The Kanji 酒配酎酵酷酌酬醜酔醒酢酸- Food (4) 酉


In this post we are going to look at the kanji 酒配酎酵酷酌酬醜酔醒酢酸 that contains 酉 “a rice wine cask.”

History of Kanji 酉The common component 酉 here is not a Joyo kanji. In all of the ancient writings shown on the right – (a) in oracle bone style, in brown, (b) and (c) in bronze ware style, in green, and (d) seal style, in red, – was “a rice wine cask” or “a cask to keep fermented liquid in.” So all the kanji that we are going to look at pertain to “fermentation” at one stage of the history.

The writing 酉 is used in the 12 Chinese zodiac signs, but, as with the rest of the 12 zodiac signs, the kanji was chosen arbitrarily and had no relation to its meaning. By itself it is pronounced /tori/, and is in 酉年 (“the year of chicken” /toridoshi/). Just a reminder — The kanji for “west” 西 has one stroke fewer, and is not related to this kanji.

  1. The kanji 酒 “alcohol beverage; rice wine; sake

History of Kanji 酒2In oracle bone style (a), “a rice wine cask” was on the left and “water; liquid” on the right. In bronze ware style (b), (c) and (d) “a rice wine cask” was standing alone but the small dots in (c) were pointing out its contents rather than the cask as a container. Together they meant “rice wine.” In (e) in seal style “water; liquid” was separately added to a wine cask, possibly signifying that it was the liquid from which sake lees had been removed. The kanji 酒 means “rice wine; fermented drink; alcohol beverage.”   <The composition of the kanji 酒: 氵and 酉>

The kun-yomi /sake/ means “Japanese rice wine; sake; alcohol beverage,” and is in 酒粕 (“sake lees” /sakekasu/), which is used for cooking as well. /-Zake/ is in 寝酒 (“nightcap” /nezake/), 甘酒 (“sweet sake lee drink” /amaza’ke/) and 居酒屋 (“pub; bar; tavern” /izakaya/).  /Saka-/ is in 酒屋 (“liquor store; alcohol beverage shop” /sakaya/), 酒盛り (”drinking party; drinking bout” /sakamori/). The on-yomi /shu/ is in 日本酒 (“Japanese rice wine” /nihonshu/) and 葡萄酒 (“(grape) wine” /budo’oshu/).

  1. The kanji 配 “to distribute; hand out; arrange”

History of Kanji 配(a) in oracle bone style, (b) and (c) in bronze ware style and (d) in seal style all comprised “a wine cask” on the left and “a squatting person looking at the cask.” He was waiting for rice wine to be handed out to him. It means “to hand out; deal.” In (d) in seal style and kanji 配, the person took the shape 己 “a squatting person; a person.” The kanji 配 means “to distribute; to hand out; to arrange.”  <The composition of the kanji 配: 酉 and 己>

The kun-yomi 配る /kuba’ru/ means “to deliver; deal.” The on-yomi /hai/ is in 配達 (“delivery of goods/food” /haitatsu/), 配分する (“to allocate; distribute” /haibun-suru/), 手配する (“to arrange; provide for” /te’hai-suru/), 配当金 (“divined” /haitookin/). /-Pai/ is in 心配 (“worry” /shinpai/). /-Bai/ is in 軍配 (“an umpire’s fan” in a sumo match /gunbai/).

  1. The kanji 酎 “distilled liquor; flavorful three-time filtered liquor”

History of Kanji 酎The seal style writing comprised 酉 “a rice wine cask,” and 寸 “a hand,” which was used phonetically for /chuu/. Together they meant “flavorful wine that was filtered three times.” The kanji 酎 means “flavorful rice wine.”  <The composition of the kanji 酎: 酉 and 寸>

There is no kun-yomi. The on-yomi /chuu/ is in 焼酎 (“white liquor; Japanese distilled liquor made of potato” /shoochu’u/).

