(tally marks, 5): The successive strokes of 正 () are used in China, Japan, and Korea to designate tallies in votes, scores, points, sushi orders, and the like, much as is used in Europe, Africa, Australia, and North America. Tallies beyond five are written with a 正 for each group of five, followed by the remainder. For example, a tally of twelve is written as 正正丅.
Sino-Tibetan or area word: “centre; target; first (month); straight; correct”.
Compare Mizodîng (“to go straight or direct (as person, arrow etc.); to go straight through without breaking the journey; straight; direct”). Matisoff sets up Proto-Sino-Tibetan*m-tyak/ŋ ~ tik/ŋ (“good; very; real; straight”) for this, which includes 正, 直 (OC *dɯɡ, “straight; right”) and 實 (OC *ɦliɡ, “solid; true”).
A number of 1040 in modern Japanese since 17th century.
5. Similar to four vertical lines followed by a slanted horizontal line crossing through them, this character is used to count to 5 stroke by stroke. Thus this kanji written up to the third stroke represents 3. After the fifth and final stroke, when this character is completed, one starts writing this character again to count to higher numbers.