The Kanji 即既憤概・会曽増層憎僧贈- Food (2)


Last week we started exploring kanji that originated food and kitchen, etc. In this second article, two groups of kanji are looked at: The first group is 即既慨概, which contained “food in a raised bowl.” In addition to that three of them contained 旡 “someone with full stomach.” The second group – 会曽層増憎僧贈 – came from “layers in a food steamer” for its meaning and sound.

  1. The kanji 即 “immediate; to accede to the throne; namely”

History of Kanji 即For the kanji 即 in (a) in oracle bone style, in brown, (b) and (c) in bronze ware style, in green, and (d) in seal style, in red, the left side was “food in a raised bowl,” and the right side was “a person about to take a seat to eat.” A person about to do something gave the meaning “at once; immediately.” The sense of immediacy was also used to mean “accession to a throne” (it happens immediately after a predecessor’s death). The kyuji 卽, (e) in blue, comprised 皀 (often explained as “a bowl of food” and “a spoon” (ヒ)), and 卩 “a kneeling person.” In shinji the left side became the bottom of a bushu shokuhen. The kanji 即 means “immediate; instance; to accede to the throne; namely.”

The kun-yomi 即ち /suna’wachi/ means “namely; just; precisely.” The on-yomi /soku/ is in 即時 (“immediate; prompt” /so’kuji/), 即位 (“enthrone” /so’kui/), 即席 (“instant; impromptu” /sokuseki/), 即興 (“improvised amusement” /sokkyoo/) and 即死 (“instant death” /sokushi/).

  1. The kanji 既 “already”

History of Kanji 既For the kanji 既, in (a) and (b) in oracle bone style a person who knelt down in front of food was turning his face away from the food to indicate that he had had enough food. His open mouth is interpreted as belching because of his full stomach. “Having finished eating” gave the meaning “already.” In (c) in bronze ware style and (d) in seal style the two components swapped the positions. In (d) the right side was the reversed shape of 欠 in seal style and became 旡 /ki/ in kanji to mean “full of.” (The kanji 欠 “lack of” and 旡 “full of” had a reverse meaning of each other” in its origin.) The kanji 既 means “already; to be finished.”

The kun-yomi 既に /su’deni/ means “already.” The on-yomi /ki/ is in 既存の (“existing” /kison-no/), 既出 (“aforementioned; previously covered” /kishutsu/), 既婚 (“married” /kikon/), 既製服 (“ready-made clothes; off-the shelf clothing” /kise‘ehuku/), 既成事実 (“an established fact” /kiseeji’jitsu/) and 皆既日食 (“total solar eclipse” /kaiki-ni’sshoku/).

  1. The kanji 慨 “to lament; deplore; grieve over”

FHistory of Kanji 慨or the kanji 慨, the seal style writing comprised “heart,” and 既 “a person looking backward with an open mouth.” A heart full of emotions signified “to lament; grieve over,” and was used phonetically for /gai/. The kanji 慨 means “to lament; deplore; grieve over.”

The on-yomi /gai/  is in 憤慨 (“resentment; indignation” /hungai/) and 感慨 (“strong feelings; deep emotion” /kangai/).

  1. The kanji 概 “roughly; in general”

History of Kanji 概For the kanji 概, in the seal style writing the top 既 was used phonetically for /gai/, and the bottom meant 木 “tree; wood.” Together they originally meant “a wooden strickle – a rod to level off a heaped measure.” Leveling off grains indicated “roughly equal.” The kanji 概 means “roughly; in general.”

The on-yomi /gai/ is in 大概 (“almost; mostly; for the most part; probably; all probability” /taigai/), 概説 (“a rough summary; a rough sketch; brief account” /gaisetsu/), 概観 (“general view; general survey” /gaikan/ and 概要 (“outline; summary; resume” /gaiyoo/).

  1. The kanji 会 “to meet”

History of Kanji 会For the kanji 会 the oracle bone style writing comprised “a crossroad” (彳), “a container with a lid” (合), signifying “to fit; meet,” and “a footprint” at the bottom. Together they meant “to go on foot to meet (someone).” In bronze ware style and seal style it had “a food steamer with a lid with layers of steaming trays” and “a cooking stove” at the bottom. The crossroad disappeared. The kyuji 會 reflected seal style. The shinji 会 is the simplified form with 云 (a shape that is used in place of a complex shape) under 𠆢 “a cover.” The kanji 会 means “to meet; meeting; association.”

