Sunday, March 15, 2009

Six Kanji

 IN - member, official. This kanji is composed of two parts, the top resembling a mouth (口)and the bottom resembling the kanji for shell (貝). There are two interpretations for the origin of the "member" kanji. They say that the top part indicated "round", and the bottom part was a pictograph for a legged-teapot. Thus, for members who meet around a table for tea. 

 SHIN, ATARA(shi), ARA - new.  Three parts: stand (立) over tree (木)with a looming axe (斤) next to it. Standing trees get cut down with an axe to make new stuff! :P

 SHI (like shigoto), JI, TSUKA(eru) - serve. Even though the right hand part of this kanji looks like "ground", it is slightly different. In fact, 士 is the character for samurai! It's supposed to be represent a man's masculinity... use your imagination. Anyway, take the left-hand side as "person", and the right-hand side as samurai, and you have a servant doing his master's bidding!

  GOTO (like shigoto), KOTO, JI - thing. We see the recurring pitch-fork-like hand in this kanji. You can imagine a hand holding an upright flag or placard of some sort, like in a procession of soldiers marching valiantly, showing off their loyalties. Maybe they are chinese (中国)so they have 中 and 一 on top. Aha, they are marching along saying, "this THING means China is number one". Whew, that one's a toughie.

 YO(mu), DOKU - read. The first thing we see in this kanji is the radical for word (言) . Reading, words ... how relevant! Alright, now what's the other part? Well, technically as a whole it means sell (売) . You're supposed to imagine a samurai (士) behind a counter with his legs showing underneath, selling his wares. Anyway, selling doesn't seem to have any relevance at first, except that selling used to require "calling out" to sell to passerby. Thus, selling or calling out(売) words (言) is basically reading aloud. Ta da!  読 Can't you just imagine the samurai reading out his words behind the counter at the library?

 TSUGI, JI - next. Once I read the interpretation for this one, it made total sense. First we have the two dashes on the left, which originally were meant to infer two (二) . The right-hand side is a pictograph of a person (人) with a gaping mouth on top. Imagine pac-man with his mouth open to the top right. For normal people, a gaping mouth is yawning. What happens when we have two (二) people and one person yawns? Well of course, the next one does too.

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