As I was fighting through the first page of Chapter 7 of Beauty and Sadness (see Dramatis Personae of Beauty and Sadness), I stumbled upon a sentence that is hard to understand. Since I read it in German, I do a self-translation to English here:

One day, Otoko wanted to write a letter, she opened the "lexicon of the Japanese language"1, and her eyes fell upon the Kanji for "thinking". As she read the other meanings of this Kanji like "to long for", "not being able to forget", "being sad", she felt, that her heart cramped.

Now, my Japanese is poor, but I would really like to know which Kanji it was that made her feel so bad and remember her of her affair with Oki.

1 - a Kanji-dictionary I believe


3 Answers 3


As someone currently in possession of a Japanese-language edition of 美しさと哀しみと, I can confirm that the relevant kanji is 「思」 (omo). The section reads:

音子は手紙を書いていて国語辞書を開くと、そのペェジの 「思う」 という字が目についた。日木語の「思う」には、恋しがるという意味、忘れないという意味、悲しむという意味もあると、音子の目はたどるうちに、胸がしめつけられた。

Here's a picture of the page with the kanji highlighted:



I suspect anybody who can get their hands on the original Japanese book can trivially and definitively answer this, but I don't have it and can only guess.

A very promising candidate is . It's one of the rarer kanji used for to think, (おもう, omou, usual kanji would be 思う). A common use of 懐 is the word 懐かしい (natsukashii, loosely, nostalgic). As the jisho.org link shows, though, some of the many readings of 懐 include 懐かしむ (natsukashimu, to miss, to yearn for), 懐く (natsuku, to grow emotionally attached to), etc.


While I lack the japanese edition, I found this one promising:

  • tangorin suggests 思 with the compound 思慕 - yearning
  • Jisho suggest also 思 with the compound 相思 - mutual affection and 哀思 - sad feeling

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