Friday, February 15, 2008

祈 - Approach the Altar To PRAY

Readings & Meanings:


to pray

Common Usage:









I went to the shrine to pray for success.

To focus my prayer for peace, I will fold 1,000 paper cranes.

In the northeast, there is a medicine woman called Itaku.


It's only appropriate that the verb "to pray" kanji have the "god" radical, Shimesu: 示.

Don't see it? That's because it becomes Ne-hen, 礻, when radicalized.

(Man, I wish I were radicalized.)

This "god" radical comes from a pictograph of an altar, and it's present in more kanji than you'd think. Look above in the example sentences and you'll see a couple kanji with the radical:

  • 神社 - jinja, a Shinto shrine
  • 神 - god, usually written alone as 神様
  • 社 - shrine, or company
Why is the 社 in 神社 also used in 会社, the word for a company? Well, I don't know exactly. Maybe because, for many Japanese, working is their main religion?

Okay, that's half the kanji. The other half is the axe radical Onozukuri, 斤. It's from a pictograph of an axe approaching an object it is going to cut. Look at the examples above and you'll see 折る. Think of some other, common words we've seen with this form:
  • 最近 - recently (very + close)
  • 近い - close, nearby
So is like asking god (礻) for something, hoping that something with come close (斤) to you.


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