The Kanji 均句拘旬匂勾掲葛喝渇褐謁 – (3)


On this post we are going to explore two shapes 勹 “a hook shape; (a body) bending down” in the kanji 均句拘旬匂勾, and 曷 used phonetically for /katsu/ in the kanji 掲葛喝渇褐謁.

  1. The kanji 均 “even; average”

History of Kanji 均For the kanji 均 the bronze ware style writing, in green, had “a long arm with a hand at the top wrapping around two short lines of even length.” Inside was 土 “soil.” They signified that a person was trying “to make the ground even with his hand.” In the seal style writing, in red, the soil was moved out to the left. From “leveling the ground,” the kanji 均means “even; average.” [The composition of the kanji 均: 土へん, 勹 and 冫]

The kun-yomi 均しい /hitoshi’i/ means “equivalent of; identical; exactly alike.” The on-yomi /kin/ is in 均一 “uniformity; equality” /kin-itsu/, 均等に “equally; evenly” /kintoo-ni/, 平均 “average” /heekin/, 不均衡 “imbalance; disproportion” /huki’nkoo/ and 百均ショップ “100-yen shop” /hyakkin-sho’ppu/.

  1. The kanji 句 “phrase”

History of Kanji 句For the kanji 句 in (a) in oracle bone style, in brown, inside two hooks there was 口 “mouth.” They meant “speech that was enclosed.” In (b), (c) and (d) “speaking; words” was taken out of the two interlocking hooks. The kanji 句means “phrase.”  [The composition of the kanji 句: 勹 and 口]

There is no kun-yomi. The on-yomi /ku/ is in 禁句 “forbidden word; tabooed phrase” /kinku/, 慣用句 “idiom; common phrase” /kan-yo’oku/, 句読点 “punctuation mark” /kuto’oten/, 句切る “to punctuate; mark off with a comma; cut off” /kugi’ru/, 節句 “seasonal festival” /sekku/ and 一字一句 “every word and every phrase” /ichiji-i’kku/.

  1. The kanji 拘 “to seize; is particular about; adhere to”

History of Kanji 拘The seal style writing of the kanji 拘 comprised “an act that one does using a hand” and 句 “something bent; crooked” used phonetically for /koo/. They signified “to seize (by hand); bind.” It also means the way in which one is particular about a certain thing. The kanji 拘 means “to seize; is particular about; adhere to.”  [The composition of the kanji 拘:扌, 勹 and 口]

The kun-yomi 拘る /kodawa’ru/ means “to be obsessive; have a fixation; be a perfectionist” /kodawa’ru/, 拘束する”to restrict; shacke” /koosoku-suru/, 拘泥する “to worry too much about; be overpaticular about” /koodee-suru/, 拘置所 “prison; detention house” /koochisho/ and 拘留 “detention pending trial; custody” /kooryuu/.

  1. The kanji 旬 “ten days; in the season”

History of Kanji 旬For the kanji 旬 the oracle bone style writing was a coiling shape with a short line crossing at the end, perhaps signifying “a cycle with its end marked.” The bronze ware style writing had “the sun” added inside a semi-circle that was similar to 勻. During the Yin (Shang) dynasty the calendar used then had a cycle of ten days. A rounded shape suggested “a cycle of ten days.” In seal style the two short lines inside 勻 dropped. The kanji 旬 means “ten days,” which is one third of a month. In Japan it is also used to mean produce and fish that is “in the season”- the best time to eat. [The composition of the kanji 旬: 勹 and 日]

There is no kun-yomi. The on-yomi 旬 /shun/ means “in the season.”  /-Jun/ is in 上旬 “the first ten days of a moth” /joojun/, 中旬 “the second ten days of a month” /chuujun/ and 下旬 “the last ten days of a month” /gejun/.

