金 - Meaning and history | Japanese Kanji

JLPT N58 strokes
metalgoldmoneyFriday

Kun readings 🇯🇵

かねかな--がね

On readings 🇨🇳

きんこんごん
oro-metallo-denaro
金, gold, metals and money

One of the interpretations of the origin of the kanji 金 lies in its individual components:

  • (つち): the earth
  • (はち) the number 8 which represented the metal

The image and the idea are that of an element extracted from the earth, therefore metal. The pronunciation instead seems to come from the part of the kanji (きん) which is read as kin.

Metal, in particular gold, is the element to which the day of Friday (きん)(よう)() is dedicated and we can deduce that the planet connected to the kanji is Venus (きん)(せい).

(かね) and metals

The generic term we use for metal is (きん)(ぞく).

(きん)(ぞく)(しゅ)(るい), types of metals

We find (かね) as radical, a kanji keyword, in many other ideograms, such as those indicating metals:

  • ()(きん)(ぞく) are the precious metals
  • (はっ)(きん) is the platinum which is often translated using a foreign language loan プラチナ
  • (ぎん) the silver also translated シルバー from English silver
  • (どう) the copper becomes in katakana コッパ- from the English copper
  • (なまり) is the lead
  • (しん)(ちゅう) is the brass; it is often used ブラス from the English brass
(しん)(ちゅう) brass is an alloy (ごう)(きん), formed by (どう) copper and ()(えん) zinc

(きん) and the Olympics

The three medals awarded to the winners in the various Olympic disciplines are:

  • (きん) メダル gold medal
  • (ぎん) メダル silver medal and
  • (どう) メダル bronze medal which actually appears in the Japanese language as copper medal, as often the two metals are represented by the same kanji (どう)
kinmedaru
金メダル, the Gold Medal

(かね) and money, trade and finance and banks

Money instead are お(かね) (okane) and rich people are お(かね)()ち literally having money.

  • (げん)(きん), also called キャッシュ is cash
SumitomoMitsui
三井住友銀行 is the Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation.
  • (ぎん)(こう)(そう)(きん) is the bank transfer or direct remittance for which we also use the term (ぎん)(こう)(ふり)(こみ)
  • (きん)(がく) indicates the sum, the amount
  • (にゅう)(きん) literally inward of money, is the collection, the deposit, the payment
(ぎん)(こう)
5(まん)(えん)
(にゅう)(きん)して
きた。

I paid 50,000 yen into the bank.

  • (きん)(ゆう) the finance
  • (きん)(ゆう)()() the financial crisis
(きん)() is the gold coin

(かね) and sacred geometry

Do you know the golden ratio?

We speak of the (おう)(ごん)() golden ratio often referred to as the golden number, the divine proportion or golden ratio, represented by the symbol ϕ and is approximately equal to 1.618.

  • (おう)(ごん)(ぶん)(かつ) the golden section
  • (おう)(ごん)() the golden ratio
  • (おう)(ごん)(すう) the golden number
goldenratio
Use of the 黄金比 golden ratio in logos of well-known brands

(おう)(ごん) is therefore the adjective golden and the first kanji indicates the yellow color.

金 and fashion accessories

(きん) also takes on the function of classifier or counter, that is a numeric suffix to count the karats of a precious metal.

  • 18 金ブレスレット is an 18 karat bracelet
  • 24 金リング instead is a 24 karats ring
kanagu
金具, metal accessories
  • (かな)() indicates all the metal parts of bags, various accessories and even metal in furnishings such as hinges and plates; in the photo we highlight ハート金具 the metal accessory in the shape of a heart
金 we have seen ha かね and かな as a Japanese reading kun and キン、コン、ゴン as a Chinese reading on

The art of Kintsugi

The word kintsugi is written (きん)()ぎ whose kanji mean gold (金) and continue, patch up, repair (継ぎ): literally fix with gold.

It is an ancient Japanese art and technique now also known in the West that allows you to recover broken or ruined objects using gold.

japanese kintsugi
Broken cup recovered with the 金継ぎ technique of Kintsugi

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