The Kanji 丁打訂頂予序預幻互緑録克- Tool (2)

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In this second post on kanji that originated from “carpenter’s tools” we are going to explore the kanji 丁打訂頂(丁), 予序預幻(予), 互, 緑録(彔) and 克.

  1.  The kanji 丁 “a square block; counter for a square section”

History of Kanji 丁There are two different meanings associated with the ancient writings of 丁 – one is “an area; a square” and another “a nailhead” that was viewed from above or from the side. (In our blogs, oracle bone style is shown in brown; bronze ware style in green; and seal style in red.) A nail got pounded down flat in a straight angle, thus it meant something “right angle; flat,” and “a square block.” In Japan it is used as a counter for a square block as well as in an address for a section of an areas in a large city, such as 銀座四丁目 (“Fourth block of the Ginza area in Tokyo” /ginza-yonchoome/). The kanji 丁 means “a (square) block; section; counter for a section.”

There is no kun-yomi. The on-yomi /choo/ is in 丁度 (“just; precisely; barely” /choodo/), and 三丁目 (“3-chome; third block” /sanchoome/). Another on-yomi /tee/ is in 丁寧な (“polite” /te’enee-na/) and 丁重に (“courteously; respectfully” /teechoo-ni/). The expression 一丁上がり /icchooagari/ means “Now finished!; the dish is ready!” We used to buy tofu at a tofu shop by small blocks, such as お豆腐二丁下さい (“May I have two pieces of tofu, please?” /otoohu ni’choo-kudasai/), but nowadays tofu comes in a plastic container in all sorts of sizes and 丁 is no longer needed.

  1. The kanji 打 “to hit; pound on”

History of Kanji 打The seal style writing of the kanji 打 comprised “a hand; an act that one does using a hand” and 丁 “square; a right angle.” Together a hand over a nailhead meant “to hit; strike hard.” 打 was also used to make a word without adding the meaning “to hit.” The kanji 打 means “to hit; pound on.” <Composition of the kanji: 扌and 丁>

The kun-yomi 打つ /u’tsu/ means “to hit; strike hard,” and is in 打ち消す (“to negate; contradict” /uchikesu/) and 打ち上げる (“to launch; conclude” /uchiageru/). The on-yomi /da/ is in 打撃 (“batting; damage; blow” /dageki/), 打者 (“slugger; batter” /da’sha/), 打楽器 (“percussion instructment” /daga’kki/), 打算的な (“calculating” /dasanteki-na/) and 一網打尽 (“making a roundup arrest” /ichimoo-dajin/).

  1.  The kanji 訂 ‘to correct; revise; amend”

History of Kanji 訂The seal style writing of the kanji 訂 comprised 言 “word; language; to say” and 丁 “straight; right angle,” which was used phonetically for /tee/.  Together they meant “to make words right.” The kanji 訂 means “to correct; revise; amend.” <Composition of the kanji 訂: 言 and 丁>

There is no kun-yomi. The on-yomi /tee/ is in 訂正 (“correction; revision” /teesee/) and 改訂版 (“revised edition” /kaiteeban/).

  1. The kanji 頂 “summit; top”

History of Kanji 頂The seal style writing comprised 丁 “a flat nailhead,” which was used phonetically for /choo/, and 頁, a bushu oogai “head,” from a man with formal headdress. Together they meant “a flat top area; summit; the top of one’s head.” In Japanese this kanji is also used for a humble verb for “to receive.” Comparing to another kanji 戴 for “to receive,” 頂 is used more casually. The kanji 頂 means “summit; top; to receive (humble style).” <Composition of the kanji 訂:  丁 and 頁>

The kun-yomi 頂く /itadaku/ means “to receive; hold above one’s head,” and is also in 山の頂 “mountain summit” /yama-no-itadaki/). The on-yomi /choo/ is in 頂上 (“top; summit” /choojo’o/), 有頂天 (“ecstatic; rapturous” /ucho’oten/) and 仏頂面をする (“to look sullen” /bucchoozura-o-suru/).

