I found in the Chinese dictionary that 呉 is the name of a kingdom. But in japanese it means "to give". How did it happen ? Thanks a lot

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    In en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kanji, there is references the history, variant of Chinese characters, and last 2 paragraph of On'yomi (Sino-Japanese reading), mention that Chinese can have four meaning for single character based on sound. But certainly not in this case as it is changing meaning. I guess is The history of 呉kingdom being conquer by 越kingdom, because the呉kingdom releases the heir of 越kingdom (captured by 呉) due to the越being obedient and gifting one of the top 4 beauty in china history and treasure to呉.I guess is Japan being sarcasm here. (If Japan history relate to this part) May 27, 2018 at 15:08

1 Answer 1


The use of「呉」in「[呉]{く}れる」is an Ateji (kanji that are used phonetically, disregarding its meaning).「呉」was used because「[呉]{くれ}」was a way to say "China", derived from a Japanese word for sunset (「[暮]{く}れる」; China being west of Japan).

Note,「呉れる」is not a common spelling anymore.

  • In ancient Vietnamese呉 also means China although China is not at the west of Vietnam May 30, 2018 at 15:54

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