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: 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: 雨

figure_1_examples_of_various_forms_of_kanji_rain_in_oracle_bone_script_16

1. Meaning: rain 2. Readings: Kunyomi (訓読み): あま-、あめ、 -さめ Onyomi (音読み): ウ Japanese names: あめ, うらら, うるる, ふる Chinese reading: yǔ, yù 3. Etymology 雨 belongs to the 象形文字 (しょうけいもじ, shōkeimoji, i.e. set of characters of pictographic origin). Kanji 雨 consist of three compounds that all add to its pictographic nature. The top part 一 represents the heavens (天,てん, ten), the 冂 (けい, kei) represents clouds (雲,くも, kumo), and the four dots represent the rain falling from among … [Read more...]

Kanji: 一

figure_1_oracle_bone_script_of_one

1. Meaning: one. 2. Readings: Kunyomi (訓読み): ひと-、 ひと.つ Onyomi (音読み): イチ、 イツ Japanese names: い、 いっ、 いる、 かず、 かつ、 かづ、 てん、 はじめ、 ひ、 ひとつ、 まこと Chinese reading: yī 3. Etymology 一 belongs to the 指事文字 (shiji moji, i.e. characters expressing simple abstract concept) group of characters. One theory says that the shape of kanji 一 is based on the 算木 (sangi), which were divination rods (small wooden sticks of a similar shape to matches, but longer and thicker). Sangi were … [Read more...]