とち

horse chestnut, (kokuji)

JLPT0 G7 S9 F1427

is a character with a particularly convoluted etymology. The variant form combines tree/wood + ten thousand. One element of traditional shrine and farmhouse architecture in Japan is a pair of crossing pieces of timber on the roof atop the respective ends of the ridgepole. This feature is designated (), and being pronounced with their KUN readings and (here in the voiced consonant form ). As it happened, a shrine now located within the Tochigi castle precincts had such pairs of . Appending the native Japanese term for () yields , while prefixing the character for () to yields . Read literally, the combination means "ten thousand," but in Han/Chinese characters ten thousand is written with the single character . Thus was devised the Made-in-Japan character , retaining the portion of while replacing with . During the Meiji Era, however, was superseded by the element seen in the left-hand side of , becoming the standard form of the character. As for the tree known as (short for ), this is the (Japanese) *horse chestnut* (Aesculus turbinata). For horse chestnut, compare , which also has the KUN reading .

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