The three kanji 恵, 専, and 敷 share the same first 6 strokes. Using the traditional radicals I could describe them as being composed "一, 日, 丨..." at the start and then finishing "...心", "...寸", "...⼂, 方, 攵" respectively. Are the first 6 strokes derived from some older kanji? If so, does this kanji have a meaning and what would it be in Japanese?


Going back to kyūjitai,

  • The first 8 strokes of「惠」and「專」share「叀」
  • The first 6 strokes of「敷」uses「甫」

which are different components.

「叀」depicts an ancient type of ceramic tile used for weaving or spinning thread.

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「叀」serves as two different phonetic components, which may hint at the original and extended meanings of「叀」in some characters:

  • 「[叀]{せん}」 in「[專]{せん}」
    • (Ceramic) tile is now written as「[磚]{せん}」
    • To spin/turn is now written as「[轉]{てん}」(Shinjitai:「転」)
  • 「[叀]{けい}」(Fanqie: 胡桂切) in「[惠]{けい}」
    • Tassel is now written as「[穗]{すい}」(Shinjitai:「穂」);
    • Fine cloth is now written as「[繐]{ けい}」

「甫」was originally「⿱屮田」, which depicted a vegetable (plants「屮」) garden (field「田」). This word is now written as「圃」.

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Due to historical development, the characters/components「田」,「用」, and the top of「周」will appear as graphical variations of each other in the modern script.「用」is the shape that appears in the modern form of「甫」.

The character「[敷]{ふ}」meaning spread was developed through

  1. 「尃」, semantic「又」(picture of a hand; semantic variant「寸」) and phonetic「[甫]{ふ}」;
  2. Change to a shape variant「旉」;
  3. Addition of an action semantic component「攵」(picture of a hand holding a whip).


  • Errata: should be the first 7 strokes of「敷」.
    – dROOOze
    Sep 23 '18 at 8:21

So, actually 敷 has a different origin from the other two kanji.

Looking at wiktionary entry for 敷 in fact tells us that composition is comes from 旉攵, the first of which is composed of 甫方. Notice the importance of the extra .

Doing the same for or gives us 𤰔. But actually more importantly is the note in wiktionary that, both those kanji are 新字体, aka Japanese simplifications of originals: 惠 and 專. Note how the part in question is now very different and is now this character: .

As for the meaning, I'm not sure the meaning of these components is valuable to understanding the 3 characters above, but they can also be read on the wiktionary entries.

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