What is the relationship between 左様なら and 左? I assume there's some idiomatic meaning for "left" but how does it fit?

  • 3
    The 左 is ateji, though 様 is not.
    – Zhen Lin
    Commented Jan 18, 2012 at 22:53
  • 2
    ZhenLin's comment and cypher's answer is right. If it is 上 or 右, then it would mean something proceeding in the context as texts are written from top to bottom or right to left (in ancient times). But for 左, it does not have significant meaning.
    – user458
    Commented Jan 19, 2012 at 0:12
  • @sawa, I don't understand. I realize that 左 (as 左記), 右記 and I guess also 上 have the meaning of "the preceding" or "the following" based on the old writing order. But if it's ateji, what difference does it make?
    – mmdanziger
    Commented Jan 19, 2012 at 8:41
  • 1
    以上, 上記, 右記 are not ateji.
    – user458
    Commented Jan 19, 2012 at 17:29
  • 1
    @mmdanziger I don't understand why you generalize like that. They are not ateji in the words I mentioned. They may be used in ateji in some other words.
    – user458
    Commented Jan 20, 2012 at 20:18

1 Answer 1


According to this okwave post, さよう was originally written as 然様{さよう}. It says that さよう has the meaning of そのよう/そう and that the in 左様{さよう} is an 当{あ}て字{じ} (a Kanji used as a phonetic symbol, rather than for it's meaning.)

In other words, the meaning doesn't have anything to do with , it's uses that character because of it's reading/pronunciation.

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