Thursday, October 24, 2013

Mysterious kana.

Hello! I've been weirdly sick for the past few months and have left the house pretty much not at all—so I've been reading and practicing 書 at home. I've also been transcribing Japanese passenger lists from the 1930s for a database for people researching family history. Challenging work—many jinmeiyou kanji that I don't know and have to track down—but a great way to explore, and the lists are fascinating snapshots of families migrating at the time.

Also interesting to explore the typography; Cさん and I have in lessons written most hira- and hentaigana, but there are a few in these printed lists that I can't recognize. For example: A list I'm working on now contains a two-character name, written

in kana, that's [something]よ. The [something] is a three-stroke character, presumably hiragana, that's almost like a dotted こ: dot in the upper-right corner, then a stroke below that and to the left that runs northwest to southeast, and then a stroke below that that curves from the left and along the bottom and looks like it may derive from the shinnyuu "movement" radical. The bearer of the name is someone's imouto, so it must be a female name, but no -よ name I know makes sense here.

The batch is "due" today—rather, it was due yesterday—so if I can't figure it out I'll have to guess. Modern problems!

Update: A kind soul on a forum tells me that it's と, derived from tomaru (止・まる). I'll look for it in Kana Seishuu.