Be wise. Be brave. Be tricky. (slithytove) wrote,
Be wise. Be brave. Be tricky.

I find it mildly shocking that so many characters and radicals depict things like 'hand holding stick to beat someone with', the present character meaning 'shackles', the radical that depicts a tattoo needle once used to tattoo slaves, and so on. I'm not shocked to find that these things were done, but that they were so important (and so frequent?) in the Yellow River civilization which created the elements of the modern Chinese and Japanese characters as to find their way often into frequently used characters.

I sometimes wonder how our current civilization will appear to people of the future. Will they perhaps find our own metaphorical use of the word 'war', for example ('War on Cancer', 'War on Drugs', etc.) shocking? Will they conclude that the concept of war was a major part of our civilization, and hence frequently in our thoughts, and a major part of our language? I imagine they will.


meaning: device
機械 == kikai == machine
器械 == kikai == instrument, apparatus

The left radical is 'wood', (木), the right radical is 'admonish' (戒). Thus, a wooden item for admonishing. This character originally meant 'wooden shackles', and this meaning is still present as a minor meaning in both Chinese and Japanese. The broader idea of 'device' is the now the principal meaning of this character.  Henshall suggests as a mnemonic: 'Wood device for admonishing.'

Stroke order from Josh's Chinese Lookup Thingy (animated)
Stroke order from Taka Kanji Database
Other info from Taka Kanji Database

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