和製漢字 Kanji, made in Japan

Exploring a few 和製漢字, Kanji that were Created in Japan.

和製漢字
わせい かんじ
Kanji, made in Japan

While the vast majority of kanji of course came from China, there are a number of 和製漢字, Kanji created in Japan. Most of these kanji are made by combining two or more kanji to get the desired meaning.

国字 (kokuji) is another name for these kanji.

For example:
鰯 iwashi – sardine

This fish which was considered weak is made by combining the kanji for fish (魚) and weak (弱)

There are actually many fish related 和製漢字 since mainland China, especially in the West) didn’t have as much contact with marine life as did the island nation of Japan.

Here are a few 和製漢字 that are in use commonly in Japan. If you know others that are useful, please leave us a comment, and I will try to add them as we collect them.

See if you can guess some of the meanings by looking at how the kanji is made up.

The 和製漢字 How it is made up English meaning
とうげ


1) 山 (mountain)
2) 上 (up)

3) 下 (down)

(a mountain) pass;

峠を越える [touge o koeru] to cross over (a mountain)

 

The 和製漢字 How it is made up English meaning
つじ

1) the radical しんにょう (sometimes しんにゅう) which usually denotes walking or something to do with the road
2) 十 (normally 10 but here meaning a cross)

a crossroads, a crossing place

 

The 和製漢字 How it is made up English meaning
はたけ


1) 火 (fire)
2) 田 (rice paddy)

a field (for farming)

 

The 和製漢字 How it is made up English meaning
はたら(く)

1) 人 (radical form of person)
2) 動 (to move)

to work

 

The 和製漢字 How it is made up English meaning
しゃち

1) 魚 (fish)
2) 虎 (tiger)

killer whale

 

The 和製漢字 How it is made up English meaning
たら

1) 魚 (fish)
2) 雪 (snow)

cod (codfish)

 

The 和製漢字 How it is made up English meaning
しずく

1) 雨 (rain)
2) 下 (down)

a drop (of water)

 

The 和製漢字 How it is made up English meaning
しつけ

1) 身 (body)
2) 美 (beautiful)

training, discipline

躾が良い – be well-bred

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