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

3 Answers 3


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".


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.


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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