The kun-yomi 会う /a’u/ means “ to meet,” and is in 出会う (“to encounter” /dea’u/). The on-yomi /kai/ is in 会合 (“meeting” /kaigoo/), 会議 (“conference; meeting” /ka’igi/), 会計 (“accounts; bill; check” /kaikee/), 会話 (“conversation” /kaiwa/) and in the expression 会心の笑み (“smile of satisfaction” /kaishin-no-e-mi’/). nother on-yomi /e/ is in 会釈 (“a bow” /e’shaku/) and会得する (“to grasp; understand” /etoku-suru/).

  1. The kanji 曽 “formerly; great-grand (father)”

History of Kanji 曽For the kanji 曽, (a) and (b) in bronze ware style was “a steamer” from which steam was rising (八) at the top. A steamer had layers of trays or baskets, and from that it meant “to layer; layered.” The kyuji 曾, (d), reflected (c) in seal style, and became simplified to 曽 in shinji, changing ハ to a truncated ソ, 田 and曰. It was also borrowed to mean “once; on one occasion; formerly” or “three generations ago.” The kanji 曽 means “to lay something on top of another; formerly.”

The kun-yomi /katu/ is in 曽て (“formerly; once” /ka’tsute/). The on-yomi /soo/ is in 曽祖父 (“great-grandfather” /sooso-hu/) and曾孫 (“great-grandchild” /sooson/).

  1. The kanji 層 “layer”

History of Kanji 層For the kanji 層 the seal style comprised 尸 , a bushu shikabane “roof,” and 曾 “layers; to add” and was used phonetically for /soo/. Something in multiple levels meant “stratum.” It is also used for “class of people.” The kyuji 層, 2, reflected 1. The kanji 層 means “layer; stratum.”

There is no kun-yomi. The on-yomi /soo/ is in 層になる (“to become the layer” /so’o-ni-naru/), 断層 (“fault; dislocation; a gap; difference” /dansoo/) and 階層 (“class; rank; level in society” /kaisoo/).

  1. The kanji 増 “to increase; add”

History of Kanji 増For the kanji 増the seal style writing comprised 土 “dirt; soil,” and 曾 “layer; to add,” which was used phonetically for /soo/. Together adding soil to existing layers meant “to increase.” The kyuji 增, 2, was simplified to 増. The kanji 増 means “to add; increase.”

The kun-yomi 増す /masu/ means “to increase.”  Another kun-yomi /huya’su/ 増やす (transitive verb) and 増える /hue’ru/ (intransitive verb) are “to increase; add.” The on-yomi /zoo/ is 増加 (“increase” /zooka/), 増水 (“the rise of a river; flooding” /zoosui/), 倍増 (“redoubling” /baizoo/) and 増長する (“to grow impudent; become presumptuous; be puffed up (with pride)” /zoochoo-suru/).

  1. The kanji 憎 “to hate”

History of Kanji 憎For the kanji 憎 the seal style writing comprised “heart,” which became , a bushu risshinben, and 曾 “layers; to add,” which was used phonetically for /zoo/. Together “certain emotions that accumulated” gave the meaning “hate.” The kyuji 憎, 2, became shinji 憎. The kanji 憎 means “to hate; detest; abhor; hateful.”

The kun-yomi 憎む /niku’mu/ means “to hate,” and is in 憎しみ (“hatred; animosity; bad blood” /nikushimi/) and 憎い (“detestable; annoying; fantastic; remarkable” /niku’i/). The on-yomi /zoo/ is in 憎悪 (“hatred” /zo’oo/) and 愛憎 (“love and hatred” /aizoo/).

  1. The kanji 僧 “monk”

History of Kanji 僧For the kanji 僧 the seal style writing comprised “a person,” and 曾, which was used phonetically for /soo/. The writing was used as a phonetic rendition of the Buddhism word sampha in Sanskrit. The kanji 僧 means “monk; priest.”

There is no kun-yomi. The on-yomi /soo/ is in 僧侶 (“monk” /so’oryo/).

