corvi (corivax) wrote,

kanji 101: Kanashii

I have a new way to use this journal to maximum annoyance potential! An informal survey of four people who like me too much reveals that nobody objects to me hopping onto a soapbox and babbling on about kanji I like. So, every whenever-I-get-to-it, expect a quick-sprawled calligraphy and explanation of a kanji. So:

This is 'Hi', sad. The lower piece (shin) is a stylized image of a heart, figuratively feelings/thoughts/mind.
The top (also called hi) is a stylized image of wings, from a pictograph of a bird spreading wings to fly off. It originally meant 'to fly away from' and came to mean 'turn away from', 'seperate' and 'not'.
This character exemplifies a lot of what I find fascinating about studying kanji etymology. It's a pun, but a very poetic one. The wing-image is used because it has the same sound as the concept in question ("hi"), because alone it conveys the concept 'not'. But also because it conveys seperation/loss/distance and opening/rending and freedom/flight. Meanings within meanings.

And it doesn't hurt that the kanji itself is very beautiful in form.

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