitute”

There is no writing earlier than seal style in any of the three kanji that contain 弋. What it originated from is not clear, but it was used phonetically for /tai/ or /dai/ to mean “to change.” For the kanji 代, the seal style writing comprisedイ“an act that one does” and 弋 phonetically for tai or dai to mean “change,” together changing people meant “generations; to change.” The kanji 代 also meant “the duration of time; one’s lifetime; a substitute.” The kanji 代 means “to change; instead; time; generation; substitute.”

The kun-yomi /yo/ is in 君が代 “Kimigayo; Japanese national anthem” /kimigayo/. Another kun-yomi /shiro/ is in 飲み代 “drinking money” /nomishiro/. The on-yomi /dai/ is in 初代 “the first generation; the founder” /sho’dai/, 一世一代 “once in a lifetime” /i’sse ichi’dai/ and 代理 “representation; a proxy; surrogate” /dairi/, 近代化 “modernization” /kindaika/ and 世代 “generation” /se’dai/. Another on-yomi /tai/ is in 交代”change; replacement; substitute” /kootai/.  [Composition of the kanji 代:  イ and 弋]

  1. The kanji 貸 “to lend”

For the kanji 貸 the seal style writing comprised イ“an act that a person does” on the left and 弋 on the top right, forming 代 “to change” phonetically for tai. The bottom center was 貝“a cowrie; something valuable.” Together something valuable changing hands meant “to lend something to another person (and get it back).” The kanji 貸 means “to lend.”

The kun-yomi /ka/ is in 貸す”to lend” /kasu/, 貸し出し “lending; circulation; rental” /kashidashi/, 貸家 “rented house” /shakuya/, 貸し間 “room for rent; room to let” /kashima/ and 金貸し”moneylending business” /kanekashi/. The on-yomi /tai/ is in 貸与”lending; loan” /ta’iyo/ and 賃貸 “lease; letting; renting out” /chintai/.  [Composition of the kanji 貸: 代 and 貝]

  1. The kanji 袋 “bag”

The top of the seal style writing was 代used phonetically for tai. The bottom was  巾“cloth.” Together they signified “cloth bag.” In kanji 巾was replaced by 衣“clothes.” The kanji 袋means “bag.”

The kun-yomi /hukuro/ is in 袋 “bag; sack; pouch” /hukuro/ and 袋小路 “cul-de-sac; blind alley” /hukuroko’oji/,  /-Bukuro/ is in 胃袋 “the stomach” /ibu’kuro/, 手袋 “gloves” /tebu’kuro/ and 天袋 “a built-in storage cupboard above oshiire” /tenbu’kuro/. 袋 also makes up the word 足袋”Japanese split-toe socks” /ta’bi/. [Composition of the kanji 袋: 代 and 衣]

Note: The shape 弋 is not to be confused with the kanji 伐 “to cut down; attack” (discussed in the post The Kanji 戈戒械成城誠伐閥我-戈“halberd” (1) on December 16, 2017) or the kanji 式”ceremony” (discussed in The Kanji 式試拭任妊作昨酢詐搾巨拒距規- Tool (1) on December 9, 2017).  Thank you very much for your reading. – Noriko  [October 21, 2018]

2 thoughts on “The Kanji 代貸袋

  1. Sensei, thank you for all the hard work you have been putting into this blog so far! I’m working as a Japanese teacher for children and young adults for about two months now and your Kanji portraits are vital to how I introduce them to the topic of Kanji. I’m sure you are aware of how many teaching and studying resources on Kanji are out there, all with more or less forced visuals trying to make memorizing them easier, but I never found them helpful when studying Kanji myself. As I grew older and started to learn about radicals, I wondered why people were putting so much effort into trying to come up with a comprehensible memorizing system for Kanji when in fact, there is already one?

    I find that my students share my views on this. As they told me, they have a much easier time remembering meanings and strokes now that they understand what the individual parts mean and where they come from. For that, I always draw heavily from your explanations (with credit, of course) and I am always very excited when it is time for my favourite topic – Kanji – again, because not only do I find my pupils, even the younger ones, very invested in Kanji history, but I also never fail to learn something new.

    Thank you a lot for creating this invaluable asset!

    • Thank you very much for your comments, Fachi-san. I have always thought that knowing that kanji came from something real can help to “humanize” dry kanji study. I am delighted to know that what I was sharing with the public on this blog caught your eyes. I wish you and your students my best wishes in successful teaching and learning. -Noriko

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