  1. The kanji 贈 “to give; present”

History of Kanji 贈For the kanji 贈 the seal style writing comprised 貝 “cowry” signifying “valuable; monetary value,” and 曾 “layers; to add,” which was used phonetically for /soo; zoo/. Giving a present was an act of one conferring or giving a valuable item to another person. The kyuji 贈, 2, was simplified to 贈. The kanji 贈 means “to give; present.”

The kun-yomi 贈る /okuru/ means “to give (a gift).” The on-yomi /zoo/ is in 贈答品 (“gift” /zootoohin/) and 寄贈する (“to contribute; donate” /kazoo-suru/).

The second group会曽層増憎僧贈 is rather straight forward — The common component (曽) was used phonetically for /so; soo; zoo/ as well as to mean “to add; layer.” With , a bushu shikabane 層 means “stratum; level”; with 土, a bushu tsushiben 増 means “to add”; with, a bushu risshinben, 憎 means “hatred”; with イ, a bushu ninben, 僧 means “monk”; and with 貝means a bushu kaihen “to give a present,” and even in kanji会, with 𠆢, a bushu hitoyane 會, in kyuji.

There are many more kanji that originated from things in kitchen and we shall be exploring them in the next few postings.  Thank you very much for your reading.  – Noriko [August 26, 2017]

The Kanji 則側測賊 and 墳噴憤 – 貝(4) 


This is the fourth posting on kanji that contain the shape 貝. In the first two postings, we explored the shape 貝 related to a “cowrie” that signified “money; value.” In the third posting we explored the shape 貝 related to a “three-legged bronze vessel.” In this posting we are continuing with a three-legged bronze vessel – the kanji 則側測賊. I have realized this week that there is another shape, 賁, that contains 貝 and can be explained as a cowrie. The 墳噴憤 are added to conclude our exploration of the shape 貝.

  1. The kanji 則 “rule; law”

History of Kanji 則For the kanji 則, we have three writing samples in bronze ware style, in green, here. (a) had two three-legged bronze ware vessels whereas (b) and (c) has just one vessel. The right side was a knife. The knife next to the vessel has been given different accounts — It was a knife used as a utensil for eating food that was cooked in the vessel. Sacrificial animal meat and other food that was offered to a deity was also shared by participants in a religious rite. Something that always accompanied the vessel signified “the rules always to be abided by.” Another account is that a knife signified inscription on the vessel [Shirakawa]. What was inscribed on a bronze ware stayed for a long time and was to be abided by — thus “rules; laws.” The double vessels in (a), and (d) in Old style, in purple, are explained by Shirakawa as signifying the fact that important contracts were inscribed in two vessels for each party to keep as proof. In kanji the knife became刂, a bushu rittoo “a knife placed vertically.”

In the last post in discussing the kanji 敗 we touched upon ambiguity of interpreting 貝 as a cowrie or a three- or four-legged bronze vessel. We can see that the kanji 則 is another example. Kyoshin (許慎 Xu Shen), the compiler of Setsumon Kaiji at the turn of the second century A.D., took them (in (d) in 則, I believe) as cowries.

There is no kun-yomi. The on-yomi /soku/ is in 規則 (“rules; bylaw; statutory instrument” /ki’soku/), 法則 (“law; principle; rule” /hoosoku/), 鉄則 (“ironclad rule; inviolable rule” /tessoku/) and 変則的な (“irregular” /hensokuteki-na/).

  1. The kanji 側 “close by; side; aspect”

History of Kanji 側For the kanji 側, the bronze ware style writing, and the seal style writing, in red, had a “person” (イ), a “three-legged bronze ware vessel” (貝) and a “knife” (刀).  則 was used phonetically for /soku/. A person standing next to the vessel meant “by the side.” The kanji 側 means “close by; side.”

The kun-yomi /-kawa; -gawa/ is in 向こう側 (“opposite side; the other side” /mukoogawa/), 裏側 (“behind; the back side” /uragawa/) and 片側 (“one side” /katagawa/). The on-yomi /soku/ is in 側面 (“aspect; side view; profile; flank” /sokumen/) and 側近 (“close adviser; member of one’s entourage”).

  1. The kanji 測 “to measure”

History of Kanji 測The seal style writing of the kanji 測 comprised “water” and 則, which was used phonetically for /soku/ to mean “standard.” Together they signified measuring the depth of water or in a more general sense of “to measure.” The kanji 測 means “to measure.”