  1. The kanji 匂 “fragrant; scent; aroma; beautiful; to hint”

The kanji 匂 was created in Japan and there is no ancient writing. 匂う meant “to shine beautifully,” as in the classical phrase (花が) 朝日に匂う”flowers shining beautifully in the morning sun,” but it is no longer seen in ordinary writing. The kanji 匂 means “fragrant; scent; aroma; beautiful; to hint.” (The kanji 匂う /nio’u/ is generally, but not always, used for a pleasant smell while 臭い /kusa’i/ is for an unpleasant smell.)  [The composition of the kanji 匂: 勹 and ヒ]

The kun-yomi 匂う /nio’u/ means “to smell,” and in 匂わせる “to suggest; hint; insinuate” /niowase’ru/ and 匂い “smell; fragrance” /nio’i/. There is no on-yomi.

  1. The kanji 勾 “hook; to enclose”

History of Kanji 勾The bronze ware style writing looked incomprehensively complex. I cannot make out what this writing originally signified and there is no account in reference. The kanji 勾comprises 勹 “a hooked shape” or “a body bending down” and ム used phonetically for /koo/ to mean “to bend.” The kanji 勾 means “hook; to catch; hitch.”  [The composition of the kanji 勾: 勹 and ム]

There is no kun-yomi. The on-yomi /koo/ is in 勾配 “slope; incline; pitch; gradient” /koobai/, 勾引 “bench warrant” /kooin/ and 勾留 “detention; custody” /kooryuu/. (勾 is a newly added Joyo kanji, and some words overlap with the kanji 拘.)

The next shape, 曷, was seen in the kanji 葛 and in the kyuji of the kanji 掲喝渇褐謁. The origin of 曷 remains mystery, but here is what has been said in reference.  History of Kanji 曷曷: The top was something coming out of a mouth, 曰 /etsu/, which meant “to say.” The bottom had a “person” (人) and a frame inside an semi enclosure 勹. The interpretations of this shape vary – (1) With “a box of prayers” on the top and “bones of a dead person” on the bottom together meant “praying so that the dead would grant a prayer’s wish” and 曷 was a voice of prayer (Shirakawa); (2) 曷 was “showing contempt and confining someone by a hand (勹)” (Kanjigen); and (3) it was used phonetically to meant “sound of scolding voice.”

Two things about the shape 曷: It was used phonetically in all kanji; 人 with “a screen” (?) in seal style remained in kyuji, but changed to ヒ, another shape to mean “person” in shinji in all kanji except 葛.

  1. The kanji 掲 “to display; hoist”

History of Kanji 掲For the kanji 掲 the seal style writing comprised 扌 “an act that one does using a hand” and 曷 used phonetically for /kee/ to mean “to hoist.” Together a hand hoising something up means “to display; put up.” The kanji 掲 means “to display; hoist.”  [The composition of the kanji 掲: 扌, 日and 匂]

The kun-yomi 掲げる /kakageru/ means “to put up; hoist; herald,” as in 主義主張を掲げる “to advocate principles and opinions” /shu’gishuchoo-o kakageru/. The on-yomi /kee/ is in 掲示する “to post; put up a notice” /keejiban/, 掲載 “to print; put in; run an article” /keesai-suru/ and 電光掲示板 “electric bulletin board” /denkoo-keejiban/.

  1. The kanji 葛 “kuzuvine; kuzuroot starch”

History of Kanji 葛The seal style writing of the kanji 葛 comprised 艸 “plants” and 曷used phonetically for /katsu/. Together they meant “kuzuvine.” The fibers in the vine were used for weaving. Its root provides good starch for cooking. The kanji 葛 means “kuzu vine; kuzu root starch.” The kanji 葛 is the only Joyo kanji that retained the kyuji shape 曷, even though the kanji with 匂 at the bottom is seen as a popular informal shape.  [The composition of the kanji 葛: 艹 and 曷]

The kun-yomi 葛 /ku’zu/ means “kuzu root starch,” and is in 葛粉 “kuzu starch” /kuzuko’/, 葛切り “slices of kuzu jelly with syrup (as sweets)” /kuzukiri/ and 葛桜 “cherry-leaf-covered kuzu filled with sweet azuki bean” /kuzuza’kura/. The on-yomi /katsu/ is in 葛藤 “an entanglement; embroilment” /kattoo/. (Both 葛 and 藤 “Japanese wisteria” /huji/ are vines.)

