Friday, April 25, 2008

階 - Higher RANKS Take Higher Ground, All the Rest Stay on the Ground FLOOR

Readings & Meanings:


floor (of a building), rank

Common Usage:









The Edo Period was the period when the social hierarchy of samurai, farmers, artisans, and merchants was established.

I fell down the stairs and hurt myself.

The couple who reside in the third-floor apartment are always having domestic squabbles.


阝 on the left, so the radical is Kozato, an abbreviated form of 阜, a picture of a pile of earth.

阝, Kozato, is different from 阝 (Oozato), as explained in my post on .

The phonetic element is 皆. We should already know 皆 as meaning "everyone."

比 is on the top of 皆, and we should know it from 比べる, to compare. 比 is a pictograph of two people lined up.

The bottom part of 皆 is a squished version of 自, self. It acts as an action indicator.

Let's just think of 皆 in 階 as "line up" and 阜 as "higher earth." Thus "rank," as in when you line up people you will place the higher-ranked people higher than the rest. You can also think of "stairs," if you think of a long line of people, one after the other, marching up the stairs. If you've ever been in a busy train station in Japan, you can easily imagine this.


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