Kanji and Hanmoon, Part 9

As I said before, my Korean son in law has arrived in Oklahoma. He is sleeping off his jet lag now. When he arrived, he gave me a gift. He had a gift for everyone in the family. Yes, the Om family, a Korean family, considers me part of them. Even his parents have pictures of me on their walls. The gift tells you what the Om family thinks. He bought matching beaded Korean bracelets for everyone in the family, one for his mother, his father, his brother, my daughter, and me. The only difference between all the bracelets is each has a different hanmoon on it. The hanmoon represents the Chinese Zodiac of each person. Mine has the hanmoon of a sheep. If you go to Chinese restaurants, often this Chinese Zodiac is on the place mats there. In ancient China, the sheep hanmoon was used on money, and the sheep represents rich and lucky people. The people born in the year of the sheep are supposed to be gentle, calm, and descent. I don’t believe in the Chinese Zodiac. In fact, I don’t believe in any Zodiac, but it is fun to know about and play with. I appreciate the Om family embracing me as much as it has when I am not genetically or legally an Om. The hanmoon is important to the Om family because they were originally sent from the emperor of China to teach the Chinese characters to the royal family of Korea. They are Korean now, and my son in law’s father carries on the family tradition. He is a hanmoon professor at a university and a preacher.

The first kanji or hanmoon originally looked like a spool of yarn that was spun off a spinning wheel. It was two spools sitting on top of the other that were rather rounded with something on the bottom to hold on to. However, like the others, it evolved. It lost the roundness.

これは 糸 です。(kore wa ito desu.) = This is thread. = 이것은 실 이예요. (eegeosun sheel eeyeyo).

Japanese: = thread. In hiragana, this is いと (ito).

Korean: = thread. In hanmoon, this is 실 (sheel).


This next kanji or hanmoon used to be more rounded, and it also had a bow string, but now, the bow string is missing, and it has lost its rounded nature for expediency. The bow was an ancient weapon, so it makes sense they felt the need to communicate it on paper.

かれは 弓 あります。ありがとうございます。ります。(kore wa yumi arimasu.)= He has a bow. = 그가 활가 있어요. (ku gah hwal gah eesseoyo).

Japanese: = bow. The hiragana for this is ゆみ (yumi).

Korean: = bow. The hanmoon for this is 활 (hwal).


The next kanji or hanmoon originally looked like an arrow shot through a fan. The original picture actually wasn’t very good, and I wouldn’t have recognized what they were trying to draw at all. Since they are used as a kind of writing now instead of just drawing, again, they have slightly changed it for expediency.

これは 矢 です。(kore wa ya desu.) = This is an arrow. = 이것은 활살 이예요. (eegeosun whalsahl eeyeyo)

Japanese: = arrow. In hiragana, this is や (ya).

Korean: = arrow. In hangul, this is 활살 (whalsahl).


This next kanji or hanmoon was originally a string of three beads. However, it has changed with time also. The beads have become just three lines on the string now. This kanji or hanmoon means “bead” or “ball.”

これは 玉 です. (kore wa bizu desu.) = These are beads. = 이것은 구슬 이예요. (eegeosun goosul eeyeyo)

Japanese: = bead or ball. The pronunciation of “bead” is not in hiragana, but in katakana, the alphabet used for foreign words. The katakana is ビーズ (bi–zu), a corruption of “beads.” The hiragana for “ball” is たま (tama). I have also see in written バル (baru) in katakana.

Korean: = bead. The pronunciation of “bead” in hangul is 구슬 (goosul). The pronunciation of “ball” in hangul is 공 (kong).


The last one I am going to show you today actually looks like the side of a plate or shallow bowl sitting on the cabinet or table. It used to be more rounded, but it, like everything else, has lost its roundness for expediency and developed corners.

これは皿です。(kore wa sara desu.) = This is a dish. = 이것은 접시 이예요. (eegeosun jeobshee eeyeyo).

Japanese: = dish or plate. In hiragana, this is pronounced さら (sara).

Korean: = dish or plate. In hangul, this is pronounced 접시 (jeobshee).


There is your little bit of kanji or hanmoon for today. I hope you are enjoying it. Remember, I have written the pronunciation of the hiragana in what the Japanese call “romaji” which means it has the pronunciation like a Latin language because the Japanese learned this alphabet from the Portuguese. I have kind of combined the Korean way of writing in English with the English pronunciation to try to make it make more sense.


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