Kanji 286-296. Horns, Little, Owl

HornsLittleOwlIn the last lesson, a couple of simple primitives were added to our growing store of stroke combinations: three drops on the left (H2O) or two drops on the left (ice). This lesson will add three new primitives, consisting of two drops in a horizontal arrangement (horns), three drops in a row like a minimalist version of ‘small’, (little), and three drops at the top in a slightly different arrangement (owl). These elements often, but not always, appear at the top of a kanji. Often the ‘horns’ poke out from a horizontal line, making a three-stroke primitive, like the bottom three strokes of the kanji for ‘bean'(), as shown in the picture above.

Horns, Little, Owl

(Note, if you were looking for the ‘owl’ kanji, we won’t be meeting it for a while. It looks like this… http://hdowl.deviantart.com/art/Owl-with-Kanji-151392563 )


#286. This kanji has an upper element incorporating ‘horns’, but it is easier to remember as a pictograph, showing three boards being cut in half, with the image showing the moment when the first has been cut.


#287. Is that person () you are with your other half (), or a hired consort?


#288. One, mouth, horns.

Watch out! One mouthful of these magic beans and you will grow horns like a fawn!


#289. This is like the kanji for ‘not yet’ () but it also has some horns hidden between the branches.

Should we come out from our hiding place?
Not yet, the monster is coming. See its horns there in the tree?


#290. This is an anatomical diagram. The bottom part of this is recognisable as ‘oneself’ () – not to be confused with the ‘self’ (). The V at the top, made of the horns primitive, is the suprasternal notch marking the start of one’s neck. The notch is between the two clavicles, which are also shown, and below that is the rest of oneself.

paddy ridge

#291. A paddy-ridge is the raised part of the rice paddy () that divides the field in half ().


#292. Okay, forget what they taught you in physics, a ray of light is made of little photons running around on human legs.


#293. Little plus meat.

With modern DNA technology, it is possible to take any little bit of meat and use it to study the resemblance between family members.


#294. When you go to extinguish a fire, please make sure the liquid you throw on the flames is actually water, not just some clear liquid that vaguely resembles water.


#295. This kanji is the first in the KSP series to introduce the ‘owl’ primitive. It differs from the ‘little’ primitive in that it has two drops pointing down and to the right, and one sloping down and to the left, rather than having all the drops spread out from the center.

The kanji combines owl, rice-paddy and ten. Students of Heisig usually treat the rice-paddy as a primitive meaning ‘brain’, leading to the straightforward mnemonic: an owl’s brain is ten times smarter than a simple bird.

If you want to keep the rice-paddy element, the owl could lay a simple trap to catch a simpleton mouse… He leaves ten grains of rice in the middle of the rice-paddy, and when the mouse takes the bait, he pounces.

cherry tree

#296. Tree, owl and woman.
Not sure if this is true, but let’s assume that it is… The cherry blossom (sakura, さくら) is a revered tree in Japan, thought to represent both wisdom (the owl) and femininity (the woman).