The kun-yomi 測る /haka’ru/ means “to measure. The on-yomi /soku/ is in 測量 (“location survey” /sokuryoo/), 推測する (“to guess; presume; speculate” /suisoku-suru/) and 目測 (“eye-estimation; measurement with the eye” /mokusoku/).

  1. The kanji 賊 “damage due to a robbery; thief”

History of Kanji 賊In the bronze ware style of the kanji 賊. we see a halberd (戈) on the top right and a three-legged vessel (貝) underneath. But what was the small piece on the left side of the vessel?  Was it a “knife” or a “person”?  As I mentioned in earlier posts, a knife and a person looked so alike in bronze ware style that they caused some confusion. History of Kanji 戎(frame)Then when I looked up the ancient writing for 戎 (“soldier; weapon” /e’bisu; kai/), which was the right side of the kanji 賊, it became clear that it was a shield or armor (The history is shown on the right). The kanji 戎 had a halberd (戈) and a shield, making up the meaning “weapons.” So, the kanji 賊 comprises 貝 “three-legged vessel” and 戎 “weapons; soldier.” Together they meant scraping an inscription of an oath out of bronze ware to revoke it. It was also used to mean injuring a person. The kanji 賊 means “to damage; damage due to a robbery; robber.”

There is no kun-yomi. The on-yomi /zoku/ is in 賊が押し入る (“a robber breaks into it” /zoku-ga-oshiiru/), 海賊 (“pirate” /kaizoku/), 海賊版 (“pirated edition” /kaizokuban/), 盗賊 (“robber; thief” /toozoku/), 盗賊の一味 (“a pack of thieves” /toozoku-no ichi’mi/) and 賊軍 (“rebels; rebel army” /zokugun/).

History of Kanji 賁(frame)We leave the exploration of the kanji that originated from a legged bronze ware vessel here. The last shape we are exploring in this group of four posts is the shape 賁. The kanji 賁 /hi; hun/ is not a Joyo kanji but we have the history shown on the right side. The bronze ware style was richly decorated ornament. In seal style a cowrie was added to indicate decoration with cowries. The kanji 賁 means “to decorate colorfully,” and when it is used as a component it meant “to burst out.”

  1. The kanji 墳 “burial mound”

History of Kanji 墳The seal style writing of the kanji 墳 comprised 土 “soil; dirt” and 賁, which was used phonetically for /hun/ to mean “causing something to swell; rise.” Together they meant a burial mound of ancient times. In kanji 土 became a bushu tsuchihen “ground; dirt.” The kanji 墳 means “burial mound.”

There is no kun-yomi. The on-yomi /hun/ is in 古墳 (“ancient burial mound; ancient tomb” /kohun/), 古墳時代 (“tumulus period; Kofun period” /kohunji’dai/) and 墳墓 (“tomb; grave” /hu’nbo/).

  1. The kanji 噴 “to spout out; erupt; blow out”

History of Kanji 噴The seal style writing of the kanji 噴 comprised 口 “mouth; opening” and 賁, which was used phonetically for /hun/ to mean “to burst out; gush out.” Together they meant “to gush out.”

The kun-yomi 噴き出す /hukida’su/ means “to spout out; erupt; blow out.” The on-yomi /hun/ is in 噴出 (“to gush out; eject” /hunshutu/), 噴水 (“fountain” /hunsui/) and 火山の噴火 (“volcanic eruption” /kazan-no hunka/).

  1. The kanji 憤 “to anger; outrage; indignation”

History of Kanji 憤The seal style writing of the kanji 憤 comprised “heart” and 賁, which was used phonetically for /hun/to mean “to burst out.” Together a heart gushing out with emotions meant “to anger; rancor ; outrage; indignation” In kanji, a heart became 忄, a bushu risshinben “heart.” The kanji 憤 means “anger; rancor; outrage; indignation.”

The kun-yomi 憤る /ikidoo’ru/ means “to be furious about; seethe with anger.” The on-yomi /hun/ is in 憤慨する (“to get very angry; feel indignant” /hungai-suru/), 義憤 (“righteous indignation” /gihun/) and 憤激する (“to flare up; explode with anger” /hungai-suru/).

We shall move to another topic in the next post.  Thank you very much for your reading.  – Noriko [July 8, 2017]