The Kanji 束速整頼瀬疎勅必密秘蜜泌-(5)


On this post we are going to explore two shapes that originated from a bundle of stuff. The first shape is 束, which was “a bundle of firewood tied around,” and the six Jojo kanji that contain are 束速整頼瀬疎勅. The second shape is 必, which was”something bound so tightly that it would not  allow any move” — the shape 必in the five kanji 必密秘蜜泌. Let us begin with 束.

  1. The kanji 束 “a bundle; to bind; a brief time”

History of Kanji 束For the kanji 束in (a) in oracle bone style, in brown, (b) and (c) in bronze ware style, in green, and (d) in seal style, in red, it was “a bundle of firewood tied around.” It meant “a bundle” or “things that were bound together.” In Japanese it also applies on time and means “a brief time.” The kanji 束 means “a bundle; to bind; a brief time.”  [The composition of the kanji 束: 一, 口、丨 and two strokes like 八]

The kun-yomi 束 /ta’ba/ means “bundle,” and is in 花束 (“bouquet of flowers” /hana’taba/) and 束ねる (“to bundle” /tabane’ru/). The on-yomi /soku/ is in 束縛する (“to restrain” /sokubaku-suru/), 結束する (“to band together; become united” /kessoku-suru/), and /-zoku/ is in 装束 (“costume; attire” /shoozoku/).

  1. The kanji 速 “fast; swift”

History of Kanji 速For the kanji 速 the bronze ware style writing had “stuff tied with a rope in the middle and at both ends” (after the last four posts we are now familiar with this shape as 東, aren’t we?) used phonetically for sokuto mean “quick; to rush.” The bottom had “a crossroad” and “a footprint,” which became 辵 in seal style, and further to 辶, a bushu shinnyoo “to go forward” in kanji. In seal style the tied stuff with strings around it was 束. Together they meant “fast.” The history of the kanji 速 having 東 and 束 suggests that it was likely that they were variations of things tied around. The kanji 速 means “fast; swift.” [The composition of the kanji 速: 束 and 辶]

The kun-yomi 速い /haya’i/ means “fast.” The on-yomi /soku/ is in 速度 (“speed” /so’kudo/), 秒速 (“speed per second” /byoosoku/), 迅速に (“swiftly” /jinsoku-ni/), 速達(“express mail” /sokutatsu/) and 快速電車 (“limited express train” /kaisoku-de’nsha/).

  1. The kanji 整 “to put in good order”

History of Kanji 整For the kanji 整 the left side of the bronze ware style writing had 束 “a bundle” and 正 “correct; just.” The right side had “a hand with a tool,” signifying “to cause something.” Together they signified “sorting things in bundles in good order.” In the seal style writing a hand holding a tool (攴) was shortened and became 敕 in the kanji. The kanji 整 means “to put in good order.”  [The composition of the kanji 整: 束, 攵 and 正]

The kun-yomi 整える /totonoe’ru/ means “to put in good order.” The on-yomi /see/ is in 整理する (“to put in good order” /se’eri-suru/), 調整 (“adjustment” /choosee/), 整然とした (“orderly” /seezentoshita/) and 交通整理 (“traffic control” /kootsuu-se’eri/).

  1. The kanji 頼 “dependable; to rely; request”

History of Kanji 頼For the kanji 頼 the seal style writing comprised 束“a bundle” and 刀“a knife” and 貝 “a cowry; money” used phonetically for /rai; ra/ to mean “profit.” Together “a part of a bundle of valuable things was carved out with a knife” gave the meaning “extra profit.” Having extra fortune make one that others might “rely on.” The kyuji 賴, in blue, reflected the seal style writing. In the shinji 頼 the simplification of the right side resulted in an unrelated component 頁. The kanji 頼 means “dependable; to rely; request.”   [The composition of the kanji 頼: 束and 頁]

The kun-yomi 頼む /tano’mu/ means “to request,” and /-dano/ is in 神頼み (/kamida’nomi/ “to turn to God for help”) and 頼りになる (“dependable” /ta’yori-ni-naru/). The on-yomi /rai/ is in 依頼する (“to request” /irai-suru/) and 信頼 (“trust” /shinrai/).

