Kanji: 小

figure_1_kanji etymology_shou

1. Meaning:little, small 2. Readings: Kunyomi (訓読み): お-, こ-, さ-, ちい.さい Onyomi (音読み): ショウ Japanese names: いさら, こう, さざ, しゃお, ちいさ Chinese reading: xiǎo 3. Etymology 小 belongs to the 象形文字 (しょうけいもじ, shōkeimoji, i.e., set of characters of pictographic origin). It is a pictograph of scattered tiny objects, possibly shells or precious stones. It is a historical fact that at the end of the Neolithic Era (10,000 B.C. – 8,000 B.C.) ancient Chinese began to use shells as … [Read more...]

Kanji: 子

figure_1_kanji etymology_shi

1. Meaning: child; first sign of Chinese zodiac; sign of the rat. 2. Readings: Kunyomi (訓読み): こ, -こ, ね Onyomi (音読み):シ, ス, ツ Japanese names: い, き, ぎ, く, け, ねっ Chinese reading: zǐ, zi 3. Etymology 子 belongs to the 象形文字 (しょうけいもじ, shōkeimoji, i.e. set of characters of pictographic origin). It is a pictograph of an infant. In “Explaining Simple (Characters) and Analyzing Compound Characters” (說文解字, pinyin: Shūowén Jiězì) from the 2nd century C.E., compiled by Xu … [Read more...]

Kanji: 山

figure_1_kanji etymology_yama

1. Meaning: mountain; also: climax, critical point, speculation, guess, criminal case. 2. Readings: Kunyomi (訓読み): やま Onyomi (音読み):サン, セン Japanese names: さ, やの, やん Chinese reading: shān 3. Etymology 山 belongs to the 象形文字 (しょうけいもじ, shōkeimoji, i.e. set of characters of pictographic origin). It is a pictograph of a mountain rising up from the surface of the ground. The sound and secondary meanings of the character 山 are strongly related to ancient Chinese … [Read more...]

Kanji: 三

figure_1_kanji etymology_san

1. Meaning: Three 2. Readings: Kunyomi (訓読み): み, みっ.つ, み.つ Onyomi (音読み):サン, ゾウ Japanese names: か, さ, さい, さえ, さぶ, ざ, ざえ, ざぶ, そう, ぞ, ただ, みつ, みん, も, や Chinese reading: sān 3. Etymology 三 belongs to the 指事文字 (しじもじ, shijimoji, i.e. set of characters expressing simple abstract concepts). 三 imitates the shape of three long and thin objects, such as small twigs used as an ancient calculation method. It is not a pictograph of three extended fingers, as many sources … [Read more...]

Kanji: 校

figure_1_kanji etymology_kou

1. Meaning: correction; exam; printing; proof; school; archaic: assemble, join (wood). 2. Readings: Kunyomi (訓読み): あぜ, かせ, くらべる Onyomi (音読み): キョウ, コウ Japanese names: めん, ただす Chinese reading: jiào, xiào 3. Etymology 校 belongs to the 形声文字 (けいせいもじ, keiseimoji, i.e. phono-semantic compound characters). This is by far the largest group of Chinese characters, encompassing about 85 - 90% of all kanji which are constructed of semantic (disclosing the general nature … [Read more...]

Kanji: 左

figure_1_hidari

1. Meaning: left (as in the opposite of “right”). 2. Readings: Kunyomi (訓読み): ひだり Onyomi (音読み): サ、 シャ Japanese names: あざ, さ, ささき, さざき, たすけ, ちゃ, ちょう, ひだり Chinese reading: zuǒ 3. Etymology 左 belongs to the category of characters known as 会意文字 (かいいもじ, kaii moji, i.e. a set of characters which are a combination of two or more pictographs, or characters whose meaning is based upon an abstract concept). 左 is a combination of two pictographs. The top-left … [Read more...]

Kanji: 口

figure_1_kuchi

1. Meaning: mouth 2. Readings: Kunyomi (訓読み): くち Onyomi (音読み): ク、コウ Japanese names: Does not appear in Japanese names Chinese reading: kǒu 3. Etymology 口 belongs to the 象形文字(しょうけいもじ, shōkeimoji, i.e. set of characters of pictographic origin). It is a pictograph of an open mouth. In 說文解字 (shūo wén jiě zì, i.e. “Explaining Simple (Characters) and Analyzing Compound Characters”) from the 2nd century C.E., compiled by 許慎 (Xǔ Shèn, ca. 58 C.E. – ca. 147 … [Read more...]