picture of rice cooker

My rice cooker says “kuroatsugama” on its side.

I believe it refers to some kind of black Teflon coating.

The second kanji seems to be a writing of the kanji 厚 I’m unfamiliar with. Why is the top element written this way?

And the final kanji is quite peculiar, isn't it? I’ve never seen it before. It seems to refer to some kind of metal or material like most in the 金 family?

I consulted the Nelson for this and couldn’t find anything.

Truly bizarre, what is the recommended course of action when hitting these kind of words?

  • 5
    All three are in both my versions of Nelson. The first and last should have been relatively easy to find. And even if you think the radical for the last one is 父, at least my more recent version of Nelson (I assume even more recent versions will be even more user friendly) allows you to look up kanji under alternate radicals. And, it's there. So, the only one that could be hard to find is 厚. If you didn't recognize 厂, you could still look it up under 子 or 日. It can take time to get used to different calligraphic styles, but it's also crucial to know how to use your resources. – A.Ellett May 16 at 17:42

The three kanji are 黒厚釜 (as the user aguijonazo pointed out).

I will answer two of your other questions that haven't been addressed yet.

The second kanji seems to be a writing of the kanji 厚 I’m unfamiliar with. Why is the top element written this way?

When it comes to writting Kanji, they exist several styles, such as 楷書{かいしょ}, 行書{ぎょうしょ}, 草書{そうしょ} 隷書{れいしょ} or 篆書{てんしょ}, so probably 厚 here is written in a different style than the one you are familiar with. There might be different reasons to prefer one style or the other depending on the situation. In my experience, kanji found in manufactured goods brands or models tend not to follow the "standard" style probably for marketing purposes or to be more eye-catching.

Truly bizarre, what is the recommended course of action when hitting these kind of words?

I would recommend looking up the reading if you know it (which is the case) as a course of action. I just typed くろあつがま (kuroatsugama) in my phone's keyboard and 黒厚釜 appeared automatically as an option. If you know the reading beforehand it's quite trivial to find out the corresponding kanji.

If you don't know the reading, I recommend the interactive search by radicals, for example the one offered by jisho.org.

  • Thanks. I did write kuroatsu- and didn't see the second kanji appearing - which threw me off towards the last kanji, which was not in my book "Kanji & Kana (Tuttle)" (bizarre, no?) and I didn't find it immediately in Nelson (because I was looking for the wrong radical). – buddhabrot May 17 at 6:27
  • @buddhabrot it's this book? tuttlepublishing.com/language-books/japanese/kanji-books/… That book says it has the 2136 jouyou kanji. 釜 is a jouyou kanji, so it would be in there. – Leebo May 17 at 6:44
  • Yes, an older version, but I looked vainly for "kama" in the index, and it only has 79 radicals (88 of the 214 is not in them) – buddhabrot May 17 at 7:44

Those kanji are 黒厚釜 in a handwriting style. This type of structure is fairly common for 厚 in handwriting. You can technically say it derives from 行書, a mildly cursive style. But even if you have not ever heard of it, you would agree that your handwriting eventually looks more or less like this if you have ever tried to write characters rapidly (with the right hand), due to the motor economy.

There does not seem many real examples of 行書 on the internet, but you can try out any 行書 font out there to know its pattern (1, 2):

enter image description here enter image description here

As for handwritten characters, they are not employed here in order to give some "fancier" impression; in fact, they often symbolizes authority, quality, or of course, tradition. I remember I have mentioned it on another post, in a totally unrelated context:

enter image description here

Let's look at the brand logo of a Japanese whisky. What do you get from the alphabet letters? It gives me impressions of stability, tradition, establishment, authenticity, and a hint of 19th-century flavor... so does the brush kanji. They look so different, but have similar connotations.

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