  1. The kanji 酵 “yeast; fermentation”

There is no ancient writing. The kanji 酵 had 酉 “a rice wine cask” on the left. The right side 孝 “filial duty” (with 耂, a bushu “old person”) was used phonetically for /koo/, perhaps suggesting a long time to ferment. Together they meant “yeast” that made fermented wine or “fermentation.” The kanji 酵 means “fermentation; yeast.”  <The composition of the kanji 酵: 酉 and 孝 >

There is no kun-yomi. The on-yomi /koo/ is in 発酵する (“to ferment” /hakkoo-suru/), 酵母 (“yeast” /ko’obo/) and 酵素 (“enzyme” /ko’oso/).

  1. The kanji 酷 “cruel”

History of Kanji 酷The seal style writing comprised 酉 “a rice wine cask,” and 告, which was used phonetically for /koku/. Together they meant “intense taste of alcohol.” From that the kanji 酷 means “intense; cruel; harsh.” The phrase  酷のある /koku-no-a’ru/ “full-bodied; robust” is usually written in katakana コク nowadays.   <The composition of the kanji 酷: 酉 and 告>

The kun-yomi 酷い /mugo’i/ means “cruel.” The on-yomi /koku/ is in 残酷な (“cruel; extremely harsh” /zankoku-na/), 酷暑 (“severe heat of summer” /ko’kusho/) and 酷使する (“to drive someone work hard; strain oneself” /ko’kushi-suru/).

  1. The kanji 酌 “to serve wine; scoop out sake”

History of Kanji 酌The seal style writing comprised 酉 “a rice wine cask,” and 勺 “a ladle scooping up,” which was used phonetically for /shaku/. Together they meant “a ladle scooping up wine.” The kanji 酌 means “to serve wine; scoop out sake.”  <The composition of the kanji 酌: 酉 and 勺>

There is no kun-yomi. The on-yomi /shaku/ is in お酌する (“to fill someone else’s sake cup” /oshaku-suru/), 晩酌 (“evening dinner-time drink” /banshaku/), 媒酌人 (“matchmaker” at a wedding /baishakunin/) and 酌量 (“consideration” /shakuryoo/).

  1. The kanji 酬 “reply; reward; fee”

History of Kanji 酬In seal style (a) and (b) had 酉 “a rice wine cask” on the left. The right side of (a), 寿 (the kyuji 壽) “long life; auspicious,” was used phonetically for /shuu/. Together they originally meant “to offer a drink of wine to a guest.” Later it meant “to reply; reward.” In (b) 壽 was replaced by the phonetically same 州 /shuu/. The kanji 酬 is also used for “fee.”  <The composition of the kanji 酬: 酉 and 州>

The kun-yomi 酬いる /mukui’ru; mukuiru/ means “to reward.” The on-yomi /shuu/ is in 応酬する (“to make a sharp retort; reply” /ooshuu-suru/) and 報酬 (“reward; fee” /hooshuu/).

  1. The kanji 醜 “ugly”

History of Kanji 醜The seal style writing comprised 酉 “a rice wine cask,” which was used phonetically for /shuu/. The right side was 鬼 “spirit of a deceased; ghost,” which had a frightfully ugly face and ム “a floating spirit.” Together they meant “ugly; mean-spirited; shameful.” <The composition of the kanji 醜: 酉 and 鬼>

The kun-yomi /miniku’i/ means “ugly; shameful.”  The on-yomi /shuu/ is in 醜聞 (“scandal; malicious gossip” /shuubun/) and 醜悪な (“unsightly” /shuuaku-na/).

  1. The kanji 酔 “to become drunk; be intoxicated”

History of Kanji 酔The seal style writing comprised 酉 “a rice wine cask,” and 卒 “to end,” which was used phonetically for /sui/. Together they meant “to drink rice wine to finish off” – thus “to be drunk.” The kyuji 醉, in blue, reflected seal style, but in shinji 酔 the right side 卒 was replaced by 卆. The kanji 酔 means “to become drunk; get inebriated on sake; be intoxicated.”  <The composition of the kanji 酔: 酉 and 卆>

The kun-yomi 酔う /yo’u/ means “to become drunk; become intoxicated,” and is in 船酔い (“seasickness” /hunayoi/), and 酔っ払い (“a drunken man; drunk” /yopparai/). The on-yomi /sui/ is in 心酔する (“to adore; be fascinated by” /shinsui-suru/),  酔狂な (“eccentric; whimsical” /su’ikyoo-na/), 麻酔 (“anesthesia” /masui/) and 陶酔する (“to be intoxicated; be fascinated” /toosui-suru/).

