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平仮名 (ひらがな, hiragana): ち (i.e. “chi”)

The modern form of ち comes from the cursive form of the kanji 知 (ち, chi, i.e. “knowledge”). Follow the progression of the different scripts shown in Figures 1 to 3 to understand its origin.

figure_1_2_hiragana_chi-horz

Figure 1. Standard script (楷書, かいしょ, kaisho) of the kanji 知. Calligraphy by 品天龍涙 (ぽんてりゅうるい, Ponte Ryūrui), ink on paper.

Figure 2. Semi-cursive script (行書, ぎょうしょ, gyōsho) of the kanji 知. Calligraphy by 品天龍涙 (ぽんてりゅうるい, Ponte Ryūrui), ink on paper.

figure_3_4_hiragana_chi-horz

figure_5_hiragana_chi

Figure 3. Cursive script (草書, そうしょ, sōsho) of the kanji 知. Calligraphy by 品天龍涙 (ぽんてりゅうるい, Ponte Ryūrui), ink on paper.

Figure 4. Calligraphy of the hiragana character ち. Note the corresponding shape with the cursive form of the character 知. Calligraphy by 品天龍涙 (ぽんてりゅうるい, Ponte Ryūrui), ink on paper.

Figure 5. The word もち (mochi, i.e. “sticky rice cake”) written in Japanese kana (かな) script. The hiragana character も is based on the cursive form of the kanji 毛 (も, mo i.e. “hair”, “fur”), which will be explained in our next article. Calligraphy by 品天龍涙 (ぽんてりゅうるい, Ponte Ryūrui), ink on paper.

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Ponte Ryūrui

Ponte Ryuurui (品天龍涙, ぽんてりゅうるい, Ponte Ryūrui) is the pen name of Piotr Ponte L. Sypniewski. He began studying calligraphy in 2001 under Japanese Master Kajita Esshuu (梶田越舟, かじたえっしゅう, 1938 – present).

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