  1. The kanji 喝 “to shout; scold”

History of Kanji 喝For the kani 喝 the seal style writing comprised 口 “mouth; to speak” and 曷 used phonetically for /katsu/ to mean “to scold in a loud voice.” The kanji 喝 meant “to shout; scold.” [The composition of the kanji 喝: 口, 日 and 匂]

There is no kun-yomi. The on-yomi /katsu/ is in 喝采する “to applaud; cheer loudly” /kassai-suru/, 拍手喝采 “clapping and sheering; enthusiastic applause” /ha’kushu kassai/, 恐喝する “to blackmail; extort” /kyookatsu-suru/ and 喝を入れる “to give a pep talk” /ka’tsu-o iresu/.

  1. The kanji 渇 “to thirst for; dry out”

History of Kanji 渇For the kanji 渇 the bronze ware style writing had “running water” on the left, and the right side was used phonetically for /katsu/ to mean “lack of.” The seal style writing had “a mouth open” (曰) and “a person disappearing” (亡) in 勹, but what those components meant is not clear. The kanji 渇 means “to be thirst; dry out; thirsty.” [The composition of the kanji 渇:氵, 日 and 匂]

The kun-yomi 渇く/kawa’ku/ means “to crave; thirst for,” as in 喉が渇く”to become thirsty” /no’do-ga kawa’ku/.  The on-yomi /katsu/ is in 渇する “to dry up; suffer from thirst” /kassuru/, 渇望 “craving for; longing for” /katsuboo/, 枯渇する “to dry up; be drained” /kokatsu-suru/ and 渇水時 “period of drought” /kassu’iji/.

  1. The kanji 褐 “brown; humble clohtes”

History of Kanji 褐For the kanji 褐 the seal style writing comprised 衣 “clothes” and 曷 used phonetically for /katsu/ to mean “kuzu vine.” Clothes or footware made by weaving vines signified “humble simple clothes.” It also meant “brown” from the color of humble clothes dyed in dull color from vines and other plants. The kanji 褐 means “brown; (humble clothes).”  [The composition of the kanji 褐: 衤, 日 and 匂]

There is no kun-yomi. The on-yomi /katsu/ is in 褐色 “brown” /kasshoku/ and 茶褐色 “dark reddish brown” /chaka’sshoku/.

  1. The kanji 謁 “to be received in loyal audience”

History of Kanji 謁For the kanji 謁 the seal style writing comprised 言 “word; language; to say” and 曷 used phonetically for /etsu/. To say something to a ruler became the meaning “to be received in loyal audience.” [The composition of the kanji 謁: 言, 日 and 匂]

There is no kun-yomi. The on-yomi /etsu/ is in 謁見 “imperial audience” /ekken/, 拝謁する “to be received in audience by His (or Her) Majesty” /haietsu-suru/.

Thank you very much for your reading. – Noriko [June 10, 2018]

The kanji 暮晩免星晶早旬 – 日 (2)

  1. The kanji 暮 “sundown; twilight; the end of the year”

In the last post we started to look at kanji that have 日 “the sun.” We followed the sun appearing through tall grass by the seashore to midday. Now the sun is going down and we start with the dusk in this post. The sun goes down behind tall grass or plants again. That brings the kanji 暮 to us. The history of the kanji 暮 is shown on the left.

History of kanji 暮In oracle bone style and bronze ware style the writing consisted of the sun in the middle and four grasses or plants in all four corners. It was the time when the sun was about to disappear or “sundown; twilight.” The components remained the same in ten style except that the shapes of grasses were more stylized. In kanji the top became a bushu kusakanmuri “plants; vegetation,” and the bottom became a three-stroke 大-like shape and an additional sun. This additional sun was added because the original writing for evening 莫 came to be used for “nothing” or a negative meaning. When the sun disappears behind grass nothing is visible, thus “nothing.”  In addition to “sundown” the kanji 暮 also means “end (of day, year).” In Japanese, 暮 is also used to mean “to live a life.” How one spends a day is life. It makes me pause to think about daily life.

