The Heart of Kanji

THE HEART OF KANJI: Deep breath

深い (Fukai) means “deep.” The left side of this character indicates water and the right side represents a baby coming out of a womb.息 (Iki) means “breath.” The top of this character represents a nose, while the bottom symbolizes a human heart. The air reaches our heart through our lungs and nose. As you know, […]

The Heart of Kanji: Great ambition

大 (dai, ookii) means “great or big.” This character represents a tall person who is standing. 志 (Shi, kokorozashi) means “ambition.” The top part of this character depicts a samurai sword and the character below represents a human heart. Together, they depict a person with great ambition who will act like a samurai with a […]

The Heart of Kanji: Chikyu Ni Kansha: “Appreciate the Earth”

地 (chi) means ”ground.” The left side indicates soil and the right side indicates a moving snake. Together, these characters represent the uneven and changeable nature of the ground and the Earth. 球 (kyu) means “round ball” and this character represents its shape. 感 (kan) means “feeling.” The top lines indicate a fruit tree, the […]

THE HEART OF KANJI: Prayer and leaving it to Kami/Universe

This is the fourth rule for a harmonious relationship. 祈 り (ki, inori) means “prayer.” The left side represents an offering on a table for Kami, and the right side indicates an axe. After hunting animals with the axe, you can offer the animal to Kami on the altar. 任 す(nin, makasu) means “leave up.” […]

THE HEART OF KANJI: Your own happiness

This is the third rule for a harmonious relationship. 自 (ji) means “own.” This indicates a nose. When Japanese people introduce themselves to other people, they point to their own nose. 分 (bun) means “divide into two.” The bottom lines of this character are a knife and the top means to cut one thing into […]

THE HEART OF KANJI: Unconditional, without expectation

This is the second rule for a harmonious relationship (to read the first, please see the March 29, 2018 issue of the Nichi Bei Weekly): 無 (mu) means “nothingness.” The bottom four dots are fire flames. The middle lines represent a house and the top lines represent a new life growing from the ground. The […]

THE HEART OF KANJI: 100 percent effort

百 (hyaku) means “hundred,” which indicates the shape of a nose. You can breathe in and out of your nose 100 or more times. 努 (doo or tsutomu) means “effort.” 女 (onna) means “woman,” which represents the sitting form of a woman. 又 (mata) means “the crotch” and 力 (chikara or ryoku) means “power,” which […]

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, […]

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