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The ito element: unravelling the thread in kanji


  • Erik Sandling

Summary, in English

This paper is the first exhaustive investigation of a single kanji component: the ito element. Although, this element generally refers to thread or textile, the study examined this relationship and found a strong relationship to silk, cocoons, and craft—particularly weaving. A surprising find was the connection to dyeing/colour, which might not be obvious to the average student of Japanese. Moreover, the ito element was investigated to reveal further secondary meanings. What emerged were the subcategories time and tangle/unravel, with the associated sense emotional entanglement. The findings of the study hope to inspire future research in the field of kanji components; creating new connections, links, ties and bonds.


Publishing year




Document type

Student publication for Bachelor's degree


  • Languages and Literatures


  • Japanese
  • kanji
  • radical
  • element
  • ito-hen
  • ito
  • thread
  • textile
  • learning


  • Benjamin Kirkland Macaulay