Japanese Radicals: 豆 Why is 豆 in 頭? Doesn't 首 on its own mean head already? (Isn't 頭 kind of like 豆 + 頁?) Why is the radical 豆 for "bean" added? Is there an idiomatic reason? I feel as if I see this as part of the kanji for some words, but I don't know why.
Aug 1, 2019 11:57 AM
Answers · 2
Hi Laura, 豆 in 頭 is actually more or less an indicator of how 頭 could be read. This is a common characteristic in many Chinese characters. The onyomi of 豆 is read as とう, as seen in the word 豆腐 (とうふ). Likewise, an onyomi for 頭 would be とう, as seen in the word 頭部 (とうぶ), which means "area of/around the head". Another character that uses 豆 to indicate reading but not meaning is 闘 (とう, to fight) in 戦闘 (せんとう, to fight/battle), but this pattern can be seen not only in 豆 but in other radicals as well. 頁, on the other hand, is an evolved version of what was originally 首 written above 人, which I'm sure makes total sense when it comes to the meaning of the character. Hope this helps, Andrew
August 1, 2019
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