dawn, daybreak, morning; first day
Kanji 2063

Thank you for visiting this Character Home Page. Below you'll find a synopsis of the essay. If you wish to read the full text, the PDF of the essay is available for purchase to the right.


This kanji may be graphically simple, but it's associated with a bewildering mess of meanings! Primarily, 旦 relates to dawn and the first day of a year or month, but 旦 also pops up in a term meaning "momentarily" (and its spinoffs). And then a very common word with 旦 involves powerful men (and their sons and businesses) and even geishas and mistresses. The essay connects these dots!

Revision History:

Nov. 3, 2023:

  • pp. 12-14: Made several minor improvements to wording.
  • p. 15: Removed an extraneous parenthesis and added a definition for the particle ぜ.

Oct. 31, 2023: p. 13 sidebar: Made a slight clarification.

Oct. 27, 2023: 

  • p. 13, top: Improved the wording and added information about formal and informal terms for "husband."
  • p. 13: 1st sample sentence: Added "male" in parentheses for clarity.
  • p. 14, last sample sentence: Removed the redness from the をしている, as the keyword is simply the noun.
  • p. 15, 2nd photo caption: Improved the wording.

June 2, 2021: 

  • p. 2: Added the Henshall etymology.
  • p. 12: Changed the breakdown of 旦那 from master + な sound to ダン sound + ナ sound, as those sounds are on-yomi. Made a comparable change to the breakdown of 大旦那 on p. 13.
  • p. 16: Added a link to the Kanshudo games.

June 28, 2018:

  • p. 5: Changed the breakdown of 元旦 from beginning + 1st day to beginning + dawn. Made a related change on p. 1.
  • p. 6: Changed the breakdown of 歳旦 from year + 1st day to year + dawn.
  • p. 12: Changed the breakdown of 旦那 from master + な sound to だん sound + な sound. A sentence later on that page referred to the old breakdown, so I deleted the sentence.

Oct. 16, 2015: Originally published.


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