3/20/2008

The 漢 in 漢字

Something I just stumbled upon.

漢字かんじ(n) Chinese characters; kanji
おとこ(n) honourable man (anime, manga usage)
かん(suf) man (negative nuance)

Ah, dear Japanese. You continue to intrigue, amuse, and bewilder me. You're the gift that never stops giving.

4 comments

Brian said...

I hadn't thought of that! Your pretty clever! Keep up the good work when your back in school in the states. I guess you could breez through the advanced Japanese courses back in the states. Classical Japanese courses (if the have them at your school) might prove to be challenging although maybe not very useful.

bikenglish said...

一般的に、「漢」という字で覚えるべきことは、「漢字」と「熱血漢」「無頼漢」などのときに使われる「~男」という意味です。

Jonathan said...

Brian> Thanks for the recommendation. I might look into it.

Bikenglishさん> ご説明ありがとうございます!

Jonathan said...

I received this information from a native Japanese speaker via e-mail:

"I'm beginning to write this because on March 20th, you wrote about the kanji Kan, which has two opposite meanings, good man and bad man, roughly speaking.

As you know, most of Chinese dynasties are of the Kan tribe so until well into Qing(shin in Japanese) dynasty, Kan meant well as synonym of civilization but this dynasty is of a Manchu (manchuu in J) tribe and over time, even a kind of contempt arose for the Kan tribe. That's when Kan began to take a bad connotation as in chi-kan, hiretsu-kan and so on.

なるほど!