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Kanji with Both EKI and YAKU as On-Yomi

Strangely, three YAKU kanji have EKI as alternate on-yomi. How this situation came about, I can’t even imagine. In the following list, EKI appears first when it’s the predominant on-yomi:

(benefit, profit)     EKI     YAKU

The kun-yomi is -ma(su). The way to write masumasu, “increasingly,” in kanji is 益々!

(epidemic)     EKI     YAKU
(service)     YAKU     EKI


A host of homophonous EKI compounds involve these kanji and other EKI characters. For instance, we have these:

     ken’eki:   検疫 (quarantine)     権益 ((one’s) interests)
     taieki:     退役 (to retire from military service)     体液 (body fluids)
     shieki:     使役 (employment)     私益 (private interest (financial))
     kōeki:     公益 (public benefit)     交易 (trade, commerce)
     ekigaku:  疫学 (epidemiology)     易学 (study of divination)


Breakdowns of the Homonyms …


By now you’re wondering about , which appears in the last two rows. It can mean “to exchange” or “fortune-telling, divination,” but you likely know best as yasa(shii) or yasu(i), “easy.” And now we’ve stumbled onto other homonym issues:

     yasa(shii)    (easy)      (kind)
     yasu(i)        (easy)      (cheap, calm)      (cheap)

It never ends! As Mayumi in Italy likes to say, “Mamma Mia!”

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