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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 みうらさきなる ねつこぐさ あひみずあらば あれこひめやも

Shiba tsuki no / Miura saki naru / netsukogusa / aimizu araba / are koime ya mo

The anemone flowers on grassy Miura Point; if we hadn't seen each other, I probably wouldn't be so in love
  1. 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​.


芝 + 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); text here
  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]


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