Kanji of the Day: 女 (じょ/にょ/おんな) jo/nyo/on'na (female)

I know this is kind of late, but happy 2015!!

I am sorry that I have not been able to update the Kanji of the day as frequently as I used to, but I am hoping to do better this year! I also hope that your new year’s resolution include “learn more kanji” 😉

Anyways, today’s kanji of the day is 女 (on’na). If you have been studying kanji for a while, you may notice that there are a lot of kanjis composed with 女 such as 妹, 姉, 姫, 娘, 婦, 婆, and many more, but there are only a few kanjis with 男 (otoko), meaning male. Why is that?


Well, although the evidence is still ambiguous, there are a couple of different explanations why there are way more kanjis with 女 than 男: One says that when men created kanjis, they conveniently used their partners, women, to describe subjects and matters around them. For instance, 嫁 (yome) consists of two characters which are 女 and 家 (ie), meaning house/home. Guess what this character means: a wife! Pretty straight forward, right?

Another one says that because women were often involved in religious practices and rituals, which played a significant role in any decision making in ancient Japan, they created kanjis to honor the spiritual characteristics of women.

Either way, it is kind of an interesting fact considering the fact that Japan has long been recognized as a male dominant country; I would think that there can be more kanjis with 男 to honor them. No?

Please let us know if there are any particular kanjis you would like us to investigate or explain 🙂 Let’s make 2015 some kinji-full year!! Cheers!!


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