柱 (Pillar) - Meaning and history | Japanese Kanji

Author GokuGoku for article '柱 (Pillar) - Meaning and history | Japanese Kanji'

GokuGoku

3 min reading time

JLPT N29 strokes
pillarsupportpole

Kun readings 🇯🇵

はしら

On readings 🇨🇳

ちゅう
柱 (Pillar) - Meaning and history | Japanese Kanji

The kanji 柱 means pillar, support, pole.

柱 indicates a pillar both on a physical level (construction) but also on a moral level (mentor).

In this post we learn in detail the meaning of 柱, its origin, and how it is used through real example sentences.


Origin of the kanji 柱

The origin of the kanji 柱 in its meaning of pillar can be deduced from the 2 kanji from which 柱 derives:

  • : kanji and radical meaning tree
  • 主: kanji meaning boss, master, chief

In a sense then 柱 derives its meaning from mast, the support center, the pillar.

What does kanji mean 柱

The kanji 柱 indicates a support or pillar both in the physical sense (an object that supports a structure or construction) but also in the figurative sense, a pillar intended as a reference person.

In general the kanji 柱 in combination with other kanji adds a sense of support or indicates various particular shapes and structures.

氷柱 - Stalactite

The word 氷柱(つらら), which contains the kanji 柱, indicates the icicles. This term uses a non-standard reading for both kanji 水 (water) and kanji 柱.

()(じょう)から、(きょ)(だい)氷柱(つらら)()ちてくる。

Huge icicles are falling from above our heads.

Icicles 氷柱
氷柱, the icicles.

Kanji readings 柱

Let's now see the various On and Kun readings that the kanji 柱 assumes.

Kun readings of the kanji 柱 🇯🇵

はしら

The reading はしら for the kanji 柱 is generally the most common. This reading is used both for kanji alone, (はしら) support or pillar, and in combination with other kanji.

This reading also becomes ばしら for phonetic reasons when the kanji 柱 follows another particular kanji.

Some words that use the kanji 柱 reading はしら are:

  • ()(ばしら): pillar of fire
  • (えん)(ばしら): column of flames
  • (おん)(ばしら): Onbashira festival

On readings of the kanji 柱 🇨🇳

ちゅう

The ちゅう reading is used when the kanji 柱 is used in conjunction with other kanji.

Some words that use the kanji 柱 reading ちゅう are:

  • ()(ちゅう): support, fulcrum
  • (すい)(ちゅう): column of water
  • (てっ)(ちゅう): iron pole

Examples of the kanji 柱

(はしら)(だい)()(せき)(つく)られていた。

The columns were made of marble.

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