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October 2008
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corvi [userpic]
Kanji, finally! Been ages. Kei.

This is 'Kei', which means 'enlighten' or 'state'. (That's the 'tell someone facts' state, not 'take someone's tax' state.)
The bottom square denotes an opening. The top sort of P-shaped element is one half of an elaborated carved temple gate. If you extended the side bar of the P all the way down to the bottom of the picture to form the arch, the square at the top and the line over it would be the carven temple gate. (The gate radicals are used in many kanji that connotate 'between' concepts). So, the two are a door, an open door.
The crisscrossy radical is an arm holding a sword, and denotes strength/power/force/coercion. Used here as a causative element: to throw open the temple doors. Over time the meaning broadened to just "open up," and eventually the figurative idea of 'enlighten' - to open oneself or someone else up to truth. 'State' is believed to have been associated later, from the idea of explain/inform.


In The Two Towers, when Aragorn throws open the doors with a crash and all this light streams in behind him into the dark, musty hall, I could not help but think of this kanji. I'm a dork. He's even got a sword!

Coming up next: Another enlighten, very different symbolism.
And myclaudia, I really want to see you sometime. I have a nice new version of your kanji, coiled black and stronger. When are you available?
And sar_anon, can I write up the kanji you requested in livejournal?