Volume 4: Kanji Form Categories
六書: What is it? Today we will look at how etymology of kanji are categorized. That is, there are 6 ways the ancient Chinese used to explain how each kanji is put together. Some kanji may have more than one way. These 6 categories are called 六書 pronounced りくしょ (not ろく)
Why am I reading this? Well, probably because you have nothing better to do. But other than the obvious, knowing what these are can be very helpful when using a Japanese kanji dictionary since it will probably explain the kanji's origin.
Kanji that look like (or originally was supposed to look like) the object it represents
日 sun - originally somewhat round with a dot in the middle - not sure what the dot was for (if you know please post a comment below)
月 moon, month
山 mountain - a mountain ridge
木 tree - a tree with low hanging branches
人 person - a person with no arms doing a split
子 child - a child needs a hug
These are kanji whose meaning is somewhat abstract and is expressed as a kind of code.
上 up, above - the small line is above ground level
天 heaven - the biggest line is above the man on earth
本 book - made from a tree (木)
This is where 2 characters are put together to create a new meaning.
比 ratio, compare - two people(人)
看 watch, care for - hand (手) and (目)
峠 (mountain) pass - 山 (mountain), 上 (up) and 下 (down). This is a 和製漢字, for more click here
These are kanji with 2 parts usually one for the pronun