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In parts of Japan (e.g., in Nara and Miyajima), deer are quite visible—so much so that oblivious people can't see the mountains for the deer, figuratively speaking. Because it's half of 馬鹿 (fool), this new Joyo kanji enables us to ridicule idiots (who have a contagious and incurable condition, by the way). As both a radical and an autonomous kanji, 鹿 appears in the names of several animals.
Nov. 21, 2014: p. 12 sidebar: Fixed a typo.
June 22, 2012: Originally published.