22 October 2011

Kanji Lesson 11

(サ、シャ、ひだり) Left
(ウ、ユウ、みぎ) Right
The radical ノ and 一 represent a shoulder and an arm. As a common habit of a right-handed person, the right hand is used for eating (putting the food into the mouth 口), and the left hand is used for working (工) if you really have to do both at the same time.

  • 左手 (ひだりて) Left Hand

Name, Reputation
Consist of Evening (夕) to indicate darkness, and Mouth (口) to indicate speaking. When the day gets dark and visibility is limited (especially in ancient times where there were no electricity), and we have to look for someone, we will have to call his/her name out. Vice versa, if someone else is having difficulties to recognize us in the dark, we should mention our name.

  • 本名 (ほんみょう) Real name

Ahead, Previous
Consist of a part of 生 (birth) and human legs (儿) to indicate movement. Being ahead / previous (ahead of others) is a condition that results from (born of) movement in the right direction (one's effort & progress).

  • 先生 (せんせい) Teacher, Master, Doctor
  • 先日 (せんじつ) The other day, A few days ago
  • 先月 (せんげつ) Last month

Blue, Green
Consist of a part of 生 (life) to represent Plants (the producer of oxygen, a vital element of life), and Moon (月). This kanji have the meaning of the color blue, green, and those in-between (the different shades of cyan). The color green, as we can easily guess, is represented by the plant. The interesting part is the color blue that's represented by the moon. The color of the moon (and the moonlight) as we all know, is not blue. But if we are at a place where there's no artificial light (villages, countrysides, etc), and we go outside on a full moon, our surroundings will appear bluish. This phenomenon is actually a perceptual illusion, and is known as "blue shift".

  • 青森 (あおもり) Aomori (a prefecture in Japan)
  • 青山 (あおやま) Blue Mountain, a neighbourhood in Tokyo

Sentence, Literature, Art
By jondresner (Flickr) CC BY-NC-SA 2.0
Consist of the (kettle) lid radical () and a cross below it to describe a decorated utensil/vessel. The decorations usually consist of patterns & calligraphies, hence the notion of "sentence" & "literature".
  • 文化 (ぶんか) Culture, Civilization
  • 文字 (もじ) Letter (of alphabet), Character
  • 文学 (ぶんがく) Literature

Yen, Circle
This kanji is the symbol printed in Japanese bank notes. For example, in 1000 yen bank notes, we will see 千円. In ancient times, all money were made of coins, which explain the other meaning of this kanji (circle/round).