  1. The kanji 瀬 “rapids; one’s narrow ground”

History of Kanji 瀬For the kanji 瀬 the seal style writing comprised “water” and 賴 used phonetically for rai. It was considered to be the sound of rapids in a river. Together they meant “rapids.” Rapids were in the shallows where banks made the water flow narrow. It also meant “one’s predicament; one’s narrow ground.” As in the case of 頼, the simplification of the right side brought in 頁. The kanji 瀬 means “rapids; one’s narrow ground.” [The composition of the kanji 瀬: 氵,束and頁]

The kun-yomi /se/ is in 立つ瀬がない (“to be in a bind; in a tight corner” /ta’tsuse-ga-nai/), 瀬戸際 (“critical moment” /setogiwa/) and 瀬戸物 (“crockery; dishware” from pottery made in Seto /setomono/).

  1. The kanji 疎 “coarse; not close”

History of Kanji 疎For the kanji 疎 the seal style writing (䟽) comprised “a leg” and “a fine-toothed comb,” as in 梳 “to comb; to untangle by separating hair.” In 疏, 2 in kyuji, the left side 疋 “leg” was used phonetically for sho. Together they meant “to go through between gaps” and meant “coarse; not close.” Not being close also gave the meaning “distant; to alienate“In kanji the right side was replaced by 束 “a bundle.” The kanji 疎 means “coarse; not close; distant; to alienate.”[The composition of the kanji 疎: a variation of 正 and 束]

The kun-yomi 疎い /uto’i/ means “unacquainted with; distant.” The on-yomi /so/ is in 疎外感 (“feeling of being estranged” /sogai’kan/) and 意思の疎通 (“communication of one’s t’oughts; mutual understanding” /i’shi-no-sotsuu/).

  1. The kanji 勅 “imperial edict”

History of Kanji 勅For the kanji 勅 the seal style writing had “a bundle” (束) and “a plough” (力) or “a hand.” Together they originally meant “to bundle things in good order.” The kyuji 敕 came to be used to mean “imperial edict.” Its informal kanji 勅 became the shinji. The kanji 勅 means “imperial edict.” [The composition of the kanji 勅: 束 and 力]

There is no kun-yomi. The on-yomi /choku/ is in 勅語 (“an imperial eidict; a speech from the Throne” /cho’kugo/).

  1. The kanji 辣 “cruel; blistering; caustic”

There is no ancient writing and the kanji 辣 was created much later. It comprised 辛 “pungent; hard; tough” and 束used phonetically for /ratsu/. (束 was an abbreviated form of the kanji 剌 /ratsu/ “to sting.”) 辛 and 束 together gave the meaning “spicy; cruel. The kanji 辣 means “cruel; blistering; caustic.”[The composition of the kanji 辣: 辛 and 束]

There is no kun-yomi. The on-yomi /ra/ is in悪辣な(“villainous” ‘akuratsu-na/) and 辛辣な(“biting” /shinratsu-na/).

The next shape 必appear in the five Joyo kanji- 必密秘蜜泌.

  1. The kanji 必 “without fail; inevitable; (with negative) not necessarily”

FHistory of Kanji 必or the kanji 必 in (a) and (b) in bronze ware style and (c) in seal style it was “a tool for straightening an arrow by tightening flush.” Something being tightly bound did not allow any move. From that it meant “without fail.” Having no other option also meant “inevitable,” and with a negative it means “not necessarily; not entirely.” The kanji 必 means “without fail; inevitable; (with negative) not necessarily.”

The kun-yomi 必ず /kanara-zu/ means “without fail.” The on-yomi /hitsu/ is in 必要な(“necessary” /hitsuyoo-na/), 必然的な (“inevitable” /hitsuzenteki-na/) and 必死になって(“run for one’s life; desperately” /hisshi-ni-na’tte/).

  1. The kanji 密 “secret; dense; close”

History of Kanji 密For the kanji 密 in (a) and (b) the top was “a tightly wrapped halberd inside a house or shrine,” and the bottom was a “fire.” A fire had a cleansing power in religious rite. From a rite that was conducted hidden inside meant “secret.” In (c) in seal style the bottom became a mountain, most likely miscopied from the original “a fire.” The kanji 密 means “secret; dense.”  [The composition of the kanji 密: 宀, 必 and 山]

There is no kun-yomi. The on-yomi /mitsu/ is in 秘密 (“secret” /himitsu/), 機密書類(“confidential documents” /kimitsu-sho’rui/) and 精密機器 (“precision instrument” /seemitsu-ki’kai/), 密会 (“secrete meeting; clandestine meeting” /mikkai/) and 密着する (“stick fast to; adhere closely” /micchaku-suru/).