The component 予 appear in 予序預, and oddly in 幻 coming from the upside shape of 予.

  1. The kanji 予 “in advance; preliminary; allowances”

History of Kanji 予For the kanji 予 there are two different writings (a) and (b) in seal style to account for the kyuji (c), in blue, and the shinji (d). (a) was a “weaving shuttle with a thread hanging down.” A weaving shuttle was pushed through the warps that were loosened on the loom. From “making room in advance of a shuttle’s passing” the kanji 予 meant “in advance; preliminary; allowances.” (b) had 象 “elephant,” which had been explained that the large size and slow movement of an elephant signified “large; relaxed; loose.” (c) reflected (b). In shinji, 象 was dropped. The kanji 予 means “in advance; preliminary.” The kanji for the original meaning, a weaving shuttle, is the non-Joyo kanji 杼 with a bushu kihen “wooden.” <Composition of the kanji 予: マ and 了>

The kun-yomi 予め /arakajime/ means “in advance.” The on-yomi /yo/ is in 予定 (“schedule; plan” /yotee/), 余裕 (“allowances; additional coverage” /yoyuu/) and 猶予 (“hesitation; postponement” /yu’uyo/).

  1. The kanji 序 “order; beginning of an order”

History of Kanji 序For the kanji 序, the top left of the seal style writing was the eaves or an addition to a house. Under that 予 “extra room” was used phonetically for /jo/. The extended area next to the main house was used as a place or school where propriety was taught. From that the kanji 序 meant “order; beginning of an order.” It is sometimes used for the word 序でに “while I am at it (I do another thing); taking the opportunity,” perhaps from the sense of order.<Composition of the kanji 序: 广 and 予>

The kun-yomi 序でに “while (you) are at it” (not on the Joyo kanji list). The on-yomi /jo/ is 順序 (“order” /ju’njo/), 秩序 (“order; discipline” /chitsu’jo/), 序曲 (“prelude” /jo’kyoku/), 年功序列 (“seniority system” /nenkoojo’retsu/) and 序の口 (“lowest ranking” /jonokuchi/).

  1. The kanji 預 “to deposit; temporary custody”

History of Kanji 預For the kanji 預 the left side of the seal style writing was 予 “roomy; extra,” which was used phonetically for /yo/. The right side 頁 was a man with a ceremonial hat or a “head.” How they came to mean “to deposit; leave something for a temporary custody” is not clear, perhaps it signified an act that one does for future purpose. The kanji 預 means “to leave for a temporary custody; deposit.” <Composition of the kanji 預:  予 and 頁>

The kun-yomi 預ける /azuke’ru/ means “to deposit; leave for temporary custody” and its intransitive counterpart 預かる /azuka’ru/ means “to keep; take care of.” The on-yomi /yo/ is in 預金 (“bank deposit; saving in a bank” /yokin/).

  1. The kanji 幻 “illusion; magic”

History of Kanji 幻The ancient writing for the kanji 幻 was the upside down image of 予, showing the thread coming out at the top. Pulling a shuttle in the wrong way caused confusion in weaving, signifying something that was not correct or real, thus “illusion.” Very clever!  The kanji 幻 means “illusion; magic.”

The kun-yomi 幻 /maboroshi/ means “illusion.” The on-yomi /gen/ is in 幻想的な (“fantastic; visionary” /gensooteki-na/) and 幻覚 (“hallucination” /genkaku/).

  1. The kanji 互 “each other; alternately”

History of Kanji 互For the kanji 互 the seal style writing was “a tool to make a rope by twisting threads alternately from two of more sides.” The kanji 互 means “each other; alternately.”

The kun-yomi 互い /tagai/ means “mutual; each other” and is in 互い違い (“alternate” /tagaichi’gai/). The on-yomi /go/ is in 交互に (“alternately” /ko’ogo-ni/), 相互の (“mutual” /so’ogo-no/), 互角の (“well-matched; equal” /gogaku-no/) and 互換性 (“compatibility” /gokansee/).

