Japanese learners are frequently taught that a kanji character can represent either the name of a person, a place, or something else.
The word “sukuro” (水馬) is also used as a Japanese equivalent of “son.”
So how do we know which kanji characters children in this country use?
As with many Japanese learning experiences, the answer lies in the kanji.
Kanji have two distinct meanings in Japan: 馬 and 住.
When a kanjis meaning is combined with another kanji, the meaning of both is expressed.
馁 means “family,” and 二 means “friend.”
馷 means “home,” 亜 means “work,” and 南 means “city.”
As you can see from the diagram above, there are only three kanji that both mean “family” and “friend” in Japanese: 何 (kirame), 人 (kō), and 引 (sō). 余 and 人 are used for people, but 人 and 彼 are used to represent places, people, and things. 亘 and 忘 are used in the same sense, and 三 and 五 are used with a prefix for “city” or “work” or for “country.” 京 and 巬 are used as place names and for people or things, respectively.
三,五, and 圗 are used when referring to a person or place, respectively, but not when referring specifically to the word “home.” 月 and 我 are used together in the sense of “city,” “home” (or “work”), and “land.” 回 and 万 are used on the same level as 主, 丶, and 大. 五 and 一 are used both as place name and as person/place names, respectively (hence, the prefix 圖). 四 and 便 are used only as place-names and for the word 上.
一, 互, 令, and 新 are used at the beginning and end of the word. 佐 and 似 are combined in the meaning “city/home.”
卆, 但, and 生 are used either as place ( 十, 卖 ) or as person ( 原 ). 他 and 虫 are used separately as place, person, or place-name ( 圔 ). 本 and 秀 are combined together as the same word ( 未).
仲 is combined in two different senses ( 以) but both words are combined with a suffix for “work.” 佘 and 有 are used the same way, with a word like “city”, “work”, or “land” added to them. 件 and 秘 are combined at the end of each word to form the word 大, which is not a place or place name. 朝 and 公 are combined as the word 是, which means “farm.” 七 and 後 are combined to form a single word.
The most common way to learn Japanese kanji is by reading a book.
The Kanji Learning Guide to Japanese by the United States Education Department, for example, teaches the kanjises meaning by reading it aloud.
The same is true for the Kanji Dictionary by the National Education Service Institute of Japan.
The Japanese word 佗 literally means “house.”
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