  1. The kanji 醒 “to awaken; have clear awareness”

History of Kanji 醒The seal style writing comprised 酉 “a rice wine cask,” and 星, which was used phonetically for /see/. Together they meant “to sober up from being drunk,” that is “to awaken; have clear awareness.” The kanji 醒 means “to awaken; have clear awareness.” <The composition of the kanji 醒: 酉and 星>

The kun-yomi 醒める /same’ru/ means “to become awake.” The on-yomi /see/ is in 覚醒剤 (“psychostimulant; stimulant drug” /kakuse’ezai/). It is a strange use of this kanji.

  1. The kanji 酢 “vinegar”

History of Kanji 酢The two bronze ware style writings had “a cask of fermented liquid” (酉), and 乍, which was used phonetically for /saku/ to mean “something past,” which is related to the kanji 昨. Rice wine that went bad is vinegar. The kanji 酢 means “vinegar.”  <The composition of the kanji 醒: 酉 and 星>

The kun-yomi 酢 /su/ means “vinegar,” 酢豚 (“sweet and sour pork” /su’buta/) and is in 酢の物 (“a vinegared dish” /suno’mono/). The on-yomi /saku/ is in 酢酸 (“acetic acid” /sakusan/).

  1. The kanji 酸 “sour; acid”

History of Kanji 酸The seal style writing comprised 酉 “a wine cask,” and 夋, which was used phonetically for /san/ to mean “sour.” When wine goes bad it becomes sour. The kanji means “acidic; sour.” <The composition of the kanji 酸: 酉 and 夋>

The kun-yomi 酸っぱい /suppa/i/ means “sour” and is in 甘酸っぱい (/amazuppa’i/ “sweet and sour”). The on-yomi /san/ is in 酸素 (“oxygen” /sa’nso/), 酸性 (“acidity” /sansee/), 塩酸 (“hydrochloric acid” /ensan/), 酸化する(“to oxidize” /sanka-suru/), 炭酸飲料水 (“carbonated drink” /tansan-inryo’osui/) and 乳酸菌 (“lactic acid bacteria” /nyuusankin/).

Among the kanji we did not look at in this post include 醤油 (“soy sauce” /shooyu’/), which is a seasoning liquid that was made of soy beans with yeast (酵母), and the kyuji 醫 for 医, which had 酉 at the bottom as sake to cleanse an arrow wound. We have also looked at 醸 “fermentation” in an earlier post.

When we look at any of the kanji 酒配酎酵酷酌酬醜酔醒酢酸 in isolation, it may appear to have a complex shape. Once we understand the meaning of the common component 酉, however, it reduces our task to just focusing on the other component, which is likely a component we have studied already in other kanji. So, it becomes a matter of comparing simpler shapes and adding “fermentation” to it. That is the advantage of learning kanji by common components, or bushu in a larger sense. — Sorry for my pitch. I know that our regular readers need no such reminder. The old habit of a classroom teacher stating the obvious is hard to lose.  Thank you very much for your reading.  -Noriko [September 9, 2017]

The Kanji 負危色配巻港選(絶己) – Posture (7)


However small, every component of kanji had a role to play in its origin. The shape that looks like a truncated katakana /ku/ (ク) that we see at the top of the kanji 急, 負, 色 and 危 is no exception. History of Kanji 急 (frame)It would have been more convincing if we had a sample writing in oracle bone style or bronze ware style. Fortunately we had a full range of ancient style writings for the kanji 及. A newly joined reader may say, “The kanji 及 does not have a truncated /ku/ shape.” That is true, but in one of the earlier posts [February 7, 2015 post] we saw that in ten style 急 and 及 had shared the same shape, as shown on the right side. History of Kanji 及(frame)

The kanji 及 It is reasonable that what we see in the development of 及 can be used to understand the shape in 急負色危. For the kanji 及, in oracle bone style, in brown, and bronze ware style, in green, it  had a person standing, bending his back slightly. Then in ten style, in red, his arms stretched long and his back bent forward deeply. This shape became the kanji 及, and 急 by adding 心 “heart” at the bottom. From this we can say that the truncated /ku/ shape in those kanji meant “person” standing or crouching with his arms extended. Let us look at three kanji here.

