Jun Akiyama wrote:
Just as a clarification, the "sho" in "shodan" is short; the "sho" in "shomen" is long (ie "shoumen").
Personally, I take the word "shomen" to denote the "proper side" of something -- like the "front" side of a house. "Men" can mean both "surface" (as in the two surfaces of a piece of paper) or "face" (as in where one's eyes, nose, mouth, etc are located). Thus, one might define "shomen" in the context of "shomen uchi" to be as "striking the proper side (ie front) side of the face" (as opposed to, say, yokomen uchi).
I'd be interested in hearing other thoughts about the term, though.
Here are some compounds with the word SHOU and MEN.
sei-san-kak-kei: equilateral triangle
shou-gatsu: new year; January
sei-han-tai: exact opposite
sei-tou-bou-ei: legitimate self defence
sei-za: sitting straight/properly (on one's heels)
MEN (can also be read as OMO(TE)
omo-shiroi (= face + white): interesting
omo-wasure: fail to recognize
ichi-men-kan: one-sided view
fuku-men-pato-kaa: unmarked police patrol car
shoumen: front, head-on
ga-men: scene. TV screen
An eminent shihan once explained to me that 'shoumen' was facing the Imperial Palace.
Note that 'shoumen' can also be read as 'matomo'. The Chinese characters are the same, but the reading is the Japanese kun reading. 'Matomo-ni-kao-wo-miru' means to look at a person full in the face. 'Matomoni butsukaru' = crash into something head-on.
It can also mean 'honest', 'straight', 'upright'. 'Matomona shoubai' is honest business and 'matomomo ni kurasu' is to live an honest life.
End of lecture