marsh; plentiful
Kanji 1552

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.


For a kanji that appears in relatively few compounds and that means “marsh,” “plentiful,” “to glisten,” and “benefit” (a range that makes the head spin), 沢 seems to poke its head up in quite a few places. It’s the 489th most-used kanji in newspapers. That’s puzzling, but this essay will reveal the reason. It will also teach you the names of several types of dishes, help you talk about luxury, and put the luster back in your life (if it's missing).

Revision history:

May 25, 2023: p. 5, sidebar: Enhanced the definitions of 潤沢, adding more.

May 23, 2022: p. 7: Updated the definitions of 味 and 昧.

Feb. 10, 2022: p. 2, Etymology Box: Added information about the creation of the 沢 kanji in Japan.

Feb. 9, 2022: 

  • p. 2, Etymology Box: Updated the Henshall etymology and updated the Sears link.
  • p. 5: Rewrote the beginning of the “Good and Plenty” section to remove what Henshall said in his earlier edition about classical meanings of 沢. His newer book says no such thing.
  • p. 5: Created a sidebar for material that was previously in a p. 8 sidebar but didn’t belong there.
  • p. 7: Rewrote the first paragraph of the “Glistening” section to remove references to “moisten, now that Henshall no longer mentions that definition in his etymology.
  • p. 8, sidebar: Deleted two paragraphs that again referred to Henshall’s views on the moistness of 沢.
  • p. 8: Added a link to the Kanshudo games.

June 6, 2014: On p. 8 in the photo caption, I changed the second kanji in the publisher's name. It should be 岩波書店 (いわなみしょてん).

Sept. 14, 2012: Added 2 photos on pp. 10 and 11.

May 18, 2012: Added another photo of a 金沢カレー sign to p. 6, alongside a similar photo.


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RADICAL氵 (85: water)