The Kanji for Cheap and Safety 安

“Kanji” plays one of the major roles in Japanese language and in the everyday life of Japanese people. For almost all foreigners, except those from China, learning Kanji is like cracking a coconut without any tools. Japanese people spend years to learn the Kanji as part of their school curriculum.

People from Non-Kanji countries need a separate approach to learn Kanji. Probably a persona one. What I mean is; a method that works for me may not work for you. If you buy books to learn Kanji, you can see that the Kanji is presented only once. This is based on the assumption that the Kanji can be mastered at the time it appears. If the Kanji learner is an adult, she/he may not have enough space in the brain to accommodate this “extra” thing by conventional way of learning.

For example, take the word for Cheap; which is written in Japanese as 安い – やすい (Yasui). The Kanji character in this word is Yasu, that is 安. If you closely look into the structure of this Kanji, we can see that this Kanji is made of two parts. One is the original kanji of 女 and the other is a radical that represents the roof of a home or lid of a can/bucket.

woman sitting inside home

The ancient people in China thought that a woman sitting inside the home is the most “inexpensive” or “cheap”. But a woman sitting inside the home is safe too. Thus they used the 安 kanji in 安全 あんぜん to express the meaning of ‘safe’. It was safe to sit inside when there were many physical armed conflicts between men on the streets.

安 Kanji is used in the following words;

安心 あんしん feel relieved, relaxed, feeling easeness, stop worrying

不安 ふあん anxiety

ドル安い どるやすい Japanese Yen fall in the exchange rate against US dollar

Try to read the below;

安全場所、安全運転、道路の安全

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