History of Kanji 彔The component 彔 – The right side 彔 of the kyuji for the kanji 緑 and 録 had its own history as shown on the right. It was a twisting devise for wringing wet threads or drilling a piece of wood, creating spills around. It was phonetically /roku/.

10. The kanji 緑 “green”
History of Kanji 緑For the kanji 緑 (a) in oracle bone style and (c) in the styles found in documents, in gray, and (d) in seal style had a skein of threads (糸). The right side was a twisting devise for wringing wet threads or drilling a piece of wood, creating spills around or sawdust. It was also used phonetically for /roku/ to mean “green.” A skein of threads that was green gave the meaning “green.” The kanji 緑 means “color of green.” <Composition of the kanji 緑: 糸, ヨ with a long stroke and 氺>

The kun-yomi 緑 /mi’dori/ means “green.” The on-yomi /ryoku/ is in 緑化運動 (“tree-planting drive” /ryokka-u’ndoo/) and 新緑 (“fresh green; new leaves in spring” /shinryoku/), 常緑樹 (“evergreen tree” /jooryoku’ju/) and 緑茶 (“green tea” /ryokucha/). Another on-yomi /roku/ is in 緑青 (“copper green rust; verdigris patina” /rokusho’o/).

  1.  The kanji 録 “to record”

History of Kanji 録For the kanji 録, in seal style 金 “metal” and 彔 “green” together meant greenish color of bronze ware, on which record of important events were cast, and was used phonetically for /roku/ “to record.” The kanji 録 means “records; to record.” <Composition of the kanji 録: 金, ヨ with a long stroke and 氺>

There is no kun-yomi. The on-yomi /roku/ is in 記録 (“record” /kiroku/), 目録  (“catalogue; inventory” /mokuroku/), 実録 (“papers; authentic record” /jitsuroku/), 回顧録 (“memoirs” /kaiko’roku/), 議事録 (“minutes; proceeding of meeting” /giji’roku/) and 登録 (“registration” /tooroku/).

  1. The kanji 克 “to overcome”

History of Kanji 克The kanji 克 had a stream of records from the ancient times. How we interpret them is another matter. One view is that (a) and (b) in oracle bone style (c) in bronze ware style was “a curved knife with a large handle at the top and that a handgrip on the side that was used to core out.” (d) in Old style showed that it had saw-dust. The writing was borrowed to mean “to overcome.” Another view is that the ancient writings was a person with a heavy helmet, sitting with his legs bent and enduring the weight. In this account the kanji shape 克 is explained as a person (兄) with a helmet. In my view whichever appeals to you for your study should be fine. The kanji 克 means “to overcome.” <Composition of the kanji 克: a short 十 and 兄>

There is no kun-yomi. The on-yomi /koku/ is in 克服 (“to overcome” /kokuhuku-suru/), 克己心 (“self-control” /kokki’shin/), 克明な (“scrupulous; minute” /kokumee-na/) and 下克上 “social upheaval; junior dominating senior” /gekoku’joo/).

I expect that we shall have a couple or three more posts on kanji that originated from a tool. Thank you very much for your reading. – Noriko [December 16, 2017]

The Kanji 庫席広黄庭廷序店占座床 – まだれ

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A bushu madare 广 and gandare 厂 are similar in shape but their sources are different. A madare came from a house or a building in which one side was against a wall, the other open for access, and a roof. On the other hand a gandare came from a “cliff”; thus it belongs to the category of nature in our study. The type of bushu that has the name /tare/ or /-dare/ has a top and left side and it comes from the verb 垂れる(“to hang down” /tare’ru/). /Ma/ is from the on-yomi for the kanji 麻. In this post we are going to look at the kanji 庫席広庭序店座床 and 黄廷占 as related shapes.

  1. The kanji 庫 “storage; warehouse”

History of Kanji 庫For the kanji 庫, in bronze ware style, in green, it had a wall on one side with a roof and a vehicle, 車. A place that housed a vehicle was a garage for military vehicles. It meant “storage place; warehouse.” The shape did not change through ten style, in red, and kanji. There is no kun-yomi. The on-yomi /ko/ is in 車庫 (“garage” /sha’ko/), 車庫入れ (“driving a car into a garage” /shakoire/), 書庫 (“library; stacks of books” /sho’ko/), 文庫本 (“pocket edition” /bunkobon/) and 在庫 (“inventory” /zaiko/).

