The Heart of Kanji

THE HEART OF KANJI: Help one another

相 (Ai or so) means “each other.” The left side of this character represents a tree and the right side represents an eye. Together, your eye looks at a tree with deep care. This can also represent the deep care we have for others. 与 (Yo) means “give.” This word is a form of giving […]

THE HEART OF KANJI: The power of the immune system

生 (Sei) means “life.” The bottom of this character indicates soil and above it is a bud or a sprout. 命 (Mei or inochi) means “life.” The top line represents a person. Beneath the person is “one.” Beneath this indicates “beating.” Collectively, the person’s heartbeat helps them to live. 力 (Ryoku, chikara) means power, which […]


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 […]

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