small boat; "boat" radical
Kanji 1354

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Find out how to talk about small, hand-propelled boats, and learn about Japanese boats across the ages, from dugout canoes to washtub boats to small straw boats that play a key role during Bon. See why a book about a retiree unnerved Japan, and learn about a famous story in which a man delights in being arrested. Also learn a boat-related expression for traditional rivals.

Revision history:

Jan. 12, 2024: p. 8: I removed all references to 湯舟 (ゆぶね: (1) bathtub; (2) boat with a bathtub rented to customers) because Japanese-Japanese dictionaries include the 湯船 and 湯槽 renderings of that word, not 湯舟. 

Mar. 22 and 24, 2023: pp. 20 and 21: Slightly changed some breakdowns and translations to reflect the proper part of speech.

Jan. 13, 2023: p. 15: The yomi of 十隻 in a sample sentence was wrong, but it’s a moot point now. I made the sentence more realistic, shrinking the boat count to 三隻 (three large boats). I also deleted the で. In addition, I changed the definitions of 舟艇 to “large boat; large watercraft.” Finally, I enhanced the comment about -隻 and mentioned -艘 as the counter for smaller boats.

Feb. 2, 2022: 

  • p. 2, Etymology Box: Updated the Henshall etymology and the Sears link.
  • p. 20: Deleted the etymology of 般 because the most compelling analysis of that kanji in Henshall’s updated version focuses on how it can mean “carry,” whereas it mainly represents “overall; all; period of time” and doesn’t mean “carry” in even one contemporary word.
  • p. 20: Added a link to the Kanshudo games.

July 10, 2015: Originally published.


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Kanji PDF
Cover of essay 1354 on 舟, titled "Gently Down the Stream"
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ふね, ふな
RADICAL舟 (137: boat)