  1. The kanji 負 “to bear; carry on one’s back”

History of Kanji 負In the ten style of the kanji 負, the top was a person with a stooped back. The bottom was a cowry that represented something valuable or money. Together a person carrying money or something on his back meant “to carry something on the back.” Carrying a burden or debt on one’s back also meant “to owe.” It was also extended to mean “loss.”

The kun-yomi 負う /ou/ means “to owe; carry on his back,” and is in 重任を負う (“to bear a heavy responsibility” /juunin-o ou/) and 背負う (“to carry on one’s back; to shoulder” /seo’u/). Another kun-yomi 負ける /makeru/ means “to lose” and is in 勝ち負け (“victory and defeat” /kachi’make/) and 根負けする (“to have one’s patience exhausted” /konmake-suru/). The on-yomi /hu/ is in 負担 (“to bear” /hutan/), 自負する (“to take pride in; flatter oneself in” /jihu-suru/). Another sound /bu/ is in 勝負 (“match; fight” /sho’obu/.)

  1. The kanji 危 “perilous; danger”

History of Kanji 危The ten style of the kanji 危 had a person crouching dangerously on top of a cliff (厂). It signified something perilous or dangerous. To emphasize danger, another person crouching was added under the cliff. From someone being scared, it meant “danger; perilous.” In kanji, however, the person changed to the shape that had some similarity to hushizukuri (卩), except that the bottom goes up. This is another shape of a “person” in other kanji, such as 犯 “to violate” and 氾 “to flood.”

There are two kun-yomi for 危. 危ない /abunai/ means “dangerous” and 危うく /ayauku/ “almost; nearly” is used when a danger is averted in the end, in the phrase such as 危うく遅刻するところだった (“I almost arrived late (but I did not)” /ayauku chikokusuru-tokoro’-datta/). The on-yomi /ki/ is in 危険物 (“dangerous article” /kike’nbutsu/), 危惧する (“to feel apprehensive about” /ki’gu-suru/), and 危機一髪で (“in the nick of time” /ki’ki ippatsu/.)

  1. The kanji 色 “color; characteristics of; lust”

History of Kanji 色In the ten style of the kanji 色, the top was a person, and the bottom was another person. Together they meant amorous affairs. The meaning of color comes from the heightened facial color. It was also used as “characteristics.” In kanji the bottom became the shape 巴 called /tomoe/. (It is not a Joyo-kanji.) In judo there is a throw called 巴投げ /tomoenage/ “somersault throw” from a crouched position. I do not know if it is an official name of 技 (“winning move” /waza’/). The kun-yomi 色 /iro’/ means “color; complexion; lust; kind,” and is in 色々な (“various” /iroirona/), 色紙 (“color folding paper for origami craft” /iro’gami/), 色事 (“amorous affairs” /irogo’to/). The on-yomi /sho’ku/ is in 特色 (“specific character” /tokushoku/). Another on-yomi /shi’ki/ is in 色素 (“pigment” /shiki’so/.)

History of Kanji 絶(frame)The kanji 絶: The kanji 色 also appears on the right side of the kanji 絶. The writing in gray is an old style given in Setsumon. It has shelves of skeins of threats.  In ten style, we can see that the top right came from a knife rather than a person, shown on the right. From “cutting (/se’tsu/ phonetically meant “to cut”) threads with a knife,” it meant “to cut; cease.” They are related in meaning in that the kanji 絶 “to cut; cease” came from “cutting beautiful color threads.” Beautiful color threads gave the meaning of “exquisitely beautiful.” Something was so exquisitely beautiful that it would not allow comparison, thus “absolutely.”

The next four kanji 配巻港 and 選 share the component 己.

