The Heart of Kanji

THE HEART OF KANJI: Inu Doshi — Year of the Dog

戌 (Inu) means “dog.” This character represents an axe, a symbol for power, and the number one. So the dog can use the axe to gather many things into one. 年 (Toshi or Nen) means “year or age.” The top two lines of this character indicate a rice plant, and the lines below indicate a […]

THE HEART OF KANJI: Nothingness

無 (mu) means “nothingness.” The bottom four strokes indicate fire flames, the character in the middle indicates a house, and the top lines represent a new life emerging from the burning home. When the house burns down and becomes ashes, new life can grow from that. The kanji (mu) teaches us that although we may lose everything, […]

THE HEART OF KANJI: Love of heaven and earth

天 (Ten) means “heaven.” The top line indicates the sky or universe and the bottom lines indicate a big person who is standing with open hands. 地 (Chi) means “earth or soil.” The left side represents the ground and the right side symbolizes a snake. This is to show that the earth is not flat, […]

THE HEART OF KANJI: Life of flower

花 (Hana) means “flower.” The top indicates a plant. The left side below the plant indicates a person, and the right side indicates the person who is upside down in the ground, meaning death. A flower begins as a plant, blooms as a flower, and then it eventually dies. 命 (Inochi) means “life.” The top indicates a […]

THE HEART OF KANJI: First shrine or temple visit of the Japanese New Year

初 (Hatsu) means “first” or “beginning.” The left side of this character represents clothes or kimono. The right side indicates a knife. To make a kimono, one must first cut the cloth. 詣 (Mode or mairu) means “to visit a shrine.” The left side of the character indicates talking. The top of the right side indicates people and the bottom of the right […]

THE HEART OF KANJI: Life and death as one

生 (sei) means “life.” The bottom represents the soil and the top indicates a new plant, which comes out from the soil. 死 (shi) means “death.” The top and left side lines indicate a bone, and the right indicates a person upside down in the ground. 一 (ichi) means “one.” 如 (nyo) means “same.” The left side is a […]

THE HEART OF KANJI: Haku to kanau: Putting out positive thoughts to fulfill wishes

吐く (haku) means to “throw out or speak out.” The left side of the kanji character represents a mouth. The characters on the right represent a plus or minus sign. So haku means to throw out both good or bad things or to speak good or bad words. If you simply change the second character […]

THE HEART OF KANJI: Truth

真 (makoto, shin, ma) means truth. This kanji character is in the form of a person who is upside down, which indicates that the person is dead. The truth is that all of us will die someday. Like the saying goes, “In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” […]

THE HEART OF KANJI: (Nihon Machi Hyaku Jyu Nen) 110th year of San Francisco’s Japantown

日 (ni, hi, nichi) means sun or day. This character is from the shape of the sun. 本 (hon, moto) means origin or book. This character is from the shape of a tree and its roots. Together, this character is Nihon or Japan. 町 (machi) means town. This character indicates two parts. The left side […]

THE HEART OF KANJI: Visiting Japan

Last October, Alice and I visited Japan. We left San Francisco on Oct. 21 via All Nippon Airways. An Australian stewardess who spoke fluent Japanese served us on the airplane. She tried to pour water into a plastic cup. I stopped her and asked if she could change from plastic to paper. I explained to […]

Kyplex Cloud Security Seal - Click for Verification