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KANJI: GAN kao (face, expression)

ASCII Art Representation:

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Character Etymology:

This character is the combination of two Chinese characters no longer in general use. The radical at left is a character which is a combination of three smaller radicals meaning (from top to bottom) attractive, cliff, and hair. Cliff is used to large to phonetically express forehead but it probably also is suggesting the brow itself. Thus the entire left side means something literally like, "attractive forehead," but has been generalized to just handsome.

The radical at right is from an old Chinese character meaning page, but in fact it is a pictograph of a standing man with an exaggerated head. It can still be found in Chinese to mean head.

The combination of the two radicals first meant handsome face, then just face.

A Listing of All On-Yomi and Kun-Yomi Readings:

on-yomi: GAN
kun-yomi: kao

English Definitions:

  1. GAN, kanbase: face, countenance.
  2. kao: face, countenance, expression; honor, prestige.

Character Index Numbers:

New Nelson: 6648
Henshall: 93

Unicode Encoded Version:

Unicode Encoded Compound Examples:

(ganmen): the face.
(kaoiro): complexion.
顔が (kao (ga) ta(tsu)): to save face.

 

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