CultureEssayEtymologyHistoryJapanese traditionKanjiUncorrected

Utsukushii (Beautiful)

  • Today I will talk about the common Japanese adjective “utsukushii.”


    “Utsukushii” refers to that colors, shapes or sounds of something are beautiful.

    This term comes from the verb “itsukushimu,” which expresses a feeling of compassion for weaker persons than yourself.

    Therefore “utsukushii” originally referred to the same meaning of “itsukushimu.”

    However, around the beginning of the Heian period, it came to express feelings of cute/sweet for tiny/young ones, and after the end of the Heian period, it has come to have the current meaning.

    Also, the kanji for “utsukushii” is “美しい,” and “美” can be decomposed into “羊,” meaning sheep, and “大,” meaning big.

    This might be related that sheep were very rare in the past in China, and they were used as a reward or a gift to God.

    Original sentence