Kanji and Hanmoon, Part 24、感じ(かんじ)(kanji) and 한문 (hanmoon)

My Korean son in law told me something interesting about kanji and hanmoon yesterday. He said there was a time that the Chinese and the Japanese decided to simplify the characters to make the easier to use. However, the Koreans never went through the process of simplifying them, so when there is a difference between the kanji and hanmoon, the Koreans use the original. He said the Koreans didn’t bother to go through simplifying them because most of the population uses hangul, and only the scholars use the hanmoon. The Japanese and the Chinese populations as a whole needed to simplify the characters more than the Koreans did. I know the Koreans use the hanmoon mostly for reading their old books, but at times, you see them on signs also. Before hangul was invented, the used them everywhere, but not everyone could read them, and that is why hangul was invented. Let’s have some fun.

The first one is very apt because of what has been happening in the world. They are asking everyone to wear masks now because of the corona virus. The Orientals have been wearing masks for a long time to control the spread of colds and flu, so it is not as new to them. At first glance, this mask looks kind of like the masks that everyone has been wearing, but that is not particularly the kind of mask it is supposed to be. It has a kanji or hanmoon for “eye” 目 right in the middle of it because it hides everything except the eyes. In Japanese, 目 is pronounced め (me), and in Korean, it is pronounced 눈 (noon). The kanji for “mask” even has a string connected to the mask: 面.

これは めんでめんです (kore wa men desu) = This is a mask. = 이것은 마스크 이예요. (eegeosun masuku eeyeyo)

Japanese: 面 = mask. In hiragana, this is pronounced めん (men).

Korean: 面 = mask. In hangul, this can be pronounced several ways, but the most modern word sound like English: 마스크 (masuku).


This next kanji or hanmoon is also apt for this time of year because everyone is wrapping gifts, and the meaning of the word is “wrap.” In Japan, if you wrap a gift, it must have a red ribbon on it because red is the symbol of happiness in Japan. Red is also the color of the bride in Korea and China. For us in the west, red is a Christmas color, and much of our wrapping paper at Christmas is red as well as our bows. In Japan and Korean, they have another traditional way of wrapping things with cloth. In Japanese, these cloths are called “furoshiki” (ふろしき, and in Korean, “bojaghee”(보자기). A furoshiki or bojaghee looks like a giant square head scarf, and when they wrap things like a kimono, a hanbok (the Korean traditional clothing), or perhaps rice cakes, they wrap them with a furoshiki or bojaghee. I have had plain cotton ones as well as silk ones. They can be quite pretty. Instead of putting things in a bag in old Korea and old Japan, they wraped them in a furoshiki or a bojaghee, and the kanji or hanmoon for “wrap” is: 包. As youi can see, it looks like something is wrapped around something else.

かのじよは おくりものを 包んで います。(kanojiyo wa okurimono wo tsutsunde imasu.) = She is wrapping a gift. = 그녀는 선물을 포장 하고 있어요. (pohjang hago eeseoyo)

Japanese: = wrap. This is a verb, so in hiragana, it needs another letter with it: 包む (tsutsumu) (つつむ). つつんで います (tsutsunde imasu) means “is, am, or are wrapping.” waわたしは おくりもの を つつみました ( watashi wa okurimono wo tsutsumimashita) = I wrapped the gift.

Korean: = wrap. In hangul, this is 포장 하다 (pojang hadah), and in the “yo” form that is polite speech used for simple present tense, it is 포장 해요 (pojang heyo). 포장 하고 있어요 (pojang hako eesseoyo) = is, am, are wrapped. “I wrapped the gift” is 나는 선물을 포장 했어요 (nah nun pojang hesseoyo)


This next kanji or hanmoon is supposed to be money falling into a hand. The kanji or hanmoon for “money” is 金, but you can only see the bottom part of that kanji or hanmoon in this new character. The kanji or hanmoon for “hand” is 手, but you can only see half of the and and the fingers extending to the left on this kanji or hanmoon. “Money” in Japanese is お金 (okane), and in Korean, it is 돈. (ton), and “hand” in Japanese is て (te) and in Korean is .손 (son). The kanji for money falling into the hand means “win”: 当。Can you see money falling into a hand?

だれが 当たりますか? (dare ga atarimasuka) = Who will win? = 누구는 이결거예요? (noogoo nun eegyeolgeoyeyo?)

Japanese: 当 = win. In Japanese hiragana, this is 当たる (あたる) (ataru). To say “win, wins, or will win, say あたります (atarimasu). To say “I won” say 私は当たりました。(watashi wa atarimashita)

Korean: 当 = win. In Korean hangul, this is 이기다 (eegheedah). To say “win or wins” in the “yo” form, say “이겨요” (eegyeoyo). To say, “I will win,” say 내가 이결거예요 (negah eegyeolgeoyeyo). To say, “I won,” say 내가 이겼어요 (내가 eegyeosseoyo).


Enjoy your dose of kanji or hanmoon. Christmas is coming, and you only have a few days left to shop. 🙂 If you have a paint brush, some paint, and a piece of paper, you could paint some of these on a piece of paper and give it as a gift. They make pretty pictures.

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