mysterious; occultness; blackness; profound; "blackness" radical
Kanji 1227

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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). 

Revision history:

Sept. 28, 2023: p. 6: Added that of the four compounds listed at the end of the page, 白秋 is fairly well known as the pen name of a famous poet.

Feb. 3, 2023: p. 13: Revised the last paragraph of the second caption to clarify the relationship between the two leftmost columns in the sign.

Nov. 24, 2021: 

  • p. 9 sidebar: Replaced the Henshall etymology of 孫 with the new one.
  • p. 10 sidebar: Replaced the Henshall etymology of 幽 with the new one.
  • p. 11: Replaced the Henshall etymology of 率 with the new one. 

June 12, 2020: p. 8: Added that the "black" radical 黒 (radical 203) is read as くろ or くろへん.

Jan. 21, 2020:

  • p. 2: Etymology Box: Replaced the old Henshall etymology with the new one.
  • p. 11: Added a link to the Kanshudo games.

Feb. 8, 2018: 

  • pp. 2, 10, and 13: Fixed broken links.
  • p. 12: Revised the photo caption for clarity.

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.


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RADICAL玄 (95: blackness)