Kanji represents meaning. Sometimes it makes perfect sense. Anyone can see 口 to mean mouth or 山 to mean mountain. But what about the reverse? Giving meaning to a character because something looks like that character. In Japanese, there is a specific type of phrase (found throughout the dictionary) that expresses someone or something looking like a Japanese character (hiragana or kanji).
You see it as:
___の字(じ)になる (becoming the ___ character)
Don’t we all want to become kanji and hiragana?! Here’s how…as visualized by cats (yup, that’s how we’re doing it this article).
6. への字 (へのじ)
The shape your mouth makes (turning it down at the corners into a frown).
5. 八の字 (はちのじ)
The shape your eyebrows make when you bend them.
4. 大の字 (だいのじ)
The shape you make when your arms and legs are outstretched, mainly when you are sleeping.
3. やの字 (やのじ)
The shape of the tied up back of a kimono for women. Yeah… I don’t really see it.
2. くの字 (くのじ)
The shape of something bent.
1. 川の字 (かわのじ)
The shape of people sleeping together on the floor in futons, all lined up (especially mother, father, and child). It’s a Japan thing…trust me.
Now go out there, and start looking like Japanese writing!
Founder of Jalup. iOS Software Engineer. Former attorney, translator, and interpreter. Still watching 月曜から夜ふかし weekly since 2013.