Thursday, April 17, 2008

化 - CHANGE Your Position, Sit Down.

Readings & Meanings:



change (into)

Common Usage:












I'm doing a presentation on my chemistry experiment report.

One way of cultural exchange is to instruct the exchange student in calligraphy.

I work part time as a Kuchisake Onna at at haunted house. (see Bonus)

I'm involved in an internationalization program and putting effort into my children's English education.


匕 is our radical, and her name is Saji. She's a pictograph of a curved, spoonlike utensil. The horizontal slash traditionally protruded on the other side of the vertical line, but more and more the protrusion is disappearing.

However, 化 has nothing to do with spoons. Rather, it has to do with change. The left shows a standing person, and the right shows a seated one. Used to be, the left 人 was inverted, showing someone fallen; the change motif continued.

Why this is classified under 匕 and not 人, I haven't a clue.

Bonus: Kuchisake Onna

Were you confused by that example sentence? The speaker is a woman who dresses up as a Kuchisake Onna monster in an amusement park's haunted house.

Kuchisake Onna ("slit-mouthed woman") is a traditional Japanese monster that borders on being an urban legend. The trouble with calling her an urban legend is that she's been around since the Edo period.

According to the wikipedia article, her mouth was slit open by a jealous husband. Now, she must enact the same fate on others. She usually asks the same trick question to her victims. "私、キレイ?" If you say no, she's not beautiful, she'll cut your face open, like any woman would. If you say yes, she'll walk you home and then cut your face open, since きれい (beautiful) sounds like 切れ (cut). Some think that if you say "so-so," you'll be saved, but this is only if you run really fast right after saying it.

From the ever-wonderful blog Watashi To Tokyo, I learned that there is going to be a Kuchizake Onna movie. Here is the link to the trailer. But you know, this has been done before... See the video below and let me know which one is scarier, the schoolgirl, or the trenchcoated woman.


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