  1. The kanji 席 “seat”

History of Kanji 席For the kanji 席, in bronze ware style inside the house was a piece of cloth to spread over a seat. The shape in gray, which the Setsumon gave as an earlier style 古文 /kobun/ than ten style, had a woven mat inside the house. Together they signified “a place to sit; a seat.” In ten style, it took the bronze ware style writing except that a cooking pot was added above a cloth. From people sitting by a cooking pot over a fire, it meant a “seat; a place to sit.” There is no kun-yomi. The on-yomi 席 /se’ki/ “seat” is in 座席 (“seat” /zaseki/), 空席 (“empty seat” /kuuseki/), 席順 (“seating order” /sekijun/), 同席する (“to be among company” /dooseki-suru).

  1. The kanji 広 “wide; spacious”

History of Kanji 広For the kanji 広, in oracle bone style, in brown, the inside of a house was a fire arrow with a balancing weight or combustible in the middle. When a fire arrow was shot in the air at night it illuminated a wide area. In bronze ware style the wall on the right side was lost. It meant “wide; spacious.” The ten style writing was reflected in the kyujitai 廣, in blue, in which an arrowhead was separate. In shinjitai, the inside was totally replaced by the katakana /mu/ ム, which was often used to replace a complex shape.

History of Kanji 黄(frame)The kanji 黄: As we can easily guess from the kyujitai of the kanji 広, the kanji 広 was closely related to the kanji 黄 “yellow.” The kanji 黄 came straight out of the pictograph of a fire arrow. The color of a fire was yellow and that became its meaning. The history of the kanji 黄 is shown on the right. The kyujitai shown 黃 is in Mincho style (The kyokashotai font I use does not include the kyujitai for 黄). If we look closely at the kyujitai, we see that there was an extra stroke that showed an arrowhead in ten style.

The kun-yomi 広い /hiro’i/ means “wide; spacious,” and is in 広場 (“square; plaza” /hi’roba/), 広間 (“hall; large room” /hi’roma/) and 手広く (“extensively” /tebiro’ku/). The on-yomi /ko’o/ is in 広告 (“advertisement” /kookoku/).

  1. The kanji 庭 “garden” and  廷 “courtyard”

History of Kanji 庭For the kanji 庭, the earliest writing sample available to us is in ten style. It had a wall on one side and a roof, and the inside was 廷 “court.” Fortunately I have found the ancient writing of the kanji 廷, shown on the right.

History of Kanji 廷(frame)The Kanji 廷: 廷 by itself is a kanji and it’s bronze ware style writings are abundant. In (a) and (b) it had a standing person on the upper right, a mound of soil in the middle, and a wall on the lower left side. Together they signified a place where the god of the earth was being celebrated in the courtyard of the palace. It meant “court; courtyard.” In (c) the three lines signified rice wine being sprinkled to sanctify the area. In ten style (d), the lower left became what would become a bushu ennyoo “extended roadway.” It is used in the word 宮廷 (“royal court” /kyuutee/).

Later on by adding a bushu madare 广 “house with one side open,” 庭 meant “garden.” The kun-yomi 庭 /niwa/ means “garden,” and is in 庭先 (“front garden” /niwasaki/), 中庭 (“inner court” /nakaniwa/), and 庭いじり (“gardening” as a hobby /niwai’jiri/). The on-yomi /te’e/ is in 庭園 (“large garden” /teen/).

