Iriawan Kamal Thalib (Thalib) wrote:
(after reading Goldsbury-han's post)
I see, according to his observation that the the "bu" kanji has evolved from "advancing with halberd" to "stopping the halberd". I believe it's the same way how the country has evolved from war-time to peace-time.
I think it's less that it's evolved than that "stopping the halberd" has become a popular metaphor for purposes of memorization and/or illustration of certain philosophical points. The literal meaning and derivation of the Kanji remains the same. As he mentions, the standard Japanese dictionaries list a number of definitions for the character "bu", but none of them are "stopping the halberd". In fact he says directly "The only problem is that it does not appear in the dictionary and it would be a linguistic mistake to isolate this later hypothetical meaning as the "real" meaning of the word."
In any case, the kanji "bu" is most commonly used by Japanese without any thought whatsoever into the deeper possible meanings - any more than most English speakers ponder over "martial" and the possible implied worship of Roman gods