THE HEART OF KANJI: Take care of yourself

自 (Ji) means “yourself.” This character represents a person’s nose. In Japanese culture, people point to their nose when they say “me or myself.” 分 (Bun) means “a part of.” The top part of this word represents two pieces, and below this symbolizes a knife. Together, this character shows that our life was divided from […]

THE HEART OF KANJI: Heart of kindness for people and all things

人 (Hito) means “person.” 全て (Subete) This character, which represents a form of the person, means “everything.” The top of this word symbolizes the roof of a warehouse that stores many valuable items. 親 (Shin or oya) means “parents.” The top left side represents a person standing, and the bottom of this character represents a […]

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 […]

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: 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 […]


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, […]

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