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Sushi Kanji (Han/Chinese) Characters

Char.  →   →  寿司
Read. Sushi Sushi Su   Shi
 Unicode   鮓   鮨   寿 司 
[ How to write — animation ]
[ How to read: Sushi or Zushi ? ]

Kanji 漢字

[ Kan-Ji ] (Han-zi/Chinese-characters) of sushi have been existing since back to B.C. 200-300 already in Han/China, imprints of these characters were first appeared in so-called the oldest dictionary (thesaurus) in the Orient, named 尔 Ěryǎ (爾雅 [Jiga] in Japanese), with an explanation, that Ki / Shi ([Ki/Shi]) was a 'salted fish guts,' and that of animal meat was  Kai ([Kai], i.e. salted pork meat.)

Also the very first origin of the character Sa [Sa] were appeared in 大典 'Dai-ten' dictionary (the Chou era, ca. B.C. 800), and then later, explained in the world famous dictionary 'Shuo-wen chieh-tzu' (説文解字 'Setsumon-kaiji' or 'Setsumon' in short, both in Japanese reading, ca. A.D. 100) that the original character of [Sa] means a stored fish and it also named Kin [Kin] (also Kin [Kin]) in the south region, and also Sa [Sa] in the north of old China.

Kanji Images and Meanings

[ Sushi Glossary with Kanji characters ]
Kanji Image Meaning [Reading],  Character code
Sa [Sa] Currently not used.
Stored fish, used in the north of China.
  Morohashi: 46156
  JIS code: n/a,  Unicode: 39866 [10],  x9BBA [16], 鮺
  Link: Go to 96 dot
Kin [Kin] Currently not used.
Stored fish, used in the south of China.
  Morohashi: 46012
  JIS code: n/a,  Unicode: n/a
  Link: Go to 96 dot
Kin [Kin] Currently not used.
Stored fish, used in the south of China.
  Morohashi: 46140
  JIS code: n/a,  Unicode: n/a
  Link: Go to 96 dot
Sa [Sa] One of variations, currently not used.
Stored fish, used in the north of China.
  Morohashi: 46392
  JIS code: n/a,  Unicode: n/a
  Link: Go to 96 dots
Sa, Sushi [Sa / Sushi] In Japan, previously well used in the Edo era in particular as 'Sushi,' and currently not many.
  Morohashi: 46076
  JIS code: 7238, E9B6 [SJIS]
  Unicode: 39827 [10], x9B93 [16],
  Link: Go to 96 dots
  Use: 2.9%
Shi, Sushi [Shi / Sushi] Currently well in use.
It all means sushi only now, and relatively long and old usage than 'Su-Shi' below.  As explained in Sushi Etiquette, it consists of two characters , Fish in the left and Delicious in the right.
  Morohashi: 46123
  JIS code: 723F, E9BD [SJIS]
  Unicode: 39848 [10],  x9BA8 [16],
  Link: Go to 96 dots
  Use: 17.4%
  How to write: Animation
Su-Shi [Su-Shi] Currently well in use.
But they have no relation to 'fish' or 'sushi' literally at all.  The first "Su" (alternate readings: Kotobuki, Kotohogi / Su, Ju) is only employed by its phonetic sound of 'Su' and implied meanings of happiness and congratulation of the character itself, and the second "Shi" generally means to preside, direct or administer something.  All of tow characters just came from their phonetic equivalences (phonetically transliterated,) and people of the sushi industry have choosen them, wanted to be with and to drawn up an auspiciousness and luckiness from these characters, and begun to use them often.  More than 50% of sushi restaurants are incorporating these, tow-character expression, in their shops and trade names today.
(When thsese are suffixed at the end of a name, the reading changes to -zushi, the s sound changes to voiced z. See Sushi or Zushi ?)

  Morohashi: 07419' 03257
  JIS code: 3C77 3B4A, 8EF5 8E69 [SJIS]
  Unicode: 23551 21496 [10],  x5BFF x53F8 [16], 寿司
  Link: Go to 96 dotsGo to 96 dots
  Use: 70.3%
  How to write: Animation
Morohashi:  Morohashi Daikanwa Jiten (Dictionary)


Other Current Variations for 'Sushi' in Use
Combination in Hira-gana in Kata-kana (Seldom in use)
Su - Shi Su - Shi, in hira-gana Su - Shi, in kata-kana Su - Shi, in kanji Su - Shi, in kanji

Usage Distribution of the Kanji Expressions
(Number of hits by 'Google' search only for Japanese pages, on 2003.05.20 & 2004.01.31)
Su - Shi Sushi Su - Shi Sushi Su - Shi Su - Shi Total
507,750 (pages)
100 (%)
961,698 (pages)
100.0 (%)

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Kanji Images Relating to Sushi/Fish
[ Links to Mojikyo font ]

image1 Aji - 
Horse mackerel Ayu -
Sweet fish Iwashi - 
Sardine Unagi - 
Conger eel Sanma - 
Saury mackerel Katsuo - 
Bonito Sakana - 
Fish Kujira - 
Whale Koi - 
Carp Sake - 
Salmon Saba- 
Mackerel Same - 
Shark Sen - 
Fresh Tai - 
Sea bream Tara - 
Cod Funa - 
Crucian carp Maguro - 
Tuna Masu - 
Trout Ro - 
(stupidity) Wani - 
Crocodile Hire- 
Fin Uroko - 
Scale Hou- 
Gurnard Sushi - 
Sushi Hirame - 
Sole Awabi - 
Abalone Kajika - 
Sculpin Konoshiro - 
Younger gizzard shad An [-kou] - 
(Anglerfish) Haya - 
Japanese dace Sushi - 
Sushi Gori - 
Tiny bullhead Kon - 
(imaginary large fish) Haze - 
Goby Tako - 
Octopus Iruka - 
Dolphin Asari - 
Short-neck clam Kazunoko - 
Herring roe Kochi - 
Flathead Surume - 
Dried cuttlefish Sanshou-uo - 
Salamander Kon - 
(imaginary large fish) Bora - 
(Striped gray) mullet Nishin - 
Herring Aji - 
Horse mackerel Iruka - 
Dolphin Shachi - 
Killer whale Namazu - 
Catfish Ebi - 
Shrimp Karei - 
Flatfish (right-eyed), 
Plaice Higai - 
A kind of carp Era - 
Gills Dojyou - 
Loach Sawara - 
Spanish mackerel Karei - 
Flatfish (right-eyed), 
Plaice Awabi - 
Abalone Nishin - 
Herring Kairagi - 
A kind of sharkskin Iwashi - 
Sardine Iwashi - 
Sardine Yamo'o - 
An old widower Buri - 
Yellowtail Bora - 
(Striped gray) mullet Hatahata - 
Sand fish [An-] Kou - 
Anglerfish Oogame - 
(imaginary sea turtle) Tako - 
Octopus Ukibukuro - 
Bladder Kisu - 
Sillago Eso - 
A kind of herring Hamo - 
Pike conger, 
Sea eel Fuka - 
Shark Suzuki - 
Sea bass

Sushi kanji image 2


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Updated on: 2009.03.08
Created on: 2003.03.20
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Related Links
Let's Learn Kanji: An Introduction to Radicals, Components, & 250 Very Basic Kanji
Let's Learn Kanji
The Kodansha Kanji Learner's Dictionary
The Kodansha Kanji Learner's Dictionary