View Full Version : Heian ... hei+an vs. heiwa+antei

3rd July 2002, 21:16
Hello friends.

I've read a lot about the "Heian kata". "Heian" should mean "Peaceful mind" if you take the two characters "heiwa" and "antei". If you take "hei" and "an" the meaning of it is "general" or "easy".

Well, what's right and what's wrong? Could you help me?

Jeff Hamacher
4th July 2002, 01:11

especially in proper names, the "actual meaning" of the combination of various kanji is really not so easy to define. i think it's commendable that you've taken an interest in japanese, but this particular question is probably not worth spending too much time puzzling over. still, here's some information to satisfy a bit of your curiosity:

heian - peace; peacefulness, tranquility (also the name of a period in japanese history)

heiwa - peace; harmony (the nuance here seems to be "freedom from conflict")

antei - stability; steadiness; security

each of these terms contain two ideographs. the word antei itself has nothing specifically to do with "the mind". HTH.

4th July 2002, 01:53

Thank you very much.

Interesting in japanese? Yes, but too hard for me :(

I take it that "hei" and "an" have nothing to do with "heian", have they ??? ... Or isn't it really clear if the characters are "heiwa" and "antei" or "hei" and "an"???

Jeff Hamacher
4th July 2002, 04:15
what must be understood is that the ideographs are little bundles of meaning; over the course of several centuries, the japanese have adopted, modified, and combined the characters to form major parts of the japanese lexicon. as i've already said, unless you want to take up a serious study of japanese and start researching its etymology you probably won't find reliable answers to your questions.

i'm no expert on the etymology of japanese terms, but i'll try to give you a quick explanation of things. first, some meanings for each of the ideographs you mention:

hei - "level, flat"; "fair, impartial"; "simple, plain"

wa - "peace, harmony"; "to pacify"; "friendly, amicable"

an - "peaceful, tranquil"; "inexpensive"; "safe"

tei - "to fix, decide, determine"; "law, regulation"

bear in mind that i haven't given you any of the alternative pronunciations for these characters. still, by looking at the meanings for each character you can see how they combine to form the japanese terms that i defined above. in answer to your question about hei and an, those two characters combine meanings to form the hybrid heian; the japanese call these jukugo. mandarin chinese has similar patterns of combining ideographs to form words, some of which are exactly the same as japanese ("telephone"), and some of which are hilariously different (the written japanese for "letter, correspondence" is the same as the written mandarin chinese for "toilet paper"!).

that's about all i can say without obligating you to actually study the language or spending a huge amount of time and space on posting it. at the cost of repeating myself, it's likely not worth too much of your trouble to puzzle over this issue of language. often the time is much better spent in the dojo, anyway!:) HTH.

4th July 2002, 16:19
Hello Jeff.

You're an angel :)

Thank you for your explanation. I am a big follower of the old ways (of karate and kata) so everything I see and hear I wanna know exactly. So forgive me for answering ;)

I'm a little bit wiser now. Thank you.