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Japanese crossroads sign

辻 (つじ) tsuji   “crossroads”

Another wonderful kanji that looks exactly like what it means.

The image at right is the Japanese traffic signal for a crossroads. If we simply append to it the radical for “walk/road” (shinnyū/shinnyō 辶) [found in “way” 道, “advance” 進, etc.], we get: “the roads in 十-shape.”

How great is that?

I’m in love. I just discovered my new favorite kanji. The simplicity, the straightforwardness, the sheer pictorial common sense beats those unconvincing explanations about how 目 really does look like an eye, 日 like the sun, and 木 like a tree, and 女 like a woman (ok, they may be on to something with the last one). And this miracle kanji is kannuki (かんぬき), meaning a “bolt” or “latch” (Also refers to a 2-on-1 wrist-hold technique in some martial arts).  Brilliant.

==> 閂

See the resemblance?