  1. The kanji 序 “order; beginning” and 予 “advance; preliminary”

History of Kanji 序In ten style of the kanji 序, the inside shape 予 was a weaving shuttle that was pushed through the loom between the threads. In order for the shuttle to go through, the threads were loosened to make room. From making room in advance it meant “in advance; preliminary.” The shape of a wall and a roof was used to signify the eave or addition to the main house. The extended area next to the main house was used as a place or school where propriety was taught. From that the kanji 序 meant “order; beginning of an order.” The kun-yomi 序でに /tsuide-ni/ means “while (you) are at it; taking the opportunity.” The on-yomi /jo/ is in 順序よく (“in good order” /ju’njoyoku/), 序列 (“order; ranking” /joretsu/), 秩序 (“order; ranking’ /chitsu’jo”).

The next three kanji did not have ancient writing but by adding a bushu madare to an existing kanji, a new kanji was created.

  1. The kanji 店 “shop; store” and 占 “divination; fortune telling”

In the kanji 店, inside the bushu madare is 占, and 占 was used phonetically to mean “a place; to occupy.” Adding a bushu madare, “a house with one side open,” they meant “store; shop.” The kun-yomi 店 /mise’/ means “store; shop,” and is in 出店 “stall; booth.” The on-yomi /te’n/ is in 小売店 (“retail store” /kouri’ten/), 免税店 (“duty-free store” /menze’eten/). Customarily it is also read as /tana’/, and it is in 店子 (“tenant” /tanako/) and 店卸し (“inventorying; stocktaking” /tanaoroshi/).

History of Kanji 占(frame)The Kanji 占: We have oracle bones style samples for the kanji 占, as shown on the right. In the left sample the top was lines that appeared on a tortoise shell or an animal bone when it was heated. In the right sample the exterior line was probably the outline of the tortoise shell or an animal bone. The crack lines were read as the god’s oracle. Together they meant “fortune telling; divination.” How those lines were interpreted by a fortuneteller is not known. It is used in 占い (“fortune telling; divination” /uranai/) in kun-yomi, and 占領軍 (“occupation army” /senryo’ogun/) in on-yomi.

  1. The kanji 座 “a place to sit; company; to sit”

History of Kanji 坐(frame)The kanji 座 does not have ancient writing. It is believed to be the newer form of the 坐 “to sit.”

The Kanji 坐: The kanji 坐 had the ancient writings, as shown on the right. The earlier style, in gray, had two people (人) facing each other and the middle was the ground (土). Together they meant “to sit.” The kanji 坐 is not a Joyo kanji and now the kanji 座 is used in place of 坐.

For the kanji 座, 坐 was used phonetically for /za/ to mean “to sit.” Adding a bushu madare “house” made a kanji that meant “a place to sit.” From people sitting and doing something together, it also meant a “troupe” or “company.”

The kun-yomi /suwaru/ 座る means “to sit,” and is in 居座る (“to stay on for a long time” /isuwa’ru/), usually an unwelcome act. The on-yomi /za/ is in 正座する (“to sit on one’s heels; to sit up straight” /seeza-suru/), 土下座する (“to kneel down on the ground (in begging forgiveness)” /dogeza-suru/), 一座 (“troupe” /ichi’za/) and 座を保つ (“to keep a group entertained” /za-o-tamo’tsu/). The expression 座右の銘 /zayuu-no-me’e/ means “one’s favorite motto.” StrokeOrder座The stroke order is shown on the right.

  1. The kanji 床 “floor: bed”

The kyujitai for the kanji 床 was 牀, in which the left side was a vertically placed bed with legs, and the right side was the kanji 木 “wood.” Together they meant a wooden bed, a wooden surface or floor. In shinjitai, the bed has been replaced by a bushu madare “house.” It meant “bed” or “floor.” The kun-yomi 床 /yuka/ means “floor.” Another kun-yomi /toko/ is in 床につく (“to go to bed; to be sick in bed” /toko-ni-tsu’ku/), 床屋 (“barbers shop; barbers” /tokoya/), 床の間 (“an alcove in Japanese house” to hang art work or to place flowers and objects. /tokonoma/) and 寝床 (“a place to sleep; bed; futon laid out on tatami” /nedoko’/). The on-yomi /sho’o/ is in 病床 (“sick bed” /byooshoo/).

In the next three postings, we are going to look at the kanji that contain 田 “rice paddies” and the related kanji. [June 27, 2015]