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Re: Japanese "good", consonant clusters etc.

From:Axiem <axiem@...>
Date:Sunday, January 4, 2004, 9:31
Some people said (and I replied):

> > > _bijin (no)_, "good-lookin'" (woman, girl) > > > > "Bijin", by kanji, is "bi" ("beautiful") and "jin" ("person"), so this
> > more of a "beautiful person". > > Well, according to my kanji dictionary, _bijin_ is "beautiful woman", > and I have only heard it used of a woman myself. Given the literal > meaning, I would assume it originally applied to both men and women, but > I don't know for sure.
Well, just like it's fairly uncommon ot refer to a male in English as "beautiful", I imagine. What I hear for men is more often "bishounen", which is more literally "beautiful boy" (or a "pretty boy"). So I would imagine it went the same way as "beautiful" in English, but I, also, cannot say for sure.
> > The kanji for "beauty" is rather interesting. :-) "sheep" + "big" A > big sheep was a desirable thing, thus the combination was used for > "desirable", which came to mean "beautiful"
Every time I try to deconstruct kanji this way, I get reprimanded (for lack of a better term) by my sensei-tachi and tutor. According to them, a single kanji cannot be broken down further into meanings. So the "musu" in "musuko" (son; "ko" means "child") does not actually mean self-heart, even though it is made of the kanji for "self" and "heart". This makes sense; "mai" (from "mainichi") means "every", yet also is part of "umi" ("sea"). There really is no correlation. So, I think some kanji did arise from pictographs and combinations of pictographs, but I don't think so for all of them. (And if you quote radicals at me, I'll hand-wave and say I know. I'm just not paying attention to that group, but you would be right in noting that they do exist) -Keith


Nik Taylor <yonjuuni@...>