オo/才sai
  • I was looking at the yojijukugo for saishokukenbi 才色兼備 which means a woman as "being gifted with both wit and beauty".
    When I am working in my android, I noticed that sai 才 and o オ (katakana) looked identical.

    I know that sometimes the Kanji do not appear the same across various digital media, but I found it odd that those two would look the same.

    This site appeared http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/才 to show on my PC both images for the kanji. The kanji is described as "Han" for talent, ability; just, only.
    I think that it is the Chinese style but this site for Chinese shows both styles for the Kanji: http://www.mandarintools.com/cgi-bin/charlook.pl
    Jisho.org doesn't give such a clear definition on the Kanji page http://jisho.org/kanji/details/才 "english meanings: cubic shaku;genius; years old;"
    When you are looking at a word search display of the kanji, it displayed: 1: -years-old; 2: ability; gift; talent; aptitude; genius. Which sounded more like the yojijukugu meaning.
  • They shouldn't be identical (unless there's a problem with your font). It might be hard to see on the phone screen as the font is small, but with オ (o) the third stroke starts at the crossing point of the horizontal and vertical strokes. 才 (sai) has a crossing stroke which starts right of the vertical stroke and just below the horizontal one.

    Also, to me, the third stroke for 'sai' has a much shallower slope (it's more horizontal). They both end at the same approximate point but their starting points are different.

    However, looking at the Japanese version of the page you linked, they say that the Chinese version does look more like "o", and the Japanese one has the lowered third stroke. So this is a font issue, probably - your android system may be using a Chinese font. As the unicode points (the encoding which tells the system which character to display) are the same for many of the kanji/hanzi even though the forms are different, this is a pretty common problem.

    See if you can change the fonts and force it to default to a Japanese one.


    Regarding "meanings" of kanji:
    Don't bother looking up a list of English meanings per kanji, they will often differ in Chinese and Japanese and they're irrelevant to what meaning (if any) the kanji lends to the actual word/compound you're looking at. There is only a "meaning" for a kanji in that someone has gone through a dictionary and classified what sort of words it is used in, then picked out what they think are the most common/important. It's hardly an exact science. You can do it yourself just by looking at what common words use that kanji.

    才 is sometimes used as "years old" in Japanese as a simpler way of writing 歳. For example, 才 is learnt early on at school and so kids will use it, or people will use it when handwriting because it's much quicker. 歳 would be used on official documentation though.

    才 was also used in the old Japanese system of measures, and one of its meanings, when talking about volumes of freight or building stone, was a cubic 尺 (shaku), where 尺 is a length of a bit over 30cm. Unless you're reading historical fiction or something, it's unlikely to come up in this meaning.

    Neither of these have any relevance to the term 才色兼備, where 才 is the same as in words like 才能 (ability).

    You will also find some words where the meanings of individual kanji don't relate, an obvious example is 寿司 (sushi). They're just used for sound. In other cases there might be a historical reason for the choice of kanji but it doesn't relate to the modern sense of the word, for example 薬缶 (yakan; kettle), which most people nowadays are more likely to use for making tea, not medicine.

    So don't worry too much if the meaning of a word doesn't seem to match up with the 'meaning' of the kanji in it - it doesn't necessarily have to.
  • Thanks for the detailed reply. It is great.
    My attempts were to find some way I can remember the meanings. Going with some sort of entomology. I guess I'll need to find a mnemonic of some sort instead.

    I tried too change the kanji on the Anki card but it displayed the same. So I don't think it is connected to Chinese font display.
    The keyboard app I am using is GO keyboard with Japanese pack add on to it. I'll look to see about Chinese settings. Or maybe trying s different on/kun to type it.

    Funny thing was I saw the same Confusion on the site I linked first. Just keep this in mind for the future.
  • It's definitely an issue with the CJK (Chinese/Japanese/Korean) font installed on Android. They use one font that covers all three, hence the problem. Some other systems have been known to do this as well.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Han_unification
    Basically, there is an internal code "U+624D" which means 才, it doesn't differentiate between the Chinese and Japanese versions. Using different readings to type won't change anything. Because they share a code point, one single font can't display both the Chinese and Japanese versions at the same time. What people need to do is work out which language is wanted and use a Chinese font for Chinese, and a Japanese font for Japanese.

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