Various kanji with 莫 – 墓慕募幕模 — There are other kanji that originated from 莫 “the sun disappearing behind grass” in addition to 暮, with 日 a bushu hihen  “evening; end of a day/year; to live a life.”  They include the followings– (1) 墓, with 土 “soil; ground,” means “tomb”; (2) 慕, with a bushu shitagokoro (a variation of 心 “heart”), means “to yearn for; follow; adore”; (3) 募, with 力 “power; strength,” underneath means “to collect (contribution); raise”; (4) 幕, with 巾 “a piece of cloth” underneath, means “screen; curtain”; and (5) 模, with 木 a bushu kihen, means “model; mold; pattern” from an old wooden mold. The original shape 莫 by itself is also a kanji (not included in the Joyo kanji), but it is used in the common word 莫大な (“enormous; incalculable” /bakudaina/) in a phase such as 莫大な損害 (“enormously large loss” /bakudaina songai/).

The kun-yomi /kure/ means “end of a day or year.” Another kun-yomi /ku/ is in 暮らす (“to live a life” /kurasu/), and /gu/ is in 日暮れ (“dusk” /higure/) and 一人暮らし(“living alone” /hitorigu’rashi/). The on-yomi /bo/ is in お歳暮 (”end-of-a-year gift” /oseebo/), the custom in which one gives a gift as a token of gratitude. The type of gift is often not a personal item but rather goods that can be used.

  1. The kanji 免 “to avoid; allow” and 晩 ”evening”

After sundown total darkness of night comes, and it is hard to see things. The kanji 晩 means “evening; night,” which consists of 日 “sun” on the left and 免 “barely” on the right. Because the explanation of 免 is rather tricky, let us look at it first.

History of Kanji 免The kanji 免 – The kanji 免 “to avoid; barely” came from two totally different sources. In bronze style the top was a warrior’s helmet, and the bottom was a standing person with his hand in front. When a soldier came out alive from a battle he would take off his protective headpiece, a helmet. From that it meant “to dodge danger; avoid; barely.” It also means “to be exempted; allow.” The ten style writing is generally interpreted as a woman being in labor- with the top “person,” the middle “waist/hips” and the bottom “legs open for childbirth.” A baby is born by making it through a narrow passage during childbirth, which gave the meaning “barely (making it).”

The kun-yomi 免れる /manugare’ru; manukare’ru/ is “to escape.” The on-yomi /men/ is in 運転免許証 (“driver’s license” /untenmenkyo’shoo/) and 免疫 (“immunity” /men-eki/) prevents one from becoming infected. The expressionsご免なさい (“I am sorry” /gomennasa’i/) and ご免下さい (“Hello” an attention getter at the door /gomenkudasa’i/) are usually written in hiragana.

The kanji 娩 and 勉 — For the original meaning of childbirth, the kanji 娩, with a bushu onnahen “woman; female,” was created and is used in the word 分娩 (“delivery of a baby”/bunben/). It is also used in the kanji 勉, with 力 “power; strength” added, to mean “to put one’s effort into doing something” as in 勤勉な (“diligent” /kinben-na/) and 勉強する (“to study” /benkyoo-suru/).

History of Kanji 晩The kanji 晩— The right side 免 was used in the kanji 晩. Its ten style writing consisted of the sun 日, and 免, which was used phonetically to mean “something hidden and invisible.” From “the sun being hidden and not visible” it meant “evening; early night.” It is also used to mean “late.”

There is no kun-yomi. The on-yomi 晩 /ban/ means “evening; early night,” and is in 今晩 (“this evening” /ko’nban/) and 昨晩 (“yesterday evening” /saku’ban/ – formal style). For the meaning “late” it is used in 晩年 (“one’s last years” /bannen/) and 晩春 (“late spring” /banshun/). I have just come across a word that suits me very well – 晩学 (“learning late in life” /bangaku/). Well, it is never too late to learn. So I keep on doing my 晩学 on ancient Chinese writings to find an answer to help our kanji learners.

