View Full Version : kun/on Reading of 氣 and Tohei

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Carsten Möllering
03-22-2011, 06:15 AM

someone cited to me a text of Tohei sensei I don't understand. It is from the german copy of a book "Healing with ki" or something like that.

My translation:

Mostly there are two readings of a kanji: The Chinese one (on) and the Japanese one (kun).
But this is not true for the Kanji 氣. This has got only one reading wich is "ki".
This "ki" ist not a Chinese sound/pronounciation but solely Japanese.

When I look up 氣 , I find two readings:
The kun-reading いき / iki and the on-reading け / ke or き / ki.

So why does Tohei sensei speak of only one existing reading of 氣?
And why does he state き / ki to be the japanese reading, which is given as the on-reading when I look up the kanji?

Where am I going wrong?


03-22-2011, 08:56 AM
I've looked up the kanji in my dictionary and it also shows three readings for it. (き、いき、け)
But since I can't find any words that uses け or いき I'm guessing maybe those readings aren't used any more.

Josh Reyer
03-22-2011, 10:22 AM
Where am I going wrong?


Tohei is right and wrong. Unfortunately, not even the best aikidoka are the best linguists.

There is only one reading reading of 気, and that's "ki". "Ke" and "ge" are simply dialectal differences. "Iki" as a reading is considered non-standard. And it's possible that "iki" is derived from "ki". 気 was sometimes used to write "iki" (breath) back when Japanese orthography was looser, and people would occasionally use a different kanji with a similar meaning as a way of adding nuance. Another example would be writing "oto" (sound) with the kanji for "koe" (voice), or even vice-versa.

What Tohei is totally wrong about is that "ki" is onyomi. There is no kunyomi for "ki", aside from the abovementioned non-standard but possibly related "iki".

03-27-2011, 07:01 AM
you can say samuke (寒気)meaning a chill, and other feelings usually bad and relating to sickness, as well as shikke (湿気)humidity, yuuge (湯気)steam. japanese is just crazy this way, there are millions of example of kanji readings changing.

05-02-2011, 11:13 AM
... japanese is just crazy this way, there are millions of example of kanji readings changing.

The Hatter opened his eyes very wide on hearing this; but all he said was, "Why is a raven like a writing-desk?"
"Come, we shall have some fun now!" thought Alice. "I'm glad they've begun asking riddles. — I believe I can guess that," she added aloud.
"Do you mean that you think you can find out the answer to it?" said the March Hare.
"Exactly so," said Alice.
"Then you should say what you mean," the March Hare went on.
"I do," Alice hastily replied; "at least--at least I mean what I say--that's the same thing, you know."
"Not the same thing a bit!" said the Hatter. "You might just as well say that 'I see what I eat' is the same thing as 'I eat what I see'!"
"You might just as well say," added the March Hare, "that 'I like what I get' is the same thing as 'I get what I like'!"
"You might just as well say," added the Dormouse, who seemed to be talking in his sleep, "that 'I breathe when I sleep' is the same thing as 'I sleep when I breathe'!"
(Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, Chapter 7)

"When I use a word," Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, "it means just what I choose it to mean -- neither more nor less." 
"The question is," said Alice, "whether you can make words mean so many different things." 
"The question is," said Humpty Dumpty, "which is to be master - - that's all." 
(Through the Looking Glass, Chapter 6)