Japanese Kanji For Heart

What Is The Japanese Kanji For Heart? 

Jun 05, 2024Shopify API

The Japanese kanji for heart is 心. Here’s the breakdown of the kanji 心. Read on to learn more about the kanji for heart 心.

Language is a remarkable tapestry woven with intricate threads of culture, history, and symbolism. Within the realm of linguistic artistry, the Japanese writing system stands out, boasting a unique fusion of characters, each carrying profound meanings. 

One such character, the kanji for "heart," transcends its linguistic significance to become a representation of emotions, connections, and the essence of humanity.

Japanese Kanji for Heart Is 心

Japanese Kanji For Heart

The kanji "心" holds a special place within the Japanese writing system and culture. Its visual representation encapsulates layers of meaning that extend beyond its literal translation.

Let's delve deeper into the symbolism and significance of this character:

Visual Composition Of 心

The visual composition of the kanji "心" is a work of linguistic art that conveys a profound depth of meaning through its arrangement of elements. 

Each component contributes to the character's symbolism, offering a visual representation of the concept of the heart within the context of humanity.

  • "亠" (Namu)

This element is a simplified version of the character "亡," which signifies "person" or "self."

While "亡" usually depicts the entirety of a person, the simplified "亠" represents the human head—a symbolic reminder that the heart is not just a physical organ but an integral part of the human experience.

It emphasizes the connection between the heart and human consciousness, emotions, and thoughts.

  • "心" (Kokoro)

This is the central element of the kanji, symbolizing the heart itself. The radical "心" visually captures the shape of a heart and, beyond that, conveys the idea of emotions, feelings, and inner qualities. 

Its graphical representation resonates with its semantic meaning, as it evokes the idea of a vessel that holds the complexities of human emotions and experiences.

Together, these components combine to create a harmonious representation of the heart's role within the human experience—a fusion of physical existence, emotions, and consciousness.

The visual composition of "心" captures the interconnectedness of the heart, emotions, and human consciousness, illustrating a unity between the physical and emotional aspects of our being. 

The simplified "亠" above "心" signifies that the heart is situated within the context of humanity, influencing our thoughts, feelings, and interactions.

This intricate visual design reflects the Japanese approach to kanji, where the form of the character often conveys its meaning.

"心" goes beyond a mere depiction of the anatomical heart; it encapsulates the depth of emotions, connections, and inner qualities that define the essence of being human.

The unique arrangement of "亠" and "心" showcases the character's role as a bridge between the physical and the emotional, making it a testament to the artistic nature of the Japanese writing system.

It's a reminder that language, in its visual representation, can capture and convey complex ideas that extend far beyond the surface.

Symbolism and Significance of the Kanji 心

Beyond its literal meaning as an anatomical organ, the kanji "心" is a vessel of symbolism that resonates with various aspects of human existence:

  • Emotions: The heart has long been associated with emotions and feelings. In Japanese culture, the heart is regarded as the seat of one's emotions, representing a spectrum that includes love, joy, sorrow, anger, and more. The character "心" encapsulates this emotional depth.
  • Connections: The heart is not only a physical entity but also a metaphor for connections and relationships. The kanji embodies the idea that emotions and relationships are intertwined—a concept reflected in phrases like "kokoro to kokoro" (heart to heart), denoting deep understanding and empathy between individuals
  • Empathy and Compassion: "Kokoro" extends to encompass concepts of empathy and compassion. It represents the ability to understand and share in the emotions of others, reinforcing the importance of caring for one another.
  • Inner World: The kanji "心" also delves into the realm of the inner self. It reflects the idea that the heart is not only a source of emotions but also a reservoir of thoughts, intentions, and character. This inner world shapes one's actions and interactions with the world.

Cultural and Linguistic Influences 心

The kanji "心" carries linguistic and cultural influences that have evolved over centuries:

  • Chinese Origin: The character has its roots in Chinese script, where it is pronounced as "xīn." Japan's historical ties to China led to the adoption of Chinese characters into the Japanese writing system, with each character often acquiring a unique Japanese pronunciation and nuance.
  • Japanese Pronunciation: In Japan, the kanji "心" is pronounced as "kokoro." This pronunciation captures the essence of the character within the context of Japanese culture and linguistic sensibilities.

Philosophical Underpinnings Of 心

In the realm of philosophy, the kanji "心" holds a significant place:

  • Buddhism: In Buddhist philosophy, the heart represents the center of consciousness and the seat of enlightenment. The character embodies the idea that the heart is the core of one's spiritual journey, guiding inner transformation.
  • Confucianism: In Confucian thought, the heart symbolizes the moral compass and the source of benevolence. It underscores the importance of cultivating virtuous qualities within the heart to lead a meaningful and harmonious life.


The kanji "心" transcends its role as a mere character in the Japanese writing system. It encapsulates a myriad of meanings—emotions, connections, empathy, and philosophical depth. 

Its visual composition and cultural significance make it a timeless symbol that resonates with individuals, allowing them to explore the complexity of their own hearts and the intricate web of human experience.

Sentence Examples Of 心

  • 彼は優しい心を持っています。
    (Kare wa yasashii kokoro o motteimasu.)
    Translation: He has a kind heart.
  • 母の愛情はいつも心に残ります。
    (Haha no aijou wa itsumo kokoro ni nokorimasu.)
    Translation: A mother's love always remains in the heart.
  • 彼の勇気ある行動は私たちの心を打ちました。
    (Kare no yuuki aru koudou wa watashitachi no kokoro o uchimashita.)
    Translation: His courageous actions touched our hearts.
  • この曲は私の心に深い感動を与えました。
    (Kono kyoku wa watashi no kokoro ni fukai kandou o ataemashita.)
    Translation: This song gave me a deep sense of emotion in my heart.
  • 思いやりのある心は人間関係を豊かにします。
    (Omoiyari no aru kokoro wa ningen kankei o yutaka ni shimasu.)
    Translation: A heart filled with compassion enriches relationships.
  • 彼女は常に前向きな心を持っています。
    (Kanojo wa tsuneni maemuki na kokoro o motteimasu.)
    Translation: She always possesses a positive outlook.
  • 心の平和を見つけることは大切なことです。
    (Kokoro no heiwa o mitsukeru koto wa taisetsu na koto desu.)
    Translation: Finding inner peace is important.
  • その絵は作者の深い思いが込められた心を反映しています。
    (Sono e wa sakusha no fukai omoi ga komerareta kokoro o hansha shiteimasu.)
    Translation: The painting reflects the artist's profound emotions and thoughts.
  • 彼は常に冷静な心を持って難局に立ち向かいます。
    (Kare wa tsuneni reisei na kokoro o motte nankyoku ni tachimukaimasu.)
    Translation: He always approaches challenges with a calm heart.
  • この場所は私に特別な思い出と温かな心を与えてくれました。
    (Kono basho wa watashi ni tokubetsu na omoide to atatakai kokoro o ataete kuremashita.)
    Translation: This place has given me special memories and a warm heart.

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