  1. 星 “star”

History of Kanji 星What shines or glistens in a night sky is stars. For the kanji 星 “star,” in oracle bone style (a) and (b), at the center was the a plant emerging a new from the ground, which was used phonetically for /se’e/. The small circles or squares around it were glistening stars. It meant “star.” In bronze ware style the small squares had a line in the middle like the sun. As ten style writings Setsumon gave two writings (d) and (e). (d) was originally the authentic writing and (e) was an alternative writing, but the kanji (f) reflects (e). Something in the sky that glistens emerges at night is a star. Or, we can also say that stars are born anew every night.

The kun-yomi 星 /hoshi/ means “(celestial) star.” /Boshi/ is in 流れ星 (“shooting star” /nagare’boshi/), 白星 (“win; success” /shiro’boshi/) and 黒星 (“loss; failure” /kuro’boshi/). The expression 図星だ /zuboshi-da/ means “the bull’s eye.” The on-yomi /se’e/ is in 星座 (“constellation” /seeza/).

  1. 晶 “pure and bright”

History of Kanji 晶Another kanji that came from something glistening is 晶. In oracle bone style it had three squares, which signified many things that shined or sparkled. In ten style lines were placed to indicate that inside was shining.  晶 meant “pure and bright.” It is also worth noting that the kanji 星 in the authentic ten style had three 日.

There is no kun-yomi in the Joyo kanji. The on-yomi /sho’o/ is in 結晶 (“crystal; crystallization” /kesshoo/).

  1. The kanji 早 “early”

History of Kanji 早The etymology of the kanji 早 is not agreed upon. One source (Kanjigen) says that the whole writing was a pictograph of an acorn, and acorn’s black hulls were used as dye for black or dark color. From the time that was still dark in the morning meant “early.” I used this explanation in the Key to Kanji. The second source (Kadokawa) is that the top 日 was the sun, and the bottom 十 was a seed germinating, pushing up, and was used phonetically. Together they meant the time when the sun rises, which is “early” in the morning. The third source (Shirakawa) treated it as a borrowing from “spoon” 是. For lack of earlier writing, it is hard to choose one over others.

The kun-yomi 早い /haya’i/ means “early,” and is in 早めに (“in good time; earlier than usual” /hayameni/). /Baya/ is in 手早く (“quickly; efficiently” /tebaya’ku/) and 足早に (“briskly; at a fast pace” /ashibayani/). The on-yomi /so’o/ is in 早朝 (“early morning” /soochoo/) and 早退 (“leaving work or class early” /sootai/).

History of Kanji 陽 (frame)The kanji 陽— Speaking of the sun rising, we have looked at the kanji 陽 in the earlier post [The Kanji 阜降陟陽陰今雲隊陸ーこざとへん(1) on November 14, 2015]. It is used in the words such as 太陽 (“the sun” /ta’iyoo/) and 陽光 (“sunshine” /yookoo/).  The ancient writings had a hill or mountain receiving the rays of the sun risen high in the sky. The upper right 日 was the sun. (In Shirakawa’s interpretation, the right side was a sacred gem on an altar table.)

  1. The kanji 旬 “ten days of a month; in the season”

History of Kanji 旬In the kanji 旬, 日 was used to mean a “day.” The oracle bone style writing was a dragon with his tail curled up. The bronze ware style writing had the sun added inside the semi-circle. The ancient calendar in China during the Yin (殷) dynasty used a calendar that had a cycle of ten days. A round shape suggested a cycle. With the sun in side, they meant “ten days,” which is one third of a month. It is also used to mean produce and fish that is “in the season,” the best time to eat.

There is no kun-yomi in the Joyo kanji. The on-yomi /ju’n/ is in 上旬 (“first ten-day period of month; early part of the month” /joojun/), 中旬 (“second ten days of a month” /chuujun/), 下旬 (“last part of a month; toward the end of a month” /gejun/). Another on-yomi /shun/ is in 旬の野菜 (“vegetable in season” /shun-no-yasai/).

We will continue our exploration of kanji that contain 日 in the next post. [February 28, 2016]