Kanji and Hanmoon, Part 11

It is time to have a bit more fun with kanji and hanmoon. You are going to like one that I have for today because it is part of Tokyo and Kyoto. If you are in Japan, you will see it a lot. I saw it quite often when I watched the weather report on TV in Japan. The reason why it is both part of Tokyo and Kyoto is because Tokyo is the capital city, and Kyoto used to be the capital city.

As I said, the first kanji or hanmoon means “capital city.” Korea happens to be the most mountainous country in the world. Their first emperor lived up on top of a mountain. In Korea, they built homes on top of the mountains so that when the Chinese invaded, it would be hard for them to get up there. The Chinese would be out of breath by the time they got to the top of the mountain, and then, there would be stairs to get to the door, so they would be really winded when they got there, and that gave the Korean who lived at the top an edge, and could they could easily defend themselves. I chose a picture that looks like the original kanji or hanmoon, and it is in Korea, but all them have changed with time. This building is in Seoul, the capital city of S. Korea. Seoul has always been the center of Korea, and is one of the oldest cities in the world.

この たてものは 京へ あります。(kono tatemono wa kyou e arimasu) = This building is in the capital city. = 이건물은수도에 있어요 (eekeonmool un soodoh eh eesseoyo)

Japanese: = capital city. In hiragana, this is pronounced きよう (kiyou).

Korean: = capital city. In hangul, this is 수도 (soodoh).


This next kanji or hanmoon means high, tall, or expensive. It was originally a tall building on top of a foundation. However, it has changed a bit and looks a bit disjointed now.

この たてものは背が 高 いです (kono tatemono wa sega takai desu.) = This building is tall. =이 건물이 키가켜요. (ee keonmool ee keegahkyeoyo)

Japanese: = tall, expensive, high. “Tall” in hiragana is せが たかい (segatakai). Expensive in hiragana is たかい (takai), and “high” is たかい (takai).

Korean: = tall, expensive, high. “Tall” in Korean hangul is 키가큰 (keegahkun). 키가켜요 (keegahkyeoyo) means “is tall.” 높은 (nopun) is “high” in hangul. 높어요 (nopeoyo) is “is high” in hangul. 비싼 (beessahn) is how to say “expensive,” and 비싸요 (beessah-yo) is ihow you say “is expensive.”


This next kanji or hanmoon means “garment.” It was originally, shoulders, a neck, and the collar of a kimono drawn across the chest, however, it seems to have gotten a bit more complicated with time.

これは 衣 です。(kore wa koromo desu) = This is a garment. = 이것은 의복한점 이예요 (eegeosun weebokhanjeoa eeyeyo)

Japanese: = garment. The hiragana for this is ころも (koromo).

Korean: = garment. The hangul for this is 의복한점 (weebokhahnjeom).


This next kanji or hanmoon originally looked more like a bowl rice with steam rising from it, but it doesn’t at all anymore. Rice is the staple of the oriental diet, and this kanji means “energy.”

これは 気 が あります。(kore wa ki ga arimasu) = This has energy. = 이것은 에너지 있어요. (eegeosun ehnohjee eesseoyo)

Japanese: = energy. The hiragana for this is き (ki).

Korean: = energy. The hangul for this is 에너지 (ehneohjee).


I think this is enough for now. Enjoy the kanji and hanmoon. For the Japanese kids, it is a pain in the neck because they have to learn so much that the are always tested on it at school. When I worked in a language school in Japan, there were students there who were trying to learn more and more kanji to pass their tests. In Korea, the emperor Sejeong invented hangul because too many of the people of Korea were illiterate because unless they were upper class, they didn’t have time to learn the hanmoon because they were busy working to earn a living. Now, because of hangul, all Koreans read, and only the Korean scholars study hanmoon. My Korean son in law has studied a lot because his dad is a hanmoon professor, and he went to his father’s classes growing up, and he also did it as a grown man. However, he still feels like he doesn’t know enough to study a major at the university of ancient oriental philosophy which is what he would really like to study. All of the old books in Korea are written in hanmoon. We are lucky that we can do this just for fun and don’t really have to know these. However, if you go to the orient, they really help, and they are a fun past time.


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