3

I would like to know because this Kanji is part of my name.

13

Basically, every kanji has one or more meanings, and one or more readings. For example, the kanji 麗 has meanings ("beautiful; graceful") and readings (rei; uruwa-shii), and it can appear in many words such as 綺麗, 華麗, 美辞麗句.

However 伊 is a bit special; Japanese people have almost forgotten the original meaning of this kanji. In Chinese 伊 seems to have a meaning ("he; she; that"), but Japanese people never use this kanji in this sense. In Japan, 伊 is now recognized as a kanji which just has a reading い (i) and appears in proper nouns (names of people, place, etc).

Some common proper nouns that has 伊 are:

  • 伊藤 "Itoh" (common Japanese family name)
  • 伊賀 "Iga" (a place name famous as a home of ninja)
  • 伊太利亜 "Italy" (an ateji country name)

The only "normal" word that has 伊 is probably 伊達, which means "just for show". It's a common family name (e.g., Kimiko Date), but has gained a special meaning for historical reasons.

伊 is also used on newspapers as a single-character abbreviation for Italy. This is not the traditional meaning of 伊, but still one can say the primary "meaning" of 伊 is "Italy".

7

You can find 伊 in names, of people and of places. 伊藤{いとう} (ito), 伊豆{いず} (izu), 伊賀{いが} (iga), 伊達{だて} (date; i.e., 伊 is silent here) etc. As Marco suggests, 伊{い} is also used to mean Italy.

I tried but couldn't come up with a normal word with 伊 other than 「伊達{だて}じゃない / 伊達{だて}に〜〜ない」(Used to say something is not merely for show.) and 「伊達{だて}眼鏡{めがね}」 (date megane; eyeglasses not for visual correction), where 伊達{だて} is about manliness or good-lookingness. 伊達{だて}, in these phrases and word, originally come from the family name of the 伊達{だて} clan, and so 伊 itself doesn't have such implications.

By the way, katakana character イ comes from 伊.

1

It is the abbreviation for 'Italy'. The full word for Italy is 伊太利. Also, the kanji dictionary says it can be read as これ, which means 'this, this one'.

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