History of Kanji 己(frame)The kanji 己:  The kanji 己 by itself means “self” as in 自己 (“self” /ji’ko/), 知己 (“someone who knows me well; good friend” /chi’ki/), and 利己的な (“selfish” /rikoteki-na/). The meaning “oneself’ seemingly fits well with the meaning of “person.” However, the development of 己 as kanji is unrelated to “person,” as shown on the right. The three ancient styles are generally interpreted as some sort of ruler or tool used in carpentry work. It was just borrowed to mean “self.”

  1. The kanji 配 “to hand out; deliver”

History of Kanji 配In oracle bone style and bronze ware style of the kanji 配, the left side was a rice wine cask, and the right side was a person with his hands on his knees watching the rice wine cask closely. It signified a person sitting in front of rice wine to be served or a person who stayed close by. It meant “to deliver; deal; hand out.” In ten style, the shape for the person on the right side became one continuous line, dropping the hands, and became the 己 shape in kanji.

The kun-yomi 配る /kuba’ru/ means “to distribute; arrange.” The on-yomi /hai/ is in 配達する (“to deliver (good)” /haitatsu-suru/), 配分する (“to distribute; apportion among” /haibun-suru/), 配偶者 (“spouse” /haigu’usha/). Another sound /pai/ is in 心配する (“to worry” /shinpaisuru/).

  1. The kanji 巻 “to roll”

History of Kanji 巻In the ten style of the kanji 巻, in the bottom half we see a crouched person under two hands. But what was the top half about? There are at least two different views. One view was that it was rice (米), and altogether they meant two hands making rice ball. From that it meant “to roll.” Another view was that the top was an animal paw, which signified animal hide. (An animal hide was used to write a pledge and cut in half as a stub, as in the kanji 券.) Together they meant two hands rolling an animal hide. By the time of kyujitai kanji, in blue, there was a drastic change. Before paper was invented, a record was written on bamboo or wooden tablets that were tied together and rolled up for storage. From that the kanji 巻 is also used as a volume counter for a serial.

The kun-yomi 巻く /maku/ means “to roll” and the word 海苔巻き (“seaweed sushi roll” /nori’maki/), 巻き込まれる (“to get dragged into” /makikomare’ru/). The on-yomi /ka’n/ is in 第三巻 (“third volume” /da’i sa’nkan/). Another on-yomi /ke’n/ is in 席巻する (“to sweep over” /sekken-suru/).

  1. The kanji 港 “port”

History of Kanji 港For the kanji 港, we have three different ten style samples shown on the left. Writing (a) is comprised of 共 “together” at the top, from many hands holding up something together, and the bottom 邑 “village,” from an area where many people live. Together they meant a busy place where many activities were happening. Writing (b) had two 邑 “village” on both side of 共, signifying the same as (a). These two ten style writings, (a) and (b), were shared by another kanji 巷 /chimata/. The kanji 巷 is not a Joyo-kanji but the word /chimata/ means “crowded town.” It is used in a phrase such as 巷の噂では (“according to a rumor in town” /chimata-no-uwasa-de’wa/), quoting irresponsive, most likely an unfounded, rumor. Writing (c) had water on the left side and writing (a) on the right side, and it became the kanji shape 港. Together they meant a waterfront where many people come, which is a port. The kun-yomi 港 /minato/ means “port.” The on-yomi /ko’o/ is in 空港 (“airport” /kuukoo/) and 漁港 (“fishing port” /gyokoo/.)

  1. The kanji 選 “to select”

History選It has been a while since we looked at the kanji 選 [September 26, 2014, post] in connection with the meaning of 共. Let us revisit this kanji, focusing on the two little 己 above 共 this time. In both bronze ware style and ten style, two people were putting their hands on their knees, which were bent. They also had a footprint and a cross road even though the placement was different — side by side, in bronze ware style; and at top and the bottom, in ten style. From select people doing votive dancing on a stage for the god to see, it meant “to select.”

Well, we have seen quite a lot of shapes that came from a posture that a person made using the whole body. I feel I ought to make a table of those shapes so that we can review them. It is time for us to move to another topic for now. [April 26, 2015.]