Just to add some context: I was with a Japanese friend at a うどん and そば restaurant in 浅草 where they had a small sign by the counter to buy their fresh noodles. However, the size of the portion was not indicated by a weight in grams or anything like that, it was a kanji/counter/symbol that looked like a checkbox... Something like this : Strange kanji

If I remember well, he told me it was an old kanji that denotes a well-defined quantity of noodles, a bit like 一斤{いっきん} is used for a loaf of bread.

However, I have tried hand drawn kanji recognition without success, gone through a few counter and unit lists but none of them seem to mention it.

So is this thing a kanji ? How is it pronounced ?

Thanks a lot !

up vote 15 down vote accepted

That is the 略字 for 枡, the square vessel used for sake and a measurement of volume.

EDIT: Punningly, also used as an abbreviation for the verb ending ーます during the Edo period:

また、「ます」と呼ぶことから丁寧の語尾(助動詞)の「ます」の置き換えとしても使用されることが多かった。(例:豆腐あり〼)この用例は江戸時代にはかなり多かったが現代になってからは使用頻度が少なくなった。

  • Wow, really interesting! – istrasci Mar 1 '15 at 7:46

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