by phil on Wednesday Feb 22, 2006 11:43 PM

Kanji Clinic #42, The Japan Times, August 28, 2003
“Symbolic sun shows the way to remember a galaxy of kanji”

The August sun in Japan can be merciless, a blazing orb to be fended off with parasols and sunhats. Japanese children normally draw the sun in prominent red. Much to the surprise of his Japanese teachers at our Nagoya daycare, my first child, then aged three, would crayon the sun in bright yellow. This was the same color that I, his American mom, had automatically chosen when Sean and I created likenesses of the sun at home.

It is not surprising that Japanese children almost always depict the sun in red. After all, the national flag, the Hinomaru (日の丸, ball-of-sun)is comprised of a large red sun rising on a white background. Many Japanese people consider the Sun Goddess, Amaterasu O-Mikami, to be the creator of Japan. Little wonder that the sun is often cited as an important element of the Japanese psyche.

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