japanese kanji for respect

What Is The Japanese Kanji For Respect? | How To Say Respect In Japanese? 

05 June 2024Shopify API

The Japanese kanji for respect is 尊. We break down the components of 尊 to better understand and also learn how to say respect in Japanese. Read on to find out more.  

In the realm of Japanese language and culture, every kanji character is a window into a world of profound meanings and historical significance. 

Among these intricate characters, the Japanese kanji for respect, "尊," holds a place of exceptional importance. 

Delving into the essence of this character not only uncovers linguistic beauty but also unveils the deep-seated cultural values that underpin Japanese society. 

In this article, we embark on a journey to decipher the hidden layers of the kanji for respect, exploring its composition, symbolism, and the ways it reflects the art of showing honor in Japan. 

Join us as we uncover the eloquence and cultural richness encapsulated within the strokes of this extraordinary character.

Japanese Kanji For Respect Is 尊

The kanji character for respect in Japanese is "尊" which is pronounced as "sonzon." 

This character is composed of two radicals: "寸" on the left and "子" on the right. "寸" represents a unit of measurement, signifying a small piece or part, while "子" denotes a child or offspring. 

When combined, these two radicals create a character that encapsulates the idea of valuing and cherishing something as one would a precious child.

How to Say Respect in Japanese?

In Japanese, the word "respect" can be expressed using various terms and phrases, each carrying different nuances of politeness and formality. Here are a few ways to say "respect" in Japanese:

  • 敬意 (Keii): This term directly translates to "respect" or "esteem" and is commonly used to convey a sense of admiration and high regard for someone or something.
  • 尊敬 (Sonkei): This word also means "respect" and is often used to express a deep and profound level of admiration or reverence for someone's qualities, achievements, or character.
  • 敬服 (Keifuku): This term combines "敬" (respect) with "服" (admiration) and conveys the idea of being greatly impressed and respecting someone's actions, accomplishments, or contributions.
  • 尊重 (Sonchou): This term is often used in contexts where respecting someone's opinions, choices, or decisions is important. It emphasizes a sense of valuing individual autonomy and perspectives.
  • 丁重 (Teichou): While not a direct translation for "respect," this term means "courteous" or "polite," and it can be used to describe behavior that shows respect through politeness and consideration.

Breaking Down the Components of the Kanji Character 尊

The kanji character "尊," pronounced as "sonzon," is a fascinating example of how kanji characters are constructed from smaller components known as radicals. 

By examining the individual radicals within "尊," we can gain a deeper understanding of the character's meaning and significance.

  • Radical: 寸 (Sun)

The left side of the character "尊" features the radical "寸" (sun), which represents a unit of measurement equivalent to approximately 3.03 centimeters. This radical is derived from an ancient measurement tool resembling a small ruler. 

Metaphorically, "寸" suggests a small portion or fragment, denoting a sense of something precious and valuable, akin to cherishing a tiny treasure.

  • Radical: 子 (Ko)

The right side of the character "尊" includes the radical "子" (ko), which translates to "child" or "offspring." This radical visually depicts a young child with arms outstretched, symbolizing growth, potential, and innocence. 

The radical "子" goes beyond its literal meaning to connote a sense of care and protection, much like one would nurture and cherish a child.

  • Combining the Radicals

When "寸" and "子" come together to form "尊," the character takes on a layered significance. The combination reflects the notion of holding something dear and valuable, much like one would cherish a beloved child. 

This compound character encompasses concepts of respect, honor, and reverence by implying that the subject being respected is as precious as a treasured young one.

The visual juxtaposition of "寸" and "子" within "尊" is a testament to the intricate nature of kanji characters, where each component contributes to the overall meaning. 

This complexity reinforces the idea that respect in Japanese culture is not a simple gesture but a multifaceted concept deeply rooted in valuing and protecting the inherent worth of individuals, ideas, and traditions.

Sentence Examples For 尊

  • 彼は先生の意見に尊敬の念を抱いています。
    (Kare wa sensei no iken ni sonkei no nen o idaiteimasu.)
    He holds a deep respect for the teacher's opinions.
  • 尊敬する人物の一つはマハトマ・ガンディーです。
    (Sonkei suru jinbutsu no hitotsu wa Mahatma Gandhi desu.)
    One of the people I respect is Mahatma Gandhi.
  • 彼女は困難な状況でも尊厳を保ちました。
    (Kanojo wa konnan na joukyou demo songen o tamochimashita.)
    She maintained her dignity even in difficult circumstances.
  • 日本の文化では年配者を尊敬することが重要です。
    (Nihon no bunka de wa nenpaisha o sonkei suru koto ga juuyou desu.)
    In Japanese culture, it's important to respect elders.
  • 彼の尊重すべき業績は社会に大きな影響を与えました。
    (Kare no sonchou subeki gyouseki wa shakai ni ooki na eikyou o ataemashita.)
    His admirable achievements had a significant impact on society.
  • 彼は文化遺産を尊重する運動を主導しています。
    (Kare wa bunka isan o sonchou suru undou o shudou shiteimasu.)
    He is leading a movement to respect cultural heritage.
  • 尊敬の念から、私は彼に意見を尋ねました。
    (Sonkei no nen kara, watashi wa kare ni iken o tazunemashita.)
    Out of respect, I asked him for his opinion.
  • その伝統的な儀式は先祖を尊ぶためのものです。
    (Sono denteki na gishiki wa senzo o toutomu tame no mono desu.)
    That traditional ceremony is meant to honor ancestors.
  • 彼女は人々から尊敬される立派なリーダーです。
    (Kanojo wa hitobito kara sonkei sareru rippana riidaa desu.)
    She is an admirable leader respected by people.
  • 尊敬されることは名誉なことですが、謙虚さも大切です。 (Sonkei sareru koto wa meiyo na koto desu ga, kenkyosasa mo taisetsu desu.) Being respected is an honorable thing, but humility is also important.

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