mysterious; occultness; blackness; profound
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Find out about the shape that figures prominently in the name of a green tea and the word for "brown rice." It’s also the "blackness" radical. What a colorful character! Or should I say "What a mysterious character"? It primarily means "mysterious," and it unexpectedly lends that meaning to such common words as 玄関 (げんかん: entranceway).
June 22, 2013: pp. 6 and 8: Changed "india ink" to "black ink" several times. On p. 8 I also revised Sidebar 6 a bit, mainly to reflect that 黒 is an off-duty radical in 墨.
Sept. 14, 2012: Added 2 photos on page 13.