Uniquely Japanese- Omou 思う

The kanji character for omou meaning to do in Japanese

Omou means, literally, to think, the verb. This is not uniquely Japanese, although maybe thinking is different in different languages and different cultures? It is however the root of many other Japanese words and several of them are unique to the Japanese language. I decided to write about omou first, so as to completely understand the basic building block of the other words that I would like to delve into and understand.

The kanji in omou, alone means wonder. You can add other kanji and make words like 思い出 (omoide) which means memory and 思いなしか (omoinashika) which means imagination. Omou can mean to think, to believe, to consider, to plan, to regard, to imagine, to suppose, to recall or to expect. It implies feeling and thought. The words that I am interested in looking further into are 思いやり(omoiyari) empathetic consideration, sort of… and おもてなし (omotenashi) which is complex but embodies the philosophy of Japanese hospitality.

Learning a language, I believe, helps you to understand the nuance of your own native language. I find Japanese fascinating, as the kanji, or pictorial characters, unwittingly bring you to the root of the words and their intrinsic meaning. I have never really given much thought to the relationship between many of these words that stem from the concept “to think” however, the relationship, upon closer pondering, is quite obvious and yet intriguing at the same time.

Feature Image credit is here.

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