  1. The kanji 秘 “secret; to hide”

History of Kanji 秘For the kanji 秘the seal style and the kyuji 祕comprised 示“an altar table with offering” and 必used phonetically for hito mean “secret.” Together they signified “a religious rite secretly performed” or “secret.” In the shinji 秘, 示was replaced by 禾, a bushu nogihen“rice plant” for a reason that was unclear. The kanji 秘means “secret; to hide.” [The composition of the kanji 秘:禾and 必]

There is no kun-yomi. The on-yomi /hi/ is in 秘密(“secret” /himitsu/) and 極秘(“strictly confidential; top secrecy” /gokuhi/).

  1. The kanji蜜 “honey; nector”

History of Kanji 蜜In seal style of the kanji 蜜 the top of (a) had “a tripod inside a house” and “two worms” signifying “bees.” Bees produced “honey,” which was kept in a pot. In (b) 貝was replaced by 必for /mitsu/. The kanji 蜜 means “honey; nector.” [The composition of the kanji 蜜: 宀, 必 and 虫]

The kun-yomi 蜜 /mitsu/ means “honey” and is in 蜂蜜 (“bee honey” /hachimitsu/) and 花の蜜 (“flower nector” /hana-no-mi’tsu/).

  1. The kanji 泌 “to seep; ooze; run”

History of Kanji 泌The seal style writing of the kanji 泌comprised “water” and 必used phonetically for hitsu. In the origin of 必things such as an arrow was bound tightly, leainvg little space in between. Together they meant “water running through a narrow path.” The sound was onomatopic. In Japan the kanji 泌is used to mean “to seep; ooze; run.” [The composition of the kanji 泌: 氵and 必]

The kun-yomi is 沁みる /shimiru/ “to seep; ooze.” The on-yomi /pi/ is in 分泌(“secretion; discharge” /bunpi/).

We shall have one more post on the shapes that originated from a tied object. I find it very surprising to find so many shapes in this group.  Thank you very much for your reading.  –Noriko [May 12, 2018]

The Kanji 雨雲曇雪霜霧露—あめかんむり(1)


In this and next posts, we are going to look at kanji that have a bushu amekanmuri (雨). It means “rain” and also pertains to atmospheric phenomena.

  1. The kanji 雨 “rain; rainfall”

History of Kanji 雨For the kanji 雨, the oracle bone style writing, (a) in brown, consisted of two parts– The top was “cloud” or “sky,” and the bottom was “rain drops.” Together water droplets coming down from the clouds or sky meant “rain.” In bronze ware style (b) and (c), in green, two water droplets were placed inside each of the two halves with a vertical line in the center. The ten style writing, (e) in red, took the bronze ware style, which became the kanji 雨 (f). Setsumon also gave (d) as its earlier style, which does not have a dividing vertical line in the middle.

The kun-yomi 雨 /a’me/ means “rain,” and /ama-/ is in 雨具 (“raingear” /ama’gu/), 雨水 (“rainwater” /ama’mizu/) and 雨垂れ (“raindrops” /amadare/). The on-yomi /u/ is in 雨天 (“rainy weather” /u’ten/) and 降雨量 (“amount of rainfall” /koou’ryoo/). There are a few traditional usages that are neither kun-yomi nor on-yomi — 春雨 (“fine rain in spring” /harusame/), 時雨 (“late-autumn or early winter shower; occasional shower” / shigure/), 五月雨 (“early summer rain” /samidare/) and 梅雨 (“rainy season rain” /ba’iu/ or /tsuyu/).

  1. The kanji 雲 “cloud”

History of Kanji 雲For cloud, originally it only had the bottom 云, which was “cloud.” Shirakawa explained that a dragon, an imaginary powerful animal, was believed to be inside clouds and that the oracle bone style writing (a) had a dragon in the cloud with its tail curled up. Setsumon gave (b) and (c) as earlier writings. The ten style writings got 雨 /ameka’nmuri/ on the top together with (b) for (d), and (c) for (f). The kanji 雲 means “cloud.”

The kun-yomi 雲 /ku’mo/ means “cloud,” and is in 雲行き (“the movement of the clouds; the turn of events” /kumoyuki/). /-Gumo/ is in 入道雲 (“thunderhead” /nyuudoogu’mo/). The on-yomi /u’n/ is in the phrase 雲泥の差 (“a big difference; world of difference” /undee-no-sa/) – 泥 means “mud.”

