If you know a little bit Japanese, try to read the Japanese one too, 勉強になりますよ、頑張ってください!

From Japanese Pod 101;





大 “big”,  太 “fat” and 犬 “dog”. These three kanji look very similar. How did each character come about to be.

First, the character 大 came from symbolizing the appearance of a person standing with the arms and legs spread apart. Since it looks bigger than a person standing with the arms by the side or when the arms and legs are bent in a sitting position, it has the kunyomi (type of Japanese reading of character) of “big”, and it also came about to have the meaning of “plentiful and having ease”.

Next, the character 太 resembles 大 meaning “plenty, ease” and has the meaning of “appearing full and plenty”, “luxurious”, “being calm and relaxed”. However, the character 泰 was originally used. By abbreviating this, the kanji 太 started being used. The symbol 水 “water” is written in the bottom center of the character 泰, and it is made of horizontal lines surrounding it representing both hands, and adding 大. In other words it indicates “plenty of water flowing through the hand.” The 大 does not only mean “plenty”, but also represents that it can be pronounced tai.

Lastly, 犬. This comes from symbolizing standing on two hind legs, and the 、at the top right represents the ears. So there’s not relation to 大 or 太.  By the way, the reading ken came from copying the pronunciation of how the dog barks.