July 18th, 2002


Kanji: mibae

This says vanity, charm, or grace (mibae).

On top is Ken, look, see, show. The boxy bit with lines is a stylized eye turned sideways, the curves below are bent legs. A pictograph of a person kneeling to stare at something.

On the bottom is Ei, reflect, shine. The box with a line through it on the left is the sun. The thing that looks like a stick figure carrying a box on its shoulders depicts a human wearing a yoke on the neck, or possibly a human figure with an abstract square symbol meaning 'confine'. In either case, the focus is on the neck as a central line of the body, and the character means 'center'. Phonetically, it is pronounced the same as the word for bright, which may be why it was included in this character, but many scholars feel that it implies the center of the sun, the brightest part.
'Reflect' is a later associated meaning.

You could read the two as "Look at me! I'm shiny!" - and get vanity and charm, and even grace.

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For some well-done kanji in a style very different than mine (including Ken), look at joxn's work here.
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