hemp, flax; to become numb; "hemp" radical
Kanji 1829

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 essay will be totally rad, man. That is, it's about 麻, which means "hemp" and can serve as the "hemp" radical. The essay presents Japanese terms for "marijuana" and other opiates, as well as "drug addiction," "torpor," "anesthetic," and "paralysis." Oh, and there's also talk of sesame seeds and brown-nosing.

Revision history: 

Jan. 12, 2024: p. 6: I had said that 酔 means “drunk, to feel sick, poisoned," but there's no evidence for the last definition, and "to feel sick" isn't relevant in this context, so I revised accordingly.

Oct. 29, 2022: pp. 9-11: I disliked the position of one sidebar, and I felt that some comments about radicals seemed outdated (because I had referred to a source I no longer use). One thing led to another, and I renumbered sidebars, deleted introductory text in the Radical Notes section, and moved text there from a sidebar.

June 8, 2021: 

  • p. 2: Updated the Henshall etymology.
  • p. 3, sidebar 2: Added a link to Kanshudo’s article on pitch accents.
  • p. 7, sidebar 4: Changed the 1st kanji in 椎麻痺 (ついまひ: paraplegia), making the word 対麻痺, and changing the breakdown to “pair + paralysis (last 2 kanji).”
  • p. 11: Added a link to the Kanshudo games.

May 29, 2016: p. 11 sidebar: Changed a sentence to indicate that the names of the 麻 radical are あさ or あさかんむり. 

Jan. 23, 2016: 

p. 2: Added information to the photo caption about what a 税務署 does.
p. 7: Uncovered hidden text!
p. 12: Deleted a broken link.

July 17, 2015: Added "'hemp' radical" as a definition in the Character Profile on p. 1.

Sept. 19, 2012: Added 3 photos to pp. 13–15. 


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RADICAL麻 (200: hemp)