Get up to 35% Off With The Summer Sale. Hurry! Ends Soon!
Get up to 35% Off With The Summer Sale. Hurry! Ends Soon! Blog
Learn Japanese with Free Daily
Audio and Video Lessons!
Start Your Free Trial 6 FREE Features

Advanced Japanese Lesson:凩 (kogarashi)

凩…この漢字を見たことがありますか? 何と読むのでしょうか。



では、「風が止まる」と書く「凪」という漢字はどう読むのでしょうか? これは「なぎ」と読みます。朝夕に風が止まる状態や時間帯を「朝凪(あさなぎ)」「夕凪(ゆうなぎ)」と呼びます。


Have you ever seen the character 凩? How do you read it.
A hint: it’s a kanji related to winter. Also, please look closely at the character’s formation. It looks like the character 風 (kaze), “wind”, doesn’t it?

The answer is こがらし(kogarashi). It’s generally written 木枯し.
こがらし means a cold north wind that blows at the beginning of winter, shaking the leaves from the trees.
The character 凩 is classified as 国字 (こくじ), or characters newly created in Japan which imitate Chinese kanji. In short, they’re 和製漢字 (わせいかんじ), or “Japanese-made kanji”. こがらし is “a wind (几) which blows cold enough to kill the trees”, so hence the character 凩 was devised.

A character used when talking about New Year games, 凧 (tako), is also Japanese-made. The radical 巾 which can be seen in the centre of 風(几)is equivalent to 布, which means “cloth” (you can also see 巾 in the centre of 布, can’t you?). “Cloth that soars on the wind” = a kite (凧).

So, how would we read the character meaning “the wind ceasing” (凪)? It’s read なぎ (nagi). A state or period of time in which the wind does not blow from morning to night is called 朝凪(asa nagi), “morning calm” and 夕凪(yuu nagi), “evening calm”.

So as you can see, native Japanese kanji were created in a way that is almost similar to wordplay and word association games. It’s also fun to ask your friends “Can you read this kanji?”, and then teach them how.