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Phono-semantic compound (形聲): semantic  ‎(grass) + phonetic  – a type of plant.

Han character[edit]

(radical 140 +4, 10 strokes, cangjie input 廿戈弓人 (TINO), four-corner 44307, composition)

  1. sesame
  2. a purplish or brown mushroom (Ganoderma lucidum) used in traditional Asian medicine and believed to have miraculous powers
  3. 'a divine and felicitous plant' (Karlgren)


  • KangXi: page 1019, character 15
  • Dai Kanwa Jiten: character 30699
  • Dae Jaweon: page 1477, character 3
  • Hanyu Da Zidian: volume 5, page 3176, character 5
  • Unihan data for U+829D



‎(Yale ji1)

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(common “Jōyō” kanji)

  1. turf, lawn, grass


Etymology 1[edit]

Japanese Wikipedia has an article on:

Wikipedia ja

: common grass, especially as found in lawns.
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From Old Japanese. One of the oldest attested words in the Japanese language, used in the Man'yōshū and Nihon Shoki.

This character usually means a type of fungus in Chinese. However, it was also used phonetically in 芝麻 ‎(*chimæ, sesame) (modern Mandarin 芝麻 ‎(zhīmá)), and it seems that the Japanese use of this character for the sense of grass may have come from this sesame sense in Chinese.



‎(hiragana しば, romaji shiba)

  1. grass, turf
    付乃 御宇良佐伎奈流 根都古具佐 安比見受安良婆 安礼古非米夜母。[2]
     (しば) (つき)の 御宇良崎 (みうらさき)なる ねつこ (ぐさ) 相見 (あひみ)ずあらば  () ()ひめやも。
    Shibatsukino miurasakinaru netsukogusa ahimizuaraba arekohimeyamo.
    The anemone flowers on grassy Miura Point; if we hadn't seen each other, I probably wouldn't be so in love.
  2. short for 芝見 (​shibami): hiding in the grass and spying on one's enemies or scouting out the situation; a spy in the grass
Derived terms[edit]

Proper noun[edit]

‎(hiragana しば, romaji Shiba)

  1. A surname​.


する ‎(hiragana しばする, romaji shiba suru)

  1. short for 芝見 (​shibami): to hide in the grass and spy on one's enemies or scout out the situation

Etymology 2[edit]

Compound of ‎(shi, adjectival ending) +‎ ‎(sama, kind, type).[3] The sama changes to zama due to rendaku (連濁). The kanji was used as an ateji, probably based on its on'yomi of shi.



‎(hiragana しざま, romaji shizama)

  1. (grammar, obsolete)shi-type”, referring to the i adjective in Japanese grammar, specifically the ク活用 ‎(ku katsuyō, ku inflection), corresponding to modern Japanese adjectives ending in -i but not -shii
    This is the nomenclature used in the grammar devised by 富士谷成章 (Fujitani Nariakira), a classical Japanese scholar and grammarian in the middle Edo period. Modern i adjectives still had the 終止形 ‎(shūshikei, terminal form) ending in -shi in the mid-Edo period, hence Fujitani's description of these as the “shi-type” of adjective.

Etymology 3[edit]

From Middle Chinese ‎(*chi). Compare modern Mandarin ‎(zhī).



‎(hiragana , romaji shi)

  1. the 万年茸 (​mannentake) mushroom
Derived terms[edit]

Etymology 4[edit]

Used as ateji in various surnames.


  1. ^ 1998, NHK日本語発音アクセント辞典 (NHK Japanese Pronunciation Accent Dictionary) (in Japanese), Tōkyō: NHK, ISBN 978-4-14-011112-3
  2. ^ c. 759, Man'yōshū (book 14, poem #3508); [1]
  3. ^ 1988, 国語大辞典(新装版) (Kokugo Dai Jiten, Revised Edition) (in Japanese), Tōkyō: Shogakukan



‎(ji) (hangeul , revised ji, McCune-Reischauer chi, Yale ci)

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‎(Pinyin zhī (zhi1), Wade-Giles chih1)

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Han character[edit]

(chi, liện, liên)

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