I'm trying to increase my kanji and pretty much look up the kanji for everything these days.

I discovered that the kanji for ひらがな and カタカナare 平仮名 and 片仮名 respectively.

Any explanation for the choice of kanji ?

平 means flat/peace, while 片 means a sheet/leaf.

仮名 comes from the Chinese 假(false)名(name) alias/pseudonym/pen-name which means Kana in Chinese.

That's all I got.

Could it be that ひらがな is more smooth and curvy and hence more calm and ''peace-like''?

Whereas カタカナ is more sharp and cornery and hence more aggressive and ''sheet-like''?


Both hiragana and katakana are derived from manyogana. Manyogana were the kanji characters used to write Japanese phonographically in early writing after the characters were imported from Chinese.

The kanji can also have the meaning of 'ordinary' (definition in Japanese). So it is a way of describing 'ordinary script' or, in other words, simplified cursive representations of the more complex manyogana.

The kanji can have the meaning of 'part' or 'piece' (definition in Japanese). Katakana are derived directly from manyogana by taking smaller pieces of those characters and using them to represent individual sounds. That is why many katakana can be recognized as actual components in kanji characters.

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