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"Come true" isn't the literal translation of 叶{かな}う. The word かなう means "to fit; match; accord", in this sense in accord with 叶's meaning in Classical Chinese. So we are practically saying 願いが叶う "my wish matches it" as if a fixed phrase corresponds to "my wish comes true". かなう once had tons of kanji transcriptions (see below), but most of them were culled ...


Yes, many Japanese wonder why, too. The truth is that it's an obsolete usage of 天地 (except in this idiom!). 日本国語大辞典 (kind of the OED of Japanese) apparently has a definition: てん‐ち 【天地】 (...) (6)(─する)上下をひっくりかえすこと。 *滑稽本・早変胸機関〔1810〕「裾廻しは天地(テンチ)するだよ」 that is, 天地 once meant for "to turn upside down", at least attested on 1810 in Edo ...


That is because the cursive script of the kanji 「川」 kind of looks like 「つ」. It should look even more like 「ツ」.


This refers to the phenomenon of "Girl Power." Suggested search phrase: "girl power spice girls tattoo." One of the Spice Girls had a tattoo that was constructed of the kanji you describe. It is not a Japanese word, but an attempt to use kanji to write the English phrase "Girl Power." No difference in meaning whether written horizontally or vertically.


There are actually three candidates for the origin of つ and ツ. One is 州, which in the Jiankang dialect was pronounced "zhōu". Zhōu → tsu (origin of kana) → shuu (modern on'yomi). The next is 川, which is generally pronounced "chuan" in Chinese. Chuan → tsuan → tsu (origin of kana) → sen (modern on'yomi). Yet another argument is that the kana are derived ...

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