Kanji and Hanmoon, Part 8

My Korean son in law landed in Dallas yesterday, and my daughter picked him up and brought him to Oklahoma City. He is going through culture shock now. We went to some friends’ house after church today for lunch, and they had big dogs in the yard, and he was so shocked! He said they were the biggest dogs he had ever seen. In Korea, they only have little dogs like the kind you keep in purses because everyone lives in apartments. They used to say “East is east, and west is west, and never the twain shall meet.” Well, they have met in our century because many from there travel here and we travel there, but we are still quite different, and it takes adjustment. We find one another interesting, and the kanji or hanmoon is one thing we find interesting about the people from the east. We have more opportunities to learn it today than any other time. Let’s talk about some kanji or hanmoon now.

In the beginning this first kanji or hanmoon looked more like a sword than it does now., but it got broad, and even though it means “sword,” I can’t see a sword in the modern form of this kanji. There are martial arts in Korea and Japan both that use a sword, but today, they use wooden swords when they are practicing these arts, but at one time, they were an important part of both cultures. In Korea, the art of sword fighting on horse back is called Geomdo, and in Japan, the art of sword fighting is Kendo. Geomdo is no longer on horseback, but they flip around like they are acrobats. In Kendo, they basically wear a helmet with a metal mask and a suit of armor and beat one another over the head with wooden sticks now a days. Samuari swords are a big deal in Japan and make great souvenirs if you can find ones you can afford.

これは 刀 です、(kore wa katana desu.) = This is a sword. = 이것은 검도 이예요. (eegeos un geom eeyeyo.)

Japanese: 刀 = sword. In hiragana, this is written かたな (katana).

Korean: 刀 = sword. In hangul, this is written 검 (geom) like in 검도 (geomdoh).


This next kanji or hanmoon begins with a sword. In the orient, the swords are like long knives. One side is sharp, and the other isn’t. They are not double bladed like the ones the knights in Europe carried. In this kanji or hanmoon, you begin by making the kanji for sword, and then put a mark across the side that is not sharp.

これは 刃 です。(kore wa ya-iba desu.) = This is a blade. = 이것은 브레드 이예요.

Japanese: = blade. The pronunciation for the kanji in hiragana is やいば (ya-iba) or は (ha).

Korean: =blade. I am not sure of the original pronunciation of this in Korean because Korean has borrowed a lot of English words. If you go to Korea, you will see English all over the place, and the English words they have adopted into Korean, they have murdered and most don’t even know they are English now. In hangul, this word is 브레드 (bu-reh-du) which is a corruption of “blade.”


When the kani or hanmoon were invented, there was no such thing as a car. However, carts existed. This next kanji or hanmoon was supposed to be looking down on a cart fromt he top, and if you think of it that way, it is easier to see. Now a days, they don’t use carts, but they use cars, and this kanji’s meaning has become “car.”

これは 車 です (kore wa kuruma desu) = This is a car. = 이것은 차 이예요 (eegeosun chah eeyeyo)

Japanese: = car. The hiragana for this kanji is くるま (kuruma).

Korean: = car. The hangul for this hanmoon is 차 (chah) or 차동차 (chahdongchah).


You are only going to get three this time because the Japanese keyboard on my computer is beginning to cause trouble, and when I try to type a word, I end up with one letter repeated about ten times, and then have to go back and delete all the extra letters. This is why I don’t always Japanese in my blog–because the Japanese keyboard on my computer causes trouble. However, three kanji or hanmoon are enough for one time. They are easier to learn if I don’t load you down too hard.

Leave a Reply