The kanji 曇 “cloudy”

When the sun 日 is placed on top of 雲, it makes up another Joyo kanji 曇. The sun blocked by clouds means “cloudy.” The kun-yomi 曇り /kumori’/ means “cloudy; cloudy sky,” and is in 曇る (“to become cloudy; become dim” /kumo’ru/), 曇りがち (“tending to be cloudy; broken clouds” /kumorigachi/). The on-yomi /do’n/ is in 曇天 (“cloudy sky” /donten/).

  1. The kanji 雪 “snow”

History of Kanji 雪For the kanji 雪, the oracle bone style writings (a) and (b) had a cloud at the top and the bottom showed lightly falling flakes coming down from the sky, which meant “snowfall; snow.” The ten style writing (c) had different components. The top was the same, something that falls from the sky. The middle had two brushes or brooms, and the bottom had a hand — together they signified a hand holding a broom to sweep or clean. Snowfall blankets the earth as if cleansing everything on the ground. It meant “snow.”

The kun-yomi 雪 /yuki’/ means “snow,” and is in 大雪 (“blizzard; big snowfall” /ooyuki/), and 雪かき (“snow shoveling; snow removal” /yukika’ki/). The on-yomi /se’tsu/ is in 新雪 (“new snow” /shinsetsu/) and 残雪 (“lingering snow on the ground” /zansetsu/).

The kanji 霰 and 雹– Other kanji regarding something that falls from the sky include 霰 (“small-sized hail” /arare/) and 雹 (“hail” /hyo’o/). Technically hail under 5 mm is 霰, but who is measuring? /Arare/ falling is something we can enjoy looking at, but if it is /hyo’o/ we probably start to worry about possible damage. Neither kanji is a joyo kanji, but you do see them used, possibly with phonetic katakana accompanying them.

The bushu amekanmuri pertains not only to something that falls from the sky but also to something atmospheric. Moisture in the air creates all kinds of phenomena. Among other Joyo kanji, in 霧, 霜 and 露 the bottom components are all used phonetically.  We look at those kanji now.

  1. The kanji 霜 “frost”

History of Kanji 霜When moisture becomes frozen on the surface or in the ground, it becomes frost. The ten style of the kanji 霜 had a bushu amekanmuri “atmospheric phenomenon” and the bottom 相 was used phonetically for /so’o/. It meant “frost.” The Kadokawa dictionary and Kanjigen explained that 相 “to face each other” gave the meaning of moisture in the ground forming columns, as in 霜柱 (“frost column” /shimoba’shira/).

The kun-yomi 霜 /shimo/ means “frost,” and is in 霜降り肉 (“marbled meat” /shimohuri’niku/), 霜取り (“defrosting in freezer” /shimotori/). The on-yomi /so’o/ is in 星霜 (“years” /seesoo/), which is only used in literary phrases, such as 十年の星霜を経て (“after long ten years”).

  1. The kanji 霧 “haze; fog; mist”

History of Kanji 霧When the moisture is suspended in the air as tiny water droplets it becomes fog. The ten style of the kanji 霧 consisted of 雨 “atmospheric phenomenon” and 務, used phonetically for /mu/ to mean “something unclear.” An atmospheric phenomenon that hampered visibility due to tiny water droplets in the air was “fog.” The writing in blue is in Large ten style 大篆 /daiten/, which preceded Small ten style 小篆 /shooten/ (what we are using as ten style in this blog.)

The kun-yomi 霧 /kiri/ means “fog; mist,” and is in 霧吹き (”spray; sprayer” /kirihu’ki/). /-Gi’ri/ is in 夜霧 (“night fog” /yo’giri/). The on-yomi /mu/ is in an expression 五里霧中 (“to be lost in a fog; be at sea” /go’ri muchuu/).

  1. The kanji 露 “dew: to expose”

History of Kanji 露When moisture in the air becomes water droplets on the ground, it is dew. The ten style of the kanji 露 consisted of 雨 “atmospheric phenomenon” and 路, used phonetically for /ro/. The dew covers everything outside. From that 露 also meant “to cover; expose.”

The kun-yomi 露 (“dew” /tsu’yu/) is in 夜露 (“night dew” /yo’tsuyu/) and 雨露 (“rain and dew; outside weather” /a’metsuyu/), which is used in phrases such as 雨露にさらされる (“to be exposed to the elements; to be open to the wet” /ametsuyu-ni sarasareru/). The on-yomi /ro/ is in 露見する (“to come to light” /roken-suru/), 露出 (“exposure” /roshutsu/) and 暴露する (“to reveal or expose a secret intentionally” /ba’kuro-suru/).

In the next post we continue with more kanji that have a bushu amekanmuri and